With the sequel to my novel, “Red, White & Blues” getting closer to completion (yes, I’m STILL editing the final draft), I have been thinking about just how much material I have between the two tomes for a great fucking television series. With the first book at 760 pages and the second threatening to be close to that, there’s many seasons worth of material with lots of great stories, characters, locations, etc.
When “Sons of Anarchy” first aired, I thought, “A show about a motorcycle club! Why hasn’t this been done before? Will this even be any good?” I wanted it to be. After all, my own novel involves a fictitious motorcycle club (Souls of Liberty) and it would sort be like fantasizing about my own story being played out before my own eyes.
It was good. It was engrossing, the characters engaging , likeable and sympathetic-even the ones that did bad things. Just like my own characters whom have garnered sympathy and likability from those that had read and reviewed the book. While the show had some contrived, cliched and over-the-top moments, it was far and away one of the best television shows I had seen (along with “Hannibal”, “Mad Men” and HBO’s “Deadwood”). And those moments didn’t bother me much because I am a firm believer in the need for cliches and the like when trying to reach a broad and varied audience. Sometimes it’s the only way to reel everyone in.
Now that “Sons of Anarchy” has ended and Kurt Sutter has moved on to other projects (which I applaud him for as well as ending the show), there’s a gap that needs to be filled. A new show about a motorcycle club needs to be placed in front of the now starved and longing public, who have developed a special place for those guys that some of them probably never even knew they could have. But it also needs to be more.
A new show has also caught my eye that could be seen as bridging the gap between something like “Sons of Anarchy” and the brilliant modern period piece “Mad Men”, also now gone. “Aquarius” has popped up on CBS and although it isn’t the greatest show out there, it is tapping into a niche that someone feels needs to be filled (myself included). The Baby Boomers are feeling nostalgic and hungry for shows that cater to them. Where are all the hippies, hipsters, bikers, stoners, musicians, freeloaders and just plain Sixties and Seventies folk?
Here! Over here! “Red, White & Blues” follows a group of diverse (ethnically as well as personally) friends through the seminal years of 1964-1977. We’ve got hippies, artists and bikers. We’ve got the Vietnam War and those left behind. We’ve got men returning to find a changed country and little sympathy or understanding. We’ve got sex, drugs, rock n roll, babies, children, marriages, divorces and deaths. We’ve got changing ideals and lifestyles alongside those who stay true and steady to what they believe. There’s whites, blacks and Native Americans. There’s San Francisco, Vietnam, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Monterey. In short, we’ve really got it all!
With the sequel picking up just two years later and covering the years 1979-1990, the show can go on! The children are becoming teenagers now, growing up in an era of new technology and a changing music scene. And there’s a new group of people introduced: the gay community in San Francisco during the early days of the AIDS struggle. Now we have familiar but also new situations to deal with: puberty, teen sex, personal goals and successes and failures, intertwined lifestyles, AIDS and cancer, deaths and births.
So all you screenwriters out there or scouts looking for that next big television show that will fill a growing gap, I suggest you look at the Baby Boomer Generation, of which I am a proud member (albeit on the tail end). Here is where your audience is, your material, your stories. It’s time to retell our stories, let us revel in our nostalgia and show the younger generation (who are for the most part quite curious about the Sixties,Seventies and even Eighties) what we lived through and why were are who we are. For better AND for worse. “Red, White & Blues” and the upcoming sequel is your answer.