Wednesday, September 22, 2010
So, What Did You Think?
Did you watch Detroit 1-8-7 last night? Guess what, I did! Yep that's right I watched the show. And, guess what else? I liked it!! That's right, I really did. I loved the writing, the acting, the set-up and I believe that i'm hooked. LOL! My revelation is significant because I was one of the early skeptics who had great reservations about a crime drama based on the city of Detroit called "Detroit 1-8-7." I thought that this would only serve to contribute to the already growing negative image that has plagued our city for far too long. I even wrote an earlier blog post expressing my concerns regarding the show entitled "Image is Everything" . Check it out and let me if you still agree with some of things that I said. But there were two things that happened that I believe has contributed to my change of heart; first I saw the 30min Special that Channel 7 filmed on the "Making of Detroit 1-8-7" and the second thing for me was the writing.
First off, when I saw the special that ran on Channel 7; giving viewers a behind the scenes look at the making of the show, I have to admit I was intrigued. I wanted to see what other Detroiters felt about the show, I wanted to know what kind of impact has the filming of the show in our city already made. And, so far so good. You can get a sense that those that are directly involved with the project understand the sensitivities of the people of Detroit, and they are trying their best to portray us in the best light possible. On the special that aired on Saturday right before the MSU v Notre Dame game (Go Spartans!), it showed how local area businesses are already benefiting from the taping of Detroit 1-8-7. From caterers to consultants, Detroiters are being used as extras, consultants, clothiers, production assistants and much more. So, at least from an economic stand point, this city should get a bit of an economic boost because of the filming of this show. It was also good to see how the city's leaders are beginning to change their opinion of the show as well.
Here's a clip from the behind the scenes taping of Detroit 1-8-7
So, you can get a sense of the optimism and the potential for this show to really do some great things. However, one thing I will point at as we've talked to people who are still critical of the show, let's be realistic in what our expecations are for this show. Some people I've spoken to want Detroit painted in a different light; a more positive light. And, from them I get the feeling that their looking for more of a "Norman Rockwell" painting when what we're use to seeing is more "Alfred Hitchcock-ish." And, it seems what some Detroiters are asking the show's producers to do is for art to NOT imitate life. They want art to be purely art thus qualing their concerns about image, but creating a fictious and phony depiction of our city in the process. But, art imitating life is the nature of Hollywood and it is also the nature of art itself. And, we should want to see the reality of our city fashioned and shaped through the lens of the small screen. Some Detroiters want a more sugar-coated, candy filled depiction of city which will allow them to digest the show a little better. But, the producers; I believe, are going to give us a mixture of positive as well as negative images and in that we will get a honest and true depiction of the city we call home.
The second thing that has helped to change my perception of the show is the writing. As a writer myself, I look for how well the script is written, the plot, the characters, and the story. All of these help make the show more believable to me. For me, the sucess of a show is determined by its writers. How well are the writers capturing the essence of their enviroment through the stories they choose for the show. And yes, yesterday there were some minor hiccups here or there. Some people made mention of the use of "soda" verses "pop" in some of the of the detectives conversations during the show. And, based their like or dislike of the show solely on the dialogue. I say, let's give it a chance. Yesterday, was just the pilot, which for the most part was filmed in Atlanta. But, all of the subsequent shows will be filmed directly in our city. Some chose to use that as a reason not to like the show as well, because they saw a few areas they didn't recognize. But, I say again, let's give the show a chance to develop. Let the characters, the stories, and the direction of the show grow and the develop. I strongly believe that the positive impact of this show for our city is limitless. I see more businesses, and local establishments possibly being featured in the show. More opportunites for Detroiters and even local Detroit celebs to get some cameos in this show. The possiblibities are endless.
Lastly, I believe that some of the criticisms that show has received from the public are largely based on the negative perceptions that have already plagued our city. And, they see this show as way to escape that reality for an hour once a week. But, that's not real change, that's television. Real change is rolling up your sleeves and gettng into the trenches to change the problems that will ultimatley change the negative perceptions of our city. So, let's not use this show as an escape from reality and nor should we use it an excuse not to deal with reality as well. However, we can use it a catalyst for change that can spark a movement that will bring REAL CHANGE to our city. Let's Go Detroit!
(P.S. dont' forget you can post your comments right to your facebook profile to start a discussion about the topic right from your Facebok page.)
Pastor Michael S. Nimmons