Making it Believable

I’ve been losing patience with a lot of TV shows of late.  I’m all for suspended disbelief, after all, I’m a writer of fantasy, it’s my stock and trade.  But sometimes, things are just so far-fetched it just ruins the moment.  One example, Leverage.

I don’t watch it regularly, and I don’t expect much from it, but the last episode I saw really pushed the limits.  There were five or more bad guys with semi-automatic weapons and they had one good guy pinned down.  Standard fare.  The BG’s had orders to kill the GG, so they’re spraying bullets at him.

Dramatic Pause.  GG takes a deep breath, comes out from his hiding place, and everyone STOPS shooting.

This implausible moment continues on as the GG steps to the center of the floor, proceeds to cross his arms to cock the guns against each other, and give the cold-eyed, steady stare of the “I’m not afraid to die” BG turned GG.  Still, no one shoots him!

There’s a large amount of liquid on the floor from a container struck by stray bullets.  Here we roll right into the implausible finale.  GG starts running.  BG’s start spraying more bullets but, obviously, are the world’s worse shots because it’s not like they’re professional killers or anything.  GG drops to his knees and slides across the floor on the liquid all in luscious slow motion.  He extends his arms and Bam! nails a BG with one shot.  Bam!  There goes another.  Bam!  He’s dropping them with sniper-like precision yet not one bullet so much as grazes him.

He gets to his feet but there’s one BG left and he’s standing right behind the GG, gun aimed.  Of course he waits until the GG turns to face him and they exchange a few words.  The conversation must have lulled the BG into a semi-comatose state because (remember, his weapon is aimed directly at the GG) the GG manages to raise his weapon and shoot the BG before the BG can pull the trigger.

Come on, please, writers.  Yeah, I’ll admit, there’s a cool factor in play for a while.  The GG used to be a BG and he’s got crazy mad skills, plus he’s not bad to look at, but . . . seriously?!!?

I won’t even get started on Revolution.  Yet that one I keep watching, I think because I secretly have a crush on Miles.  It’s extremely flawed but somehow addictive.  (I know, and wildly popular, so please don’t send me hate mail.)

I try not to let things like the above example happen in my writing.  Even characters with special skills aren’t going to get off that easy.  I guarantee, you won’t find BGs with such atrocious aim in my stories.  At least, I hope you won’t.  I admire characters with skills, but untouchable characters don’t have much to lose, and if they don’t have much to lose then I’m not going to care overly much about them.  Neither, for that matter, are my readers.  And one of the things I want is for my readers to care deeply about my characters.

Crack the WIP!


5 responses

  1. I don’t watch Leverage but I do like Revolution. It has its cheesy moments and there are many times I’ve said “come on, give me a break”, but I LOVE the show. (I think Billy Burke “Miles” is hot, too). And for a bad guy, Giancarlo Esposito (Capt. Tom Neville) and David Lyons (“Monroe” are awesome. I can’t express how much I want them to have the wrath of Miles inflicted upon them.

    One show I’m really waiting to come back on is Falling Skies. OMG! So fantastic.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:52 am

    • Oh yes, love David Lyons’ eyes. *sigh* And for the most part, if I don’t think about it too hard, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I think the topper was last week’s episode where Aaron shot himself point blank in the chest and that flimsy flask stopped the bullet. Then, to add to it, none of the bad guys cared that he killed their boss. Just nonchalantly told them to get their stuff and leave. But I’ll keep watching because I like the characters and the premise and can overlook most of the annoying bits.

      Don’t think I know waht Falling Skies is.

      November 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

  2. Pat

    Hi – I do watch Leverage and I like it – it makes me laugh!
    The whole thing is so unbelievable that I do have to suspend my disbelief and they can pretty much get on with whatever they like – and they do!
    If you pick up on that one scene – which is I grant you totally bonkers – I think you’re missing a lot of others which are just plain impossible. This programme is totally nuts, but it is very creatively funny and though I wouldn’t cry if I missed one, it does amuse me.

    November 5, 2012 at 7:25 am

    • Yes, I have to agree, Leverage is good for a chuckle. And, like I said, the cool factor is there. Plus, I just love the damaged soul character. Bad guy with a clouded past trying to make good. Certainly we can pick apart any action/adventure. I usual don’t. I’m not sure if I just caught a bunch of things all at one time that made me hyper-aware of it, but that one threw me over the top. Of course, I’ve always had a bit of a problem with how bad guys can’t hit the broadside of a barn, yet good guys can make the most impossible shots ever! 😉

      November 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

      • Pat

        Oh yes, the bad guys are always rotten shots! My husband and I often remark on that while we’re watching a film. But I am a sucker for that damaged soul character – and the guy on Leverage is so typical! And I have a friend in real life who is somewhat similar. He is not good with alcohol. He wears his hair in a ponytail, but when he has a drink, there is a point when the ponytail comes down and everyone knows to get him out of the pub/party/whatever and take him home.
        The animal is released with the ponytail!
        Maybe he is why I can take so much more of the completely irrational stuff on tv!! 🙂

        November 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

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