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SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: 8th Edition

Hello everyone! Welcome to another Weekly Round Table. This week I'm (MK) joined by Luana (LA), Milo (MI), Lisa (LM), Babar (BS), Kollin (KL), Jamie (JC), Laura (DL) and Jaz (JZ) . So sit back, enjoy the read and join the discussion in th comment swction down below.

1. Casting contraversy. The newest Shondaland show announced the replacement of its lead actress right after the show got picked up. This week it was announced Britt Roberts was taking over the lead role.

LA: In this particular case there are two roles being recast, not only Britne Olford but also Lyndon Smith, so diversity wise I think it would be a bigger problem if Lyndon is also replaced by a white actress. Aside from that, I don't think Britt Robetrson is going to help the show at all, she doesn't have the reputation or the luck to help a show that seems to be struggling from the get go, I think she should follow Eliza Dushku's lead and get a role on a more solid show. She din't manage to kill Casual but she was just as annoying as her role on Girlboss, so her track record is not looking great.

MI: That's certainly an interesting decision and I wonder what happened behind the scenes and how much of the original pilot they'll reshoot if at all. I haven't actually watched the series yet - but am a fan of Britt Robertson having liked the odd things I've seen from her in the past, so I'm interested to see how she does here. That said at the same time she doesn't have the best track record so I'm kind of unsure as to how this will turn out. I haven't had the chance to watch the original screener yet so I'm hoping that the show can deliver as it's something I was previously interested in checking out. I can see why there is controversy about the replacement however, and I'm kind of bummed that we won't get to see what Britne Oldford could do properly.

BS: I was surpised when I saw that they had cast Britt Robertson as the "lead" replacing Britne Olford. Part of the surprise WAS that they recast a WoC with a caucasian actress, but unless the casting breakdown specifically asked for a WoC in the role, I don't think this recasting is that problematic, seeing that the cast has other PoC too. The bigger surprise about the casting for me for me was that they cast Britt, who is not known for successful shows, the most recent example being the one-and-done Netflix series Girlboss. Although For the People is presented as an ensemble show, in the pilot screener I watched, a lot of focus in the pilot was give Sandra's (now played by Robertson) case, and I don't think Britt can lead the show. Also, I was surpised when they actually announced the recasting of two of the female characters after I had seen the pilot, seen both the actresses seemed fine in their roles to me.

JZ: I love Britt Roberts from her Secret Circle Days but I do have to admit that casting her in the place of a WOC was a bad choice on ABC’s part. From what I’ve seen from her past roles (and in For the People), Britne Olford could have been more than capable of being the shows lead despite her inexperience over Britt who’s two lead shows were both cancelled in their first seasons. Perhaps ABC is thinking “third times the charm?”

In any case, after already advertising the show as having a main WOC, I think it would have been wise to keep casting consistent by casting another WOC, despite whether the character call-out specified ethnicity or not. Generally recasting is made with this sort of continuity in mind so I wonder what made ABC change their minds here. Shonda shows are known for their array of diverse characters, I hope that the show can still live up to its namesake and be a series “For The People” rather than be a show for some of them.

MK: I understand people having issues with this recasting and I would understand people being upset if it was any other show but a Shondalad show. The production surounding Shonda's shows are really working hard to deliver variety in regards of ethnicity and swxuality and that shouldn't be disregarded.

2. Early reviews on the first season of the Defeders are out and they aren't all bright and shiny. How important are critics reviews ahead of watching a show and can bad or good reviews spoil the fun for you?

LA: I think early reviews are important when people are on the fence about a show and don't know if it's worthy of our time. Also I think the hype is what hurts these shows, they put so much into promoting them that they forget their product is not that good. Not that it's bad, but since Daredevil came out it seems like almost everything else is just okay. It's like they keep building this world on hype alone, and we keep hoping one of these promisses will be the one to live up to our expectations.

MI: I've stayed clear of reading any Defenders reviews in case of spoilers but it's certainly interesting to see that they're not all positive, and the negative reaction to Iron Fist probably hasn't helped things much. Reviews themselves are usually helpful for me, I've discovered a lot of new shows due to constant buzz about them from reviewers whose opinions I trust, and at the same time been warned off bad ones. I guess it depends on how interested I am in the show, I'll probably check out something like The Defenders regardless, but if it was something that I wasn't interested in anyway and a critic I liked gave it a bad review then this wouldn't be an issue.

BS: I can't speak for everyone, but bad reviews can turn me off watching a new show, unless I have already watched the pilot beforehand or feel really strongly about a show not to care about the reviews.

KL: There are certain critics whose opinions I trust more than others and their reviews, of course, matter a lot to me. I won't let it affect my viewing experience, I approach a show with an open mind; however, if a show does get bad reviews from those I trust, or even just universal bad reviews, then I'll watch with caution. In the case of TV though, the first four episodes of a cable show or the first one or two episodes of a broadcast series may be as bad as the reviewers say they are, but it is not a testament to the whole season, so I try to not judge a show by its cover, per se. Since we are using The Defenders as an example, the first four episodes are REALLY slow. They spend two and a half episodes building individual stories when it could've been compressed into one and a half episodes at the most. But I'm sure The Defenders will be fine after the first half! I don't let the reviews, or whatever i see as a reviewer in the screenings, bug me too much - I'll let a show prove itself to me over time.

JC: I tend to not take the reviews of critics into account when I decide if I'm going to watch something. I have a few things I look for myself and if I'm really not sure I wait to see what the initial reaction to the show is. Though if there are a lot of bad reviews, I do tend to stay away from that show.

DL: For me personally, a bad review isn't going to keep me from trying something out, but an early good review may sway me to think twice about something that I may not have been interested in. As for the majority, I think without looking at statistics, it's hard to say. I know a lot people will stay away from early reviews in case of spoilers, where others like to read everything there is.

JZ: I think reviews (particularly ones from trusted or renowned critics) are an important aspect of advertising for a show, but they are merely someone else’s opinion and I try not to let their feelings dictate my own judgement when viewing a series. I can be swayed into watching a show if I hear enough about it from a trusted source, or if I see multiple reviews, but rarely does it STOP me from watching a series. Sometimes when I read a bad review, I’m compelled to watch it just to see if it’s as horrific as they say. (Looking at you 9JKL!)

I think for some people they take reviews (particularly advance reviews) a little too seriously. Coming from the Gotham fandom I’ve seen people become enraged if they find out some character doesn’t appear in an episode or if they don’t interact with another character. Mere words about an event will make them want to boycott an episode altogether! I think this sort of fanaticism takes the fun out of television viewing and partly why I try to avoid any reviews that involve specific “spoilers”.

I think what people need to remember is that television is entertainment. Shows are subjective and the opinions formed about them are from one person who may have completely different wants, interests, or perspective from your own. Reviews are merely there to start a conversation or pique one’s interest and in no way, should a review invalidate your own opinion or be the grounds in which to shape your own opinion.

Call me old-fashioned, but that the best way to know if you like something or not is to do it (or in this case watch it) for yourself!

3. The Gospel of Kevin turns into Kevin (Probably) Saves The World. How risky are these name changes for a show and how important is the shows name for you as a TV viewer?

LA: I think in this case none of the names are awesome, or really that different. But I do think a title is very important, it's a lot harder to convince someone to watch something called "Jane the Virgin" than something called "Friends From College", and guess which one is worse? But here is where early reviews come in to let us know we should ignore the seemingly bad title and give it a shot.

MI: I actually prefer The Gospel of Kevin to Kevin (Probably) Saves The World even I have no intention of checking out the show after not being won over by the pilot. But name changes can be frustrating not just when it comes down to TV, the most notable example that springs to mind that I can think of is the excellent film from 2014 with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow. Originally it was based on a manga called All You Need is Kill, changed to Edge of Tomorrow and then changed again to Live Die Repeat before (I think?) becoming Edge of Tomorrow: Live Die Repeat. Now, what the hell is up with that? I understand there were some creative differences between the studio/director but really, it needed to be handled so much better. I wish they'd have just stuck with one from the beginning. But honestly, I'm fine with it for the most part as long as it doesn't change too often to the point of annoyance/confusion like EoT.

LM: I actually really like how Jane the Virgin handled her NOT being a virgin anymore. They didn't change the name, but each episode "virgin" was crossed out of the title card and replaced with something pertinent to the episode like "Jane the Widow" after Michael died. Agent's of SHIELD also named their various arcs this past season. I don't think that completely changing the name of the show is helpful in the long run.

BS: I think the reason they retitled The Gospel of Kevin is because the wanted a wider viewership and didn't want the show to appear to "preachy" from the title. Though I am sure they could have come up with a better title if they had tried harder.

KL: A shows title is very important. I mean, if they can't come up with a good title, then by God how is the writing of the show? Now, changing a show's title are risky in terms of bringing in new viewers, but if the series already has a strong built in audience, like I'm sure The Gospel of Kevin has (I don't follow it) then I don't think changing its title is too much of a risk.

JC: I have no problem with name changes before a show airs. It's a bit more dangerous to do when it's already on the air. That's why it's so important to think about where your show is headed in the long run when deciding on a name. Cougar Town turned it into a running joke in the opening credits (which was clever). But I bet even they wish they'd gone with a different name.

DL: It sounds like they were worried about marketing to wrong people or coming off offensive--in this case, it's kind of a shame because the original title had a funnier edge to it--it also made me think of the final season of the Leftovers, which I don't think is a bad thing either. How important is a good title? I think more often than not it does matter in the beginning, but there are surely shows that have "ok" or mundane average titles, but are still good shows.

JZ: As I’ve said before, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World sounds like the name Lofty from Bob the Builder would come up with. Gospel of Kevin made sense, it’s a show about a guy named Kevin with a spiritual/prophetic connection. I think in the beginning a show’s name must embody it means both literally and metaphorically so that it can attract an audience.

After the first or second season, the name really doesn’t mean much. The Vampire Diaries stopped writing in diaries seasons before the show ended, Quantico has nothing to do with its namesake anymore and I still enjoy those shows despite it.

Going back to Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, I think in this instance it’s too vague and after already advertising the show as “The Gospel of Kevin” it’s going to be confusing for a casual viewer to find and understand it’s premise without having watched it. It all sounds like a bad start for the show.

4. Shooter's episode was cut cause of Ryan Phillipe's injury. Should a show have a back up plan for these situations or follow Shooter's lead and cut the episode order in case their lead isn't able to do the whole season?

LA: I don't know what could be a possible backup plan, but I think a shorter season is more likely to let them tell the story better than figuring out ways to have episodes without him, besides no viewer likes fillers that much, I think quality over quantity is what works better when there's already so many shows, a casual fan is more likely to drop a show if it gets boring than if they just have shorter seasons. There's also the posibility of a hiatus but I don't think many shows have the fan base to survive those.

MI: I don't follow Shooter so I'm not particularly aware of how they handled his character but the decision to cut the episode order I remember reading somewhere came from the fact that the episode that they cut it at had a natural ending for the show anyway, which makes perfect sense. It does give the writers more time to prepare and if they end up deciding to continue with the show, but at the same time, hopefully they can find a way to reincorporate Phillipe's character when he recovers. Although that said, it's a valid point raised above that smaller shows like Shooter don't necessarily have a dedicated audience that would survive a long hiatus if it were to take one, so the showrunners have an interesting decision to make. Hopefully, for those that are fans of the series and the actor himself, everything turns out okay in the end, though.

LM: It's interesting that Phillipe was not at all forthcoming with details on his "freak" accident. There are all kinds of riders and clauses in an actor's contract about the kind of activities he/she is allowed to do while filming and if that was one of the no-no activities, he could be on the hook for a substantial amount of money. Actors can choose to still do activities, but the studio may require them to take out extra insurance - to pay for any loss to the studio over filming time etc. At the end of the day, accidents are accidents and there is no way to plan for them. Writers don't have enough time to get the scripts out as it is, so having this kind of back up storyline really isn't feasible. Other shows have done a good job writing in accidents to characters. I don't watch Shooter, so I don't know if that might have been feasible. With more and more shorter season and summer shows, I don't think shortening the season is going to have the adverse impact it would once have had. However, nothing can make up for momentum, and if fans have to wait an entire year for more of the show, their interest may have strayed elsewhere. Cut the episode order really would have to be on an individual basis - not a one shoe fits all sort of solution.

BS: Unless the back-up involves casting a doppelganger, I don't see what the studio can actually do in incidents like this. Although I have not watched Shooter, I know that's it's a character driven show and it's not like they could have shot the last 2 episodes without Ryan Phillipe, so I think the studio made the right decision.

KL: I don't think anyone should have a backup plan for an injury to a star, I mean, how often does it happen? It's a freak of nature incident, and if it happens then the crew responds accordingly. Shooter responded to the accident by cutting the episode order and they were able to do it because they had an episode with an ending that felt like a finale. I don't think many shows would have the luxury of doing what Shooter did. In most cases you would have to maybe delay the filming? It's a tricky situation that really depends on the injury and the show.

DL I don't really know too much about this particular situation, but I think logically it's too hard to be able to plan for accidents--I think in those cases, viewers need to be more tolerant in understanding what the writers do.

Thanks for stopping by guys. I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition and join the discussion in the comment section down below.

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