"Dark TV Vault: Free Spirit" Talkback

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Peter Paltridge

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Stars Hollow
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#1
Dark TV Vault: Free Spirit

This is the beginning of a brand-new section on the site, which will be given its own indicator whenever the next main page remodel takes place. I may still stick to doing the other promised three shows I was supposed to write about this month, and I may not. The main point is that the response was strong enough not to confine the series to just one month out of the year, so if you're waiting for "Drive," you probably won't be waiting until 2014.

This article took unusually long to create for several reasons, one of which is that I was trying to update my web coding capabilities. Like, for example, now that you can embed any font into a website (instead of sticking to the short list of fonts every browser can read), I did some experimentation on that end....but didn't wind up finding anything I preferred to the default fonts I've been using for so long. I also tried to find a better way to put videos on the page.

The bad news is that unless you want to use a site like YouTube to display your videos (where they can be removed without warning), there is still no method to offer an embedded video yourself that is compatible with every way to view the Internet. Until now they've been in Flash format, which locks out Apple and Android users. As of this article they'll start being posted in HTML5, which locks out Internet Explorer and older browsers. I decided to discriminate on the side of progress. Let me know how many of you have problems with the videos and which method you're using to view them.

You've read the article by now, right? Good. Now for the other announcement. Umm.....I caved.

I'm not even kidding. You wondered what was going to be replacing Keiki. Umm...yeah. I'm really gonna do it. I have no choice anymore. My hands are forcing me to at this point.
The truth is, I've been fighting the urge to do this for months, because I was too afraid of what the reaction would be to such a bizarre, left-field announcement. You might have wondered what that whole scene in Electric Wonderland was about, well, it was my attempt to get it out of my system, and it didn't work.

It drives me crazy that I love this concept and its main character so much, and that I have so many good ideas for where it could have gone, and what actually exists is so lousy. Trying to prepare next week's article while fighting the urge was the last straw. I finally had to say to myself, "Is she really what you want? Then RUN. RUN TO HER."

I showed JB Warner this sketch earlier, and asked him what he thought, and he said "Well, it's not THAT out of character for you to do something like this." I've done similar things in the past, it's true -- the comic marked in the timeline as "The Forbidden Cartoon" had similar origins. It was based on an existing property, but one I was craving better stories from. I haven't shared it with people because I thought laying something like that in the open made me look unprofessional.

But while I felt I had to hide it, I don't regret making it. There are several stories from that series I still like a lot. Trying new things is also how one grows. I've learned something from every series I've drawn. So I've come to the conclusion that, if I really want to draw a Free Spirit series, it's worth attempting.

Of course, I'm aware most people won't have seen or heard of it before, so it may not matter to the majority of readers what the idea is based on. Right now I'm leaning toward starting the story over from the beginning and rewriting the origin events with my own spin, throwing out the crappier jokes and such. (Eventually, knowing me, the fact that the exact same things happened 25 years ago will be a plot point.)

This will also be a series rendered in pencil, similar to the sketch above. I've wanted to do a pencil series for quite some time; to just instantly have everything as it looks in my head, shaders, backgrounds and all, within minutes instead of having to go over everything two more times with ink and color. I have my excuse now that I can't afford to spend as much time on a series I can't sell, and I think the look fits this series' world better than sterile, stiffened-up drawings would.

So....there it is. Now you know. And if you wind up hating it, remember: YOU started it by directing me to this thing in the first place!
 

Dsneybuf

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#2
I think I went through something pretty similar to what you're doing now. For most of my love affair with The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, it seemed hard for me to tell if it had as many fans as it deserved. Despite this, I loaded my YouTube channel with different videos related to the show. Like Aerynn's dream sequence for you, they didn't seem as popular as my previous videos, but I still enjoyed making them, and most of the time, no one directly told me that they hated them. My most recent, and longest, Earth's Mightiest Heroes AMV became my highest-rated video of all time (the low-pitched-for-copyright-reasons version did, anyway), so I wish you luck with your Free Spirit comics. I can see Winnie's comedic potential in this review. If she really does have less control over her powers and the consequences than Aerynn does, it should help distinguish her character, as well as the question about whether the family loves her or the things they bring her.

Peter Paltridge said:
The newfound uncontrollable illness I was now consumed with resulted in this thing being created, which I fear was plopped on the Electric Wonderland audience without much warning or explanation.

I felt pretty surprised at seeing "The Girl with Kaleidoscope Hair" get pushed back for a comic I didn't recall seeing in the schedule. When actually reading the story, the Winnie scene didn't come too far out of left field for me, since I still remembered the Free Spirit ad from "The Ancient Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising".
 
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T

Trish

Guest
#3
The article worked fine for me, a person who doesn't use Internet Explorer. And as someone who frequents the Platypus Comix site but hasn't had all that much to say, I say...yeah, follow your heart (hands?)! Like Disneybuf, I've been inspired to make all sorts of weird stories based on others' creations, and I'll continue to in the future. It's a fun way to go.

The following are two small tidbits that are not too consequential and completely off-topic, but that struck me weeks ago and made me say, "I should tell that Platypus Comix guy about this."

Did you know there's a DVD out there that contains the entirety of Jingle Bell Rock? It's the "DiC Animated Christmas Blast," and that's the last thing on it. Also, that Regal Cinemas rollercoaster policy trailer is still playing in a semi-small theater I live close to, years after your article claimed I'd have to hurry to see it...!
 

Dsneybuf

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#4
Actually, the closest I've gotten to writing my own Earth's Mightiest Heroes story would be when one of my siblings and I made a Hostess ad, which I didn't post on YouTube for obvious reasons. We also tried making a Christmas special, but never came close to finishing one.

Moving back to Free Spirit, if you really did make a comic where they go to Disneyland, I'd probably like to read it.
 
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Peter Paltridge

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#5
Actually, the closest I've gotten to writing my own Earth's Mightiest Heroes story would be when one of my siblings and I made a Hostess ad, which I didn't post on YouTube for obvious reasons. We also tried making a Christmas special, but never came close to finishing one.

Moving back to Free Spirit, if you really did make a comic where they go to Disneyland, I'd probably like to read it.
I was kidding about that list. The comic's concept will be played straight, not a satire of the original. It'll be more of an adventure comic than "sitcommy."

Man, I hope no one thought that was a checklist of things I want in the comic. Yikes.

I WANT TO MAKE IT GOOD, I SWEAR.
 

TenPoundHammer

Wanna be on Wheel of Fortune
Nov 27, 2006
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#7
Until now they've been in Flash format, which locks out Apple and Android users.
I'm a Mac user, and I've never had a video fail to load on your site (except some of the Weird Al vids that are now deleted for some reason). I think I installed something to remedy that, though.

But THESE videos don't work. Odd.

I'm inspired by various obscure works, although since I mostly just watch cartoons, it ends up as fanart most of the time. (Birdz still needs more love, darn it.)
 

Peter Paltridge

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#9
I'm using Firefox and I can't view the videos.
They work in Firefox, but for reasons I don't comprehend, they skip to the last frame upon hitting "play" and you have to scroll back to make them appear. I don't understand why there isn't a universal video format by now. I'm sick of this.

As for you, Hammer, what browser are you using?
 

TenPoundHammer

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#11
They work in Firefox, but for reasons I don't comprehend, they skip to the last frame upon hitting "play" and you have to scroll back to make them appear. I don't understand why there isn't a universal video format by now. I'm sick of this.

As for you, Hammer, what browser are you using?
I use Firefox too. The "skip" trick doesn't work unless I skip it back to about 5 seconds in.
 

Chris

I am a DuMont production.
Sep 15, 2006
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#12
What the complete directory to prime time network and tv cable shows had to say:
First telecast: 9/22/89
last telecast: 1/14/90

"Did you ever wish for a special friend? Feeling neglected by his busy father, 10-year-old Gene did - and up popped a young, pretty witch, assigned by the boss warlock in the sky. Winnie looked like a refugee from the sixties, with her long stringy hair and funky clothes, but she was just what the Harpers needed. To single dad Thomas, a divorced attorney who worked out of their Connecticut home, she was the slightly off-center housekeeper. Only the kids knew she had magical powers. Need an egg for breakfast? Poof - there's a bunch of hens cackling in the kitchen cabinet. Can't get tickets to the rock concert? Poof - two tickets pop up in the toaster. Does Jessie's date act like a cad? Poof - he's a monkey. Wow! Neat! Canceled!"
 

Peter Paltridge

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#14
What the complete directory to prime time network and tv cable shows had to say:
First telecast: 9/22/89
last telecast: 1/14/90

"Did you ever wish for a special friend? Feeling neglected by his busy father, 10-year-old Gene did - and up popped a young, pretty witch, assigned by the boss warlock in the sky. Winnie looked like a refugee from the sixties, with her long stringy hair and funky clothes, but she was just what the Harpers needed. To single dad Thomas, a divorced attorney who worked out of their Connecticut home, she was the slightly off-center housekeeper. Only the kids knew she had magical powers. Need an egg for breakfast? Poof - there's a bunch of hens cackling in the kitchen cabinet. Can't get tickets to the rock concert? Poof - two tickets pop up in the toaster. Does Jessie's date act like a cad? Poof - he's a monkey. Wow! Neat! Canceled!"
Over half of that is copied from the show's TV Guide Fall Preview page, then changed to past tense. I wonder how many people actually have access to bootlegs of the show.

Also, Gene is 10? I thought he was 5, seven at the oldest.
 

Peter Paltridge

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#16
After "Into Thin Aerynn", I tried to look up some clips of this show on YouTube, and ended up finding an extended version of the theme song. Would you know where it came from? I assumed it came from episode #1, but the version I watched on Dailymotion just used the normal intro.
Free Spirit 1989 Full Extended Intro Theme - YouTube
Episode 1's was shortened, actually. The one-minute version appeared on most episodes.
 

Asuyuka

New Member
Jun 5, 2012
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#17
It really bites. To be honest, I discount Sliders after the third season, though it really ends on the second. The show got taken over by people who wanted money and to save money, and by people who didn't love it, I think. It ends on a cliffhanger that is a big screw you to its ENTIRE fanbase, the ones that were left after all this chaos.

I might be guilty of penning an alternate ending fanfic, set after the second season, because I love Tracy Torme's original premise SO MUCH. I've been sitting on doing it for a while, but it means going through and watching those two seasons again, and remembering the heartbreak season five was.

The show might've lasted longer, but it really died after that second season.

I also neglect Otherworld, a very shortlived Scifi series- it made Firefly look like it ran a full season- from the mid-80's, even if I wasn't alive to watch it, being born in 87. The original concept was nice, in a British scifi way, highly unusual for an American scifi at the time, though it was perhaps a little complex at points. I'd like to take that show's basic premise and squash down a lot of the unnecessary elements and come out with something similar and new, but it'd be plagiarism, and I couldn't do that.

I love your work. I hope you do make this, because some series deserve to be remembered for what they promised, what could've been.
 

Aquadementia

That's a lot of Mulaney!
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#18
I think you might like "The Fantastic Journey" Asuyuka. A routine expedition to the Devils Triangle pulls a group into a vortex where they go hopping between timezones. It starred Roddy McDowall and Jared Martin, who you may know as the lead of the "War of the Worlds" tv series before they decided the show needed a more Highlander type star.
That is if you can find a copy of "The Fantastic Journey." I don't think it ever got a DVD release and being from 1977, finding it would require a fantastic journey.

I remember "Otherworld." The kid neglected his study of corn. Tsk, tsk.
 

Asuyuka

New Member
Jun 5, 2012
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#19
I think you might like "The Fantastic Journey" Asuyuka. A routine expedition to the Devils Triangle pulls a group into a vortex where they go hopping between timezones. It starred Roddy McDowall and Jared Martin, who you may know as the lead of the "War of the Worlds" tv series before they decided the show needed a more Highlander type star.
That is if you can find a copy of "The Fantastic Journey." I don't think it ever got a DVD release and being from 1977, finding it would require a fantastic journey.

I remember "Otherworld." The kid neglected his study of corn. Tsk, tsk.
Actually, that show sounds like a lot of fun. It'd be fantastic if I could find a copy (home VHS [not likely], Beta, or VHS copied from a telecine, or otherwise) just so I could watch it. Part of the magic of old TV, eh? Tracking down obscure shows and watching them again. I really did enjoy Otherworld, for the 8 or so episodes we got.
 

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