I owe the creators of Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire a big thank you. A couple of months back I wrote a script for a 30 minute radio sit com more by accident than intention. I had an idea one morning and seven hours later I had 6,700 words written set in a generic fantasy world. I’d been struggling to work out what wasn’t right with it. Having watched the first episode of Krod Mandoon I’ve now got some pretty good ideas about what not to do.
First Terry Pratchett has produced so much comedy fantasy since 1983 that you’ve got to work hard at it. Its not like Pratchett, with 55 million books sold worldwide, is some sort of secret, niche author that a good chunk of your audience won’t have read. So a wizard who can’t do spells needs something to make them special if they won’t be unfavourably compared to Rincewind. The same goes for pretty much any cliche character you decide to use.
Anachronisms in fantasy settings also need to be clever – be it a character’s with 20th century attitudes or one suggesting going for counselling. Stoppard did it far better in that little known film Shakespeare in Love (Worldwide Gross $279,500,000).
And if you’re going to have a narrator that everyone in the scene can hear you’re going to have to push the boat out a bit and take a real run at the third wall and go way past Up Pompeii or Hustle to make it be funny – its been done before.
Which left humorous names, which tend to wear thin pretty fast (except some of the ones the Python team pulled off), the silly jokes – in the style of airplane (which made me laugh to be fair) – and the below the belt jokes – which I have no objection to but I prefer them to be funny. Still its a fantasy show so dressing your attractive female lead in leather, make their character just a little promiscuous, say Xena Warrior Princess a hundred times, and hope it will save your ratings (and make sure your male star will go down well with the ladies too).
So I’m going to be taking a red pen to my script and cutting or reworking anything that’s like that and a whole line of jokes about an ass I was thinking of adding are not getting anywhere near the script either.
Maybe it didn’t help that several review I read compared KM to Red Dwarf which builds an expectation. Red Dwarf wasn’t highly polished but it was funny. KM on the other hand was very polished but, at least as far as I was concerned, wasn’t very funny. However I’ll be fair to them the one hour format and it being the first episode might mean it wasn’t their best work. I’ll watch at least another couple of episodes of Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. At worst they’ll give me some more pointers on what not to write.