July 21st, 2005


Not on the Global Frequency

Global Frequency, for those of you not in the know, was a comic written by Warren Ellis  - it used the framework of a semi-secret organisation of specialists, being pulled together when an emergency demanded their particular skills.  It was a nice device which basically allowed Mr Ellis to throw together a wide variety of stories under a single banner.  Each one was produced with a different artist and it was basically an excuse to allow him to work with 12 of his favourite artists over the course of a year.  The stories were generally fun little conspiracy/action/thriller type things, in the usual violent/pessimistic world that Warren tends to inhabit.

It was optioned for TV and a pilot was produced, then Warner Brothers decided not to turn it into a series.  Shame, but it happens all the time.  However, for the first time pretty much ever, the pilot was leaked and, due to the marvel known as bittorrent, spread quickly across the globe.  There are now numerous petitions to get the damn thing made into an actual series.

I, of course, downloaded a copy bloody _ages_ ago.  And then completely failed to watch it - largely because I was expecting my MVP to turn up at any minute, and then I could watch it on TV without going through all that tedious copying to DVD.  However, what with all the to-ing, fro-ing, returning of broken goods, trips to London, etc. I got round to seeing it much later.  About 2 hours ago in fact.

The question on all of your lips is, of course, is it any good?

And the answer is "Kinda."

It's basically the first issue of the comic.  Or at least the last 20 minutes of it is.  The opening stages are tacked onto the comic's plot to give some backstory and introduce the characters a bit more than the comic has space to.  It's pretty clunky, and the additional time gives you time to notice the general lack of substance.  Warren Ellis writes great disposable comics, bursting with ideas and imagery, but ultimately lacking in depth.  It always amused me that The Authority, for instance got all the respect it did, considering it was on about the same level as Independence Day or Armageddeon.  They work _fantastically_ on that level - lots of silliness and imagination, but they're a ten-minute read.  Spread over the course of an hour there's simply not enough there to hold your attention, especially when the bits pasted in to fill in the gaps are ripped off wholesale from the likes of The Matrix, all leather coats and ass-kicking.  Also, the dialogue doesn't have the same punch as the comic does, even when it's the same dialogue.

On the plus side, there are some nice ideas, the special effects aren't bad and the acting, while not actually _good_ doesn't drive you screaming from the room.  Give this show the writers and budget of, say, CSI and you could do great things with it.  Overall I'd say I liked it, but not enough to join the raging fanboys in their letter-writing campaign.

You should all read the comic though :->