The Amazing Race – Latin America Edition?

According to Variety report last month, Disney Media Networks Latin America and Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic are to produce a local version of long running reality show “The Amazing Race” for the entire region.

I’m a latecomer into really appreciating what a great show The Amazing Race is. I have to admit I used to discriminate it, for being just another Reality Show, which I’m gladly to admit I was very wrong. Although current season which debuted a little over a month ago, it’s a little underwhelming compared to the more engaging Seasons 12 (the first full season I ever watched) and 11 (the All-Star Season), it’s been at least fun.

Having the visiting the Northeastern region of Brazil in the first 2 legs was really interesting, and reminded me of what I said about the region’s potential to hold legs of the race, back from my post about my visit to Dianópolis, in the state of Tocantins. Fun fact. Dianópolis is not that far away from Salvador (in the state of Bahia), which held the first leg of this season.

I wonder how the The Amazing Race – Latin America Edition will work out, in which my concerns can be approached in two topics.

1) This wouldn’t be the first international edition of the show. Asia has been steadily producing their a version, with 3 full season already shown and possibly more on the way. For the Latin America edition, what will be the scope, will it get the scope that the original US version, with a race around the globe? Or will it just end up like the smaller version of itself, which is what happened when a Brazilian production company optioned to adapted and the result was just bland, as it end up (due to budgetary and time constrains) into a race in Brazil, instead of a race around the globe. As I read, that was one of the major criticisms towards the Family season, in which the show lost scope and a lot of the faster dynamics that the duo teams allows.

2) Onto the subject of Brazil, as it seem always suffers somewhat in the region deals due to the fact, that despite being the largest country in Latin America (and I’m accounting Mexico into the equation), it’s almost the only country within which does not count Spanish among one of the main languages. Yes, people we do not speak Spanish in Brazil. Brazil’s, main native language is Portuguese.  And despite similarities that allow people to communicate among themselves, the deeper and richer aspects of each language is still quite different, and also due to that the cultural backgrounds result in differences. It’s Colonization History 101.

The Tordesilhas Pact from XVI century, dividing the world between Portugal and Spain.

The Tordesilhas Pact from XVI century, dividing the world between Portugal and Spain.

A very recent example was with the Fremantle and 19 property Pop Idol, which originated the US phenomenon American Idol. Due to already pointed languages constraints,  While Sony, which owns the cable network Canal Sony that shows American Idol for all Latin American audiences (including Brazil),  was able licence to produce the Latin American Idol, the licence was acquired by another company in Brazil. Latin American Idol is a prime time show for almost every country in the region, except Brazil, in which the show is simply hidden into a weird time slot at Saturdays. The would never work as primetime show in Brazil. Just like US Idol, the contestants majorly sings big pop or rock successes of the native toungue, mostly of which are unknown to Brazilian audiences, and if shown during primitime, would just alienate any potential audience they had for that time slot. The Brazilian version, called Idolos, got other issues itself, but don’t really matter into the discussion right now.

Thus I wonder what’s the plan with the Latin American Edition of The Amazing Race, it has the potential to reach all local audiences, without some of the culture constraints that Idol suffered.

That’s basically what I wanted to share about this issue, but since we’re talking about differences and subjects related to The Amazing Race, I’d like to make a mini rant.

In light of recent history making event with the visit of a Chinese convey metting with Taiwan this week.  China and Taiwan issues are lingering and complicated.

And Taiwan’s presence in Season 12 should be made clear, not mistakenly reported or just ignored (since it was such a important leg for that race – the one before the final leg), and this rant it’s specifically towards you (Taiwan is not China) and you (for completely ignoring to mention). End of Rant.

Joss Whedon on Dollhouse and New Trailer.

November barely began and it has been a pretty busy week so far. ANd the fact that is November, is ironic for Dollhouse. You’ll get the inside joke further in the post.

Yesterday Fox made the new trailer for Dollhouse, only a few days after releasing the first details of their January Programming which includes the bold return of 24, after a over year long gap, that ended up because of the Writer’s Strike (which was no fault of the writers, but the greedy hands of the AMPTP).

This time we get somewhat different trailer from the previous one, at least in tone and also most of the scenes are different from the previous more action based trailer.

If you haven’t watched already, you can check it out down here.

The changes also reflect the fact that the original version of the Pilot was mostly scraped for a new one, that offers some changes from the original plan, onto those changes Joss Whedon posted throughfully about them last week on Whedonesque, in which he update us about a lot of information.

What happened when the lights went out.

Sadly, this is not a naughty post. It’s just Joss nattering on again.

I thought it was time to check in with you once again, gentle viewers. Or readers. Or pictures-looker-ats (that might be viewers). Also listeners, sniffers, haberdashers, Olympic hopefuls, the elderly, the youngerdly, and the mighty state of Oregon (go Oregon-based sports franchise!) Welcome all. Welcome… to me.

What’s me up to? I’m glad me asked. Me’ve (I’m not doing that any more) been working on a little show called Dollhouse. Yes, perhaps you’ve read about how it’s blazing an untrammeled path to surefire success, with nary a hitch or a hiccup, just pure blazing blazery, comet-like and meteoresque. What’s that, you say? You’ve read other things? Dark, Yog-Sothothy rumors about shutdowns and delays? Poppycock! They’re true. But I never pass up a chance to say “poppycock”. (“Balderdash” is so ’07. Let it go.) I know there’s been a lot of concern, various fabulous hues of panic alert readiness. So here’s the skinny. Some of the names have been changed.

The show was ruined by Flim Flinear. Okay, that’s another lie, and you’re probably close to giving up on this blog, so here we go. Yes, we’ve had to make adjustments. Yes, it’s been hard and I’ve been depressing to be around for awhile. Basically, the Network and I had different ideas about what the tone of the show would be. They bought something somewhat different than what I was selling them, which is not that uncommon in this business. Their desires were not surprising: up the stakes, make the episodes more stand-alone, stop talking about relationships and cut to the chase. Oh, and add a chase. That you can cut to. Nothing I hadn’t heard before on my other shows (apparently my learning curve has no bendy part) but frustrating as hell given our circumstances – a pilot shot, scripts written, everybody marching together/gainfully employed… and then a shutdown. Glad I was for the breathing room, but it’s hardly auspicious. So back into the writer cave I went, wondering why I put up with this when I can make literally dozens of dollars making internet movies. Why I do put up with this is divided into three parts.

One: They’re not wrong. Oh, we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but wanting the first episodes to be exciting and accessible is not exactly Satanic. Being Satan is, but that’s in their free time and hey, there’s no judging in the Dollhouse. This kind of back and forth has happened on every show I’ve done, so if you liked those, chances are that was a part of why. And the need to focus on the essentials of what makes this universe tick – and which wire to cut to make it stop – really does bring up our game. So we as a staff have gone from blinking like unhoused moles to delving in with the same relish we had when we started. The show is really coming together now, in a way that I believe excites us and satisfies the Network. Of course, I have no idea if anybody else will like it, but I have the same faith in the staff, the crew and the remarkable cast that I always did. More, in fact. And what’s more crucial:

Two: Nothing essential has changed about the universe. The ideas and relationships that intrigued me from the start are all there (though some have shifted, more on that), and the progression of the first thirteen eps has me massively excited. The episode we’re shooting now I wrote as fast as anything I have before, not because I had to (although, funny side-note: I had to) but because I couldn’t stop the words from coming. Because I can feel the show talking to me; delighting, scaring and occasionally even offending me. It’s alive. Alive! Which is a far cry from how I felt a month ago. It’s been hilarious trying to keep up with what’s in, what’s out, who’s met whom and when – we’ve shot all of the first seven episodes out of airing order – but it’s come together in a pretty thrilling way. My huge gratitude to our cast for their precision and patience. Which also includes…

Three: Eliza. Watching her on the monitors at two o’clock this morning I was reminded forcibly how much I wished I were in bed – but also how strong, radiant and unmistakable her presence is. She’s someone who could coast on talent and never ever does. I love to watch her work. In fact, I think I got myself into this mess for that very reason, and though I have this fall occasionally sworn never to eat lunch with an actor I like again, I’m pretty pleased and crazy proud.

So here’s me, slogging away on a show like days of old and not hating life. Again, you guys will be the judge, jury and execu… lawyer, but we do have something to show you. Something, I’m chuffed to say, still pretty damn strange.

As for what’s been changed, well, some things I obviously can’t tell you. Some I can, for the record: The original pilot was in fact thrown out. Again, at my behest. Once it became clear what paradigm the Network was shooting for, it just didn’t fit at all, even after I’d reshot more than half of it (see above re: despair). To get a sense of how completely turned around I was during this process, you should know there was a scene with Eliza and the astonishing Ashley Johnson that I wrote and shot completely differently three different times, with different characters in different places (actually I wrote it closer to eight times), and none of it will ever see air. Which is as it should be (though I’m determined to get Ms. Johnson back in the future). The scene just didn’t belong anymore. Similarly, the character of November has fallen out of the mix, because the show simply moves too fast now for me to do what I wanted with her. Season three, anyone…? Happily, Miracle Laurie is still with us in a new role, playing against (and pining for) Tahmoh’s character, Paul Ballard. Their chemistry is deeply nifty. The only other major cast shift is that the Dollhouse head of security, Laurence Dominic (played by Reed Diamond), who was written just for the now-defunct first ep, has stuck like fly-paper, and Reed is very much in the family for the present. (Most of my problems seem to involve my actors making themselves indispensable. This is the good problem kind.)

Apart from that, it’s all hush-hush: some things I’d intended to hold back are laid out much sooner, and some are rolling out more slowly. We’re still heading toward Tim’s intense two-part mind-blower – right before a thirteenth ep that may actually just be insane.

And finally, young Steve DeKnight, after writing and shooting an ep so cool it helped not only define the show but save its ass, is ending his consulting duties, the f#%&er. I will be crying on the shoulder of Jane Espenson come Monday, so congratudolences are in order. Excited for the Jane Flava.

And there you have it. I’ll be writing more bulletins about “Cabin” and a certain DVD in the very near future, but I wanted to get you all some actual information for a change. I can count on you guys not to tell anyone, right? What’s a blog?

Faithfully, -joss.

PS. In case you didn’t get the inside joke, please re-read Joss info about the demise of a certain character.