It’s been a week since the rumor emerged that Ron Moore – the man behind Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, as well as longtime Star Trek veteran – is working on a reboot of The Wild, Wild West for networks unknown. And, after a week of thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s exactly the best thing for him, if it’s true.
Moore is a great writer, but one who’s started to repeat himself, it seems: Caprica covers a lot of the same virtual reality and media criticism ground as his failed Fox pilot Virtuality, as well as the spirituality of Battlestar Galactica, and… well, it’s all beginning to become a bit familiar (A creeping unease about that which is, of course, not helped by the unexplained and unsatisfying end to BSG, suggesting that while these themes may fascinate Moore, he doesn’t necessarily find himself able to come to any conclusions about them). A move to the technologically-barren old west offers him an escape route from that dead end, in the case, and forces him back to the human interactions that formed the most compelling writing from BSG (and Carnivale, if anyone remembers that one), which can only be a good thing.
More importantly, I think it’s possible that what Moore’s resume has shown to date is that he’s at his best when picking apart someone else’s idea and finding new purpose in it – BSG – than coming up with something new on his own; both Virtuality and Caprica suffered from slow, uncertain starts, as if the world wasn’t fully formed and neither was the direction or purpose of the series, in my opinion. Rebooting comes easier, perhaps, because there’s a roadmap as to what worked and what didn’t work, previously.
Rebooting Wild, Wild West makes me excited, not because I’m that interested in a secret agent western – I’m not, really – but because I’m interested in seeing Moore rework someone else’s ideas again, and regain the purpose and speed he showed in the early days of Battlestar Galactica, instead of the weight and pretension of what’s come since. Here’s hoping it ends up happening.
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