Saturday, 27 July 2013

An open letter to NBC Universal

Dear NBC Universal Bigwigs,

As part of your impressive business portfolio includes the now-retired MCA Television brand, you currently hold the intellectual property rights and design copyrights for one of the most influential television programmes of all time. A family oriented comedy series which also holds cult appeal, accessible to old and young alike, the show has been absent from our screens for 22 years.
Now is the perfect time to resurrect 'The Munsters Today'.

The Concept

As a standalone comedy/horror show, The Munsters Today was truly magnificent (even if it was maligned by critics as "a re-badged Addams Family for the late 80's" - how misguided they were!), but what about a sequel? Even better, one whose key feature is the fact that so much time has passed since its predecessor!

As I mentioned above, it's been an astounding 22 years since the last episode of The Munsters Today aired in 1991. A lot has changed in the intervening years, and this will be the Unique Selling Point of the new version. My idea for revitalising the show is not to simply pick up from where we left off, but to set the events of the new series now, in 2013! Ideally, the new show would employ a device whereby the Munsters family find themselves transported to 2013, and the comedy arises from the situations where they're effectively 'fish-out-of-water'; either failing to fully understand new technology, or social attitudes and accepted norms of the 21st century. This differential will provide a bottomless well from which to draw a limitless supply of comedy, and most importantly: it hasn't been done before!

Oh, the title?

"The Munsters Today Today".

The Munsters Today Today

Regarding that name, I feel it's vital that we add "Today" to the end. This creates a strong link to the original series, so that casual viewers know the two are directly connected, yet it also lets people know that the show is set in the present day and shouldn't be confused with the previous iteration (
where the word 'Today' was used as a device to let the audience know episodes were broadcast in 'real time', with the events of each one lasting 22 minutes in a single unbroken shot, and taking place a week apart). On no account do we want our audience to believe that this is a standalone show like The Munsters Today was. That would be insane. None of the jokes will make sense if it's treated as a unique entity.

The name is a deal-breaker, I can't state that emphatically enough.

The Mechanics

The perfect method to get the Munsters family into the here and now would be time-travel. However, it's essential for the narrative that after arriving in 2013, the Munsters's can't simply return (at least initially) to the soft-focused innocent days of 1991. If Grandpa were to invent some sort of time machine that malfunctions after its first use, that would be ideal. I had an idea about it maybe being powered by plutonium, but I'm still working that one out.

Failing that, maybe Grandpa could concoct some manner of sleeping potion or magic snooze-coffin or some such, which inadvertently puts the Munsters into a coma for 22 years. As Marilyn Munsters is human she'd probably die, but we can always re-cast her; hey, it's been done before!

The Episodes

I'm currently drafting episodes for the first season with the following titles:

• Back To Back To The Future
• Munster Mash
• Herman's Sherman (Tanks a lot!)
• Vlad, the Inhaler
• Marylin's Man/Son
• The Craigslist Murders
• It Works Using Blood
• Collateral Damage
• From The Ashes
• Frankenrampage!

The Casting

After The Munsters Today's John Schuck's now infamous episode with a stage hypnotist in 1999, which left him pathologically unable to lie - and by extension, act - we'll be looking for a replacement Herman Munster. Might I humbly suggest Mr Fred Gwynne? Now I know what your first words are going to be, and you're right… he is a little old, but I'm sure with the judicious application of prosthetics and CGI, we can make him look the part. And don't worry about his comedic past: with a supporting role in the screen adaptation of 'Pet Sematary', he's no stranger to the horror genre!
Oh, he is dead, but then so is Herman Munster! I'm sure you'll work something out.

The Marketing

Have you been in Accessorize or Hot Topic lately? This nouveau-retro-goth is exactly what the kids want. They're wearing Nightmare Before Christmas t-shirts, for Burton's sakes, and if that doesn't illustrate the window for mainstream 1990's faux noir, I don't know what bloody well does. T-shirts, pencil cases, action figures, subscription-based MMO games - we're sitting on a chuffing goldmine, here.

The Deal?

An associate producer credit and 13% of the net profit on distribution/syndication and merchandising, plus spin-off rights. Or 11% with extras if I can have a walk-on role in episode 1 as the first person the Munsters encounter in this confusing new age. Either / or.

Thanks for hearing me out, NBC Universal bods. Unless I've fundamentally misunderstood something, I really think we can make this work.

Get your people to call my people; we'll do lunch.


PS. If you're interested, I'm also developing a few spinoff projects:

1) An in-universe docu-comedy where Herman Munsters talks the rest of the family through the history of The Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper' album and its production. Paul McCartney's legal team is currently looking over the script for The Munsters Today Today It Was Twenty Years Ago Today.

2) A screenplay in which the Munsters family have to survive ecological armageddon when Mother Nature gets angry and lashes back after one of Grandpa Munster's experiments. The Munsters Today Today The Day After Tomorrow is currently in its second draft.

3) A thinly-veiled eco/humanitarian alien-invasion flick, The Day The The Munsters Today Today Stood Still. So far, title only.

Tweet me, yeah?.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• I feel I should reiterate; sarcasm and facetiousness. Yeah? Good.
• TL;DR version? Click here. Yes, all of the above could have been (and was) done in 117 characters.
• Seriously though; it is 22 years since The Munsters Today ended, and that's the same length of time that passed between The Munsters and its ill-advised, terminally unfunny sequel.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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