“The Proles”: How to design a cable television series

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So, how could “The Proles” (two posts ago) be made into a television series?

The rather obvious example is set by “Revolution” (previous post).

And the hooker is that the character “John Maurcek” is “stored” and “reconstructed” three times, based on the idea that I mulled in that 1970 summer in Indianapolis (post here ).

The way “The Proles” was set up, John apparently goes to “The Tower of Ned” (I’m drawing analogy to similar images in both “Revolution” and “FlashForward”), which may be somewhere in the northern Plains, like North Dakota, in early 1970 after getting out of the Army.  The book might have to be changed to show that he does have a job offer.

So incarnation #1 happens immedidately.  John Maurcek is reconstructed after about two hours, and leaves the facility (as if wakened from general anesthesia for surgery, the first time in his life), apparently not much worse for wear.  Maybe he is a little more bald.  He goes to New Jersey, and spends his first year employed just as in history (including time in Indianapolis).  He gets laid off (the only layoff in “my” career until 2001).  Then, partly out of a personal animosity, John does something impulsive, or compulsive, and really bad.  He is almost immediately neutralized and taken out by one of his “friends” (maybe Rado Suhl) with the doomsday laser gun. It’s important to note that factually this catastrophe did not happen.

Incarnation #2 then starts, in early 1971. He has a resume intact.  He is reconstructed again, only slightly worse for wear (but with some small disadvantages).  But he has to own some memories of the year of work, although not of how it ended.  The effect is again like coming out of surgery,  The next 40 years or so of his life proceed, with the familiar story, with all its ironies, nooks and crannies, as outlined in my “Do Ask, Do Tell” books.   Maybe this sounds like a Biblical “wandering in the wilderness”, but if so there were a lot of berries to eat.  (OK, Darren Aronofsky can direct this series.)

At the end of this period, he has an accident, perhaps in traffic, resulting in someone else’s severe injury, of which he is not aware.  It’s not quite hit-run.  He comes home, and then has a sudden accident himself, and lies unable to move, likely to die of dehydration if not found.

For Incarnation #3, he is reconstructed again at 26, but with the best possible body justified.  He quickly learns the history of the gay rights movement (from a “Therapist”), and by now knows someone like him went through it.  It was always a problem that he was never attractive enough to be desired physically, but just once he gets to experience this at a disco in Indianapolis.  Then he learns that “Indiana wants him”, and he travels (to escape) to his Drogheda home in Virginia.  He goes inside and finds his older doppleganger dying.  As he is about to dial 911, nuclear Armageddon happens.  (It’s possible to imagine all this “Revolution” style, with an EMP attack first.  But the second half of this 1970 book presumes nuclear war.)

Incarnation #4 is as in the book now.  “Oscar” joins him, just as in the book, and they find out that nuclear war has broken out. (Putin got carried away with things, or maybe it was Al Qaeda, or Iran, or North Korea.)  Some parts of the country are more intact than others.  This time, however, his physical reconstruction is less perfect (you can only do it so many times).  For one thing, his legs are balding, quickly, as if from diabetes.   He will never again be attractive.

The series would be constructed like “Revolution”, with the post-nuclear world as the “present time” with flashbacks.  The backstories would be told when John encounters various characters from his “first past” (the world up to 1970), and then his other three incarnations.  Since John is still relatively “young” although now with defect, some of the revelations could come from his sexual partner in Incarnation 3, but others could come from Zugfel, Rado Suhl (who killed him once).  Oscar is back in his first reincarnation, and Suhl is on his second, and Zugfel, like an angel, is ageless.  The idea of proving he can have a child with Tovina could still stay in the story.

“Part I” of the book (“The Covenant”) could be set up as a prequel, perhaps 90 minutes, aired between the first two seasons.

This material could populate two or three years of episodes.  It would probably have to be on a cable rather than regular broadcast channel because of the somewhat “adult” material.

(Published: Sunday, March 30, 2014m at 11:30 AM EDT)

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