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14 September 2010 @ 11:44 am
Reaper's Ridge  
For scifiland's Create a New SciFi Show challenge, I give you the TV pilot I've actually been working on (and since I'm not starting from scratch, I was asked to do a few extra characters, which is why there are eight instead of five).

A small, sleepy town tucked away in the woods.  The kind of place where everyone knows everyone, children leave determined to make their lives anywhere else but always come back, and no matter who you are and what you've done, there will always be someone to take care of you, before the end.  In a lot of ways, it's the quintessential American town - white picket fences, lazy dirt roads, star-spangled bunting on the town common.

Reaper's Ridge has a secret, though - founded three hundred years ago by a coven of witches on a mystical convergence of ley lines, this is also a place of magic.  Students study for tests by highlighting their textbooks and drinking a memory draft; cell phones don't work, so communication relies on mystical links between ordinary objects - think tin cans connected by magical string.  Most everyone knows the simple incantations and tricks, but every generation a few are born with real power.  They are the spell-casters, the witches.  The Guardians.

Because there are a lot of things drawn to the amount of power that exists in Reaper's Ridge.  Things that go bump in the night.

Jane Callahan (16)

When she was an infant, her mother moved out of Reaper's Ridge for good.  They never stayed in one place for long, and Jane ended up becoming a very guarded, bitter person.  She doesn't trust anyone, and won't let anyone in.  A devout Catholic, Jane is consumed with guilt after her mother dies in a fire, a fire she's afraid she somehow started.  Now she moves back to Reaper's Ridge to live with her only living relative, her mother's identical twin sister Miranda.

Max McCoy (16)

In any other school, he'd be the most popular and the most desired; the class president; the captain of the football team.  But since Max is an exceptionally powerful witch, his classmates don't entirely trust him, and he's an unhappy outsider.  Raised with the knowledge of his responsibility to the town, Max can't help but overreact when new student Jane shows up - she's an enigma, and that makes her a threat.

Holly Miller (17)

Bright, vivacious, and kind to everyone - even the local succubus.  She's the bridge between the Reaper's Ridge High witches and the rest of the student body.  She's not as powerful as Max, but she has a natural talent for spell-casting that the rest of them rely on.  She immediately takes Jane under her wing, and is determined that Jane will find a new home and a new family here with them, even if she has to tie her down and cast a spell to make it happen.

Joshua "Eris" Miller Jr. (15)

Holly's younger brother, dues-paying member of the Goth Union.  He's an actual practicing pagan, whereas the others call on whichever gods a particular spell requires and leave it at that; he goes by Eris, and yes, he knows that Eris is a goddess and therefore it's a girl's name.  He's really into Discord, okay?  Kind of a wuss, he's the witch most likely to screw up a spell or run away screaming into the night.

Thaddeus Van Gogh (17)

The most handsome boy in school, in the whole town of Reaper's Ridge, perhaps the entire world.  Soft-spoken and a gentleman, one can't help but wonder if he has any flaws at all.  The witch with the least power, he's thought quite a bit about giving the whole Guardian thing up - it would be so much easier to just be a regular guy.  Playing football, watching TV, parties on the weekend.  Instead he's stealing dirt from cemeteries and invoking Charon.  That quiet exterior hides a deeply conflicted soul.

Miranda Callahan (35)

Jane's aunt, and the identical twin of Jane's mother Elizabeth, Miranda owns and operates the Reaper's Inn, a bed and breakfast with all the usual charms - beautiful furnishings, home-cooked meals, and a wicked bloodstain at the foot of the stairs.  The inn has a real ghost - a crochety kind of guy who refuses to come out and play for the guests - and the ghost that Miranda and her housekeeper Sylvia create themselves, with some big heavy boots and well-timed clomping through the attic.  Miranda is a cold fish, but seems to want to make a real relationship with her niece.

Sylvia (60)

The housekeeper at Reaper's Inn, she's more than Miranda's best friend - she was a mother figure to her growing up, since Miranda's own mother had been driven mad by her powers.  While everyone else loved Elizabeth, who, being born first, inherited her mother's magical ability, Sylvia was drawn to Miranda, and has worked tirelessly her whole life to try and give to Miranda what she thinks should have been her birthright - magical powers for her very own.  And Sylvia's willing to stop at nothing to make sure it happens.

Joshua Miller (38)

Holly and Eris's dad, and the owner of Miller's Pub, the town's most popular watering hole.  Caustic, unfriendly, and deeply protective of his children (much to their annoyance and chagrin), Joshua is far from the town's most popular person.  Really, if he didn't sell a lot of beer and make the best burgers in town, he probably would have ended up a hermit.  His wife died when Eris was only a baby, in a mysterious fire that destroyed the town's only church.  Joshua has kept a secret for the last sixteen years - he's one of only two people who know what really happened in that church, and he's been carefully watching the other person - the one who killed his wife - ready to take his revenge.

Since this is a pilot I'm actively working on, any feedback or concrit is hugely appreciated.  And if anyone's a masochist really into what you've seen here or just like reading TV scripts, let me know and I'll send the actual pilot your way.  Then I would literally be in your debt - requests for fic, icons, wallpapers, headers, or anything else would be my repayment for your time.  :D
sallycandance on September 14th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
This seems so well thought out and very, very appealing. I'd absolutely love to read the pilot and give concrit if you wish!

The characters sound great - this is a show I'd really like to see on telly one day.

Edit: I've just read your profile and now I totally want to friend you (I'm a novelist/screenwriter/playwright myself and I'm also a teacher)!

Edited at 2010-09-14 06:33 pm (UTC)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 14th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! And friend away, as long as you're prepared to be friended back - anyone who likes that many awesome TV shows and is a screenwriter is obviously already my friend. ;)

I'd be happy to email you the pilot - where to?
sallycandance on September 15th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
I'm sending you a PM with my email.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Got it! On your way.

(My 15-year-old sister is so in love with Benedict right now, you have no idea.)
sallycandance on September 15th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
I probably have - he is epically adorable and I worship the ground he walks upon. ^.^
nhpwnhpw on September 14th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
You should know I am having what easily qualifies as The Busiest Week Ever and you are distracting me at work :P However this is not entirely your fault, on account of it would have been a better idea for me to just SKIP my lunch break and not allow myself to get distracted by LJ.

Also, you know I want to see that pilot, chica. Gimme :) I promise to put it at the top of my "stuff to read" list, on account of I kind of owe you times a billion, and also, even if I didn't, I'd ask you for it anyway because this has intrigued me.

The character bios are fantastic; what I'd be more interested to know is: What ties all these people together? Which I'm sure is covered in the pilot itself, but it's the one thing that's missing here. There are more people in the town than this; why single these folks out? And - if you look past the pilot, is there something you are building toward? If you dare to allow yourself to dream big and consider fleshing it out into an entire season of episodes, what's your grandiose vision for the town and the people and their story?
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 14th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Great questions - see, this is why I wanted to do this, because I am not very good at pitching, and I definitely need more practice. I forget that no one else automatically knows what's in my head, heh.

We do actually have the major arcs of the first season worked out - in broad strokes, sure, but we tried to build a lot of stuff into the pilot that would be able to play out knowing where we might take it, and not just stick a lot of random shit in that we'd have to figure out later (looking at you, Lost). I'm afraid if I went too in-depth on the big picture it would spoil a couple of twists in the pilot, and I'd love people's unspoiled reactions to that, so I'm gonna keep mum for right now.

I'm still tying our two halves of the pilot together but I should have it ready by this evening. Yay!
enigmaticbluesenigmaticblues on September 14th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a really interesting premise, particularly since I think it picks up on a lot of elements that seem to be huge hits in popular culture right now.

I would definitely watch the pilot.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 14th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
It's funny that it's all in vogue now, since my writing partner and I first developed this in grad school three years ago, when it was not so much. Strike when the iron's hot!

Thank you! People saying they'd be interested in watching it in the first place is absolutely what we want to hear.
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Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 14th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I'll send it to the email in your profile.
mac_beth13mac_beth13 on September 15th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Not only would I love watching a show like this I'd love to be one of the actresses in it! :D
The character bios speak of mystery and intrigue. You gave us a hint of some of the secrets they hide: special powers, a murdered wife, blood stains, secret ambitions. You also have potential for romance, humour(Eris perhaps?), teen angst(love triangles, social ladders), etc. Mixed in all this there has to be the human elements because these kids do go to school but thier powers give it a twist. How do they hone their magical abilities? What are the great problems that the kids have to overcome? Do their problems mix in with the adults problems? Did Jane really start that fire by accident or was a more sinister power at work? *Is intrigued*
Shannon: ready set van goghkungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
Ooo, I love these questions! Although they make me want to just sit down and start writing the first season - we worked out the major arcs to be able to plant some stuff in the pilot, but not much in the way of specifics.

The last question in particular is one of those things that never would have occurred to me - once you get something in your head a certain way sometimes you just never bother to walk around and look at it from a different angle - but now it's got me thinking all kinds of interesting things.
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Shannon: fringe peterkungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yay for more friends!
Nadinemalicat on September 15th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
This sounds very interesting and thought through,great job!

And I'd totally watch it ^^
Shannon: bsg revelations karakungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! (Love the icon.)
The Little Zombie Who Could1_rhiannon_1 on September 15th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
This looks like a show I'd definitely watch! :o)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
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Shannon: drh cantkungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! One of the reasons I wanted to use this pilot for this challenge was to see if our potential audience would actually be interested in this kind of show, so everyone's positive comments really mean a lot. (Maybe I'm not wasting my time!)
S: Fringe | Olivia/Close B&Wbeyondthepen on September 15th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
I love this! Looks like it would be such an interesting show. The art for the characters is beautiful as well. =D
Shannon: fringe olivia knowskungfuwaynewho on September 15th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love doing picspams.
♫  michelle ♫: blood  - p/s careful now where you gomarcasite on September 18th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
This whole premise seems so well thought out. I love your picspams and i think this could easily turn into one of my 'must see' shows. Well done! ♥
Shannon: sarah connorkungfuwaynewho on September 18th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! This has definitely been my favorite challenge so far. ♥
SkylarGrace: Team Heroskylar0grace on September 21st, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
This sounds really intriguing. I like the character descriptions and the plot seems very entertaining. I hope to see it as a TV show soon! :D