MIDI-nighters on TV

A few notes on genre “reveals” and on the TV option of Midnighters, all starting with a long digression.

Digression begins.

Back when I was a young composer, I went to an early MIDI expo in NYC. Then (and now) MIDI* was the communication standard that allows electronic musical instruments to talk to each other, and back in those days of tangled patch cords and 8-bit sampling, that alone was a pretty cool thing.

But one of the exhibits was even cooler. It was a guy playing a trumpet, at the end of which was something that looked like a mute. This device was listening to the notes be played, analyzing their pitch, converting them to MIDI data, and then sending them to a synthesizer. All in realtime!

He also had a footswitch to change the change the sound of the synth. So it went something like this:

Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of a piano.
Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of a guitar.
Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of an oboe.

This is still a fairly cool thing to watch. In 1980-something, it was wicked awesome.

Suddenly, though, he clicked his foot switch, and the synthesizer shifted to its next instrument sound . . .

Stomp. And he was a trumpeter making the sound of . . . a trumpet.

But a dorky, synthesized trumpet, instead of the real one he held in his hands.

I looked around at the rapt audience, seeing who else got the joke. Only a few did, but we exchanged wry stares. It was a moment of sublime post-modernity, irony, and outright geekiness.

But it was also a warning to the wise: If you twist something around too far, it’s just the same darn thing you started with. But suckier.

Flash forward almost two decades.

I’m watching Underworld, what looks to be a diverting film about vampires and werewolves at war.

Stomp. Latex-wearing undead.
Stomp. Matrix-like slow motion.
Stomp. The rain-slicked streets of Budapest!

What could possibly go worng?

Then suddenly, way too early in the film, an astounding revelation is made: In this war, the vampires use bullets full of silver nitrate-something-babble, which kill werewolves on contact. And now the werewolves have developed bullets with something-ultraviolet-babble, which kill vampires on contact.

Stomp. Superhuman monsters at war . . . and they shoot each other with guns.

You know, guns. The things that kill regular people.

Except the vamps and werewolves die even faster than regular humans. So that one extra reveal brings us right back to normal. But suckier.


Wait! These things can kill people? No one told me that.

Flash forward to yesterday!

I’m watching Tremors 2 on cable, and of course I’m not stupid. I know it won’t be as good as the original. But at least I’ll get some more of those fantabulous underground monsters!

And yet here we go again. After a long and mysterious metamorphoses that promises a great new evil being unleashed upon the world, the underground monsters change into . . .

Stomp. Monsters that can run around on top of the frickin’ ground!

Stomp my beating heart.

A war where people shoot at each other? Above-ground monsters? Trumpets that sound like trumpets? Doesn’t sound so magical.


I find this turn of events to be less than beneficial!

This brings us to the Midnighters TV show.

Last October, Scifi Wire brought us an interview with former Charmed producer Brad Kerns. He’s the man that the CW (formerly the WB and UPN) has hired to look into creating a Midnighters TV show.

He is quoted saying:

It’s a very intriguing world. It’s a very cinematically visual area. At this point I’m not yet convinced that we’ve figured out how to make it a series. We’d want to up the ages of the characters in the book from all teenagers in high school to probably in their middle to late 20s.

Stomp. Twenty-six year olds who . . . stay up till midnight!

Can you feel the magic? Because, you know, when you’re 26 and the blue time rolls around, you’re probably, um, in a bar. Or watching TV. You know, like, hanging out.

Now I’m the last person to say that visual media must stay exactly like its literary source. Or that twists on an old story can’t create something new and extraordinary. Or that we authors shouldn’t be made rich by TV. No, you won’t hear those arguments from me.

But come on. When you’re 20-something, midnight just ain’t magic. I’m hearing a trumpet that sounds a lot like a trumpet.

Which sort of blows.

Update! According to web rumors the CW plans to bring back Veronica Mars with a brave new format: a few years in the future, Veronica has become an FBI agent.

Stomp! That’s right, an FBI agent . . . who solves crimes!

Now that, my friends, is a twist.

___________________________________________
*Musical Instrument Digital Interface, to its friends.

100 thoughts on “MIDI-nighters on TV

  1. Dang thats screwed up and what about jessica and mellisa getting sucked into midnight and in their 20s now thats crazy so their 20 they just go on to live life normal when midnight comes . that would like make NO scence in the thired book. and what if people see the show and read the books they will be like “WTF” . and what if the show was good for no one thats read the book and then they read it and was like “holy sht this book sucks” because all they know is the show. to sum this up ill i have to say is noooooooooooooooooooooo dont do it

  2. NOOOOO! Uping thier ages would totally ruin the whole thing!I was so excited about Midnighters but changing their ages would totally mess things up. How will they meet eachother? At a college? Bixby wouldn’t even have a college. The nearest one would be where… Tulsa? Ridiclous! What about the hate of high school and living with thier parents and having to sneek around them? The curfiew would be pointless! Arg this is stupid! I repeat that making them older would be the worst possible thinbg to do to Midnighters! They made the character’s of “Fearless” older and it mixed up the entire plot/storyline/charaterization and look how it turned out… the pilot didn’t even air for crying for out loud!!!!!

    Scott, Show this blog to the guys at CW and maybe they would reconsider :( Let the big guys see that the little fans want it at least similar to the books as far as ages are concerned!

    You TV guys are nothing without fans… so keep us happy for goodness sake!

  3. Huh. interesting.
    1.) I want to see Underworld! But my parents say I’m underaged….they ALWAYS SAY I’m underaged…
    2.) Wait. Midnighters=20ish? No way! Then why the heck would they be still living in Bixby? And why would they go to school…and live in houses…..you get my point. NOT A GOOD IDEA.
    Unless all the producers, directors, etc are SHAKESPEARE (or better) they cannot possibly make this work.
    3.) Aw..I wanted to try the Pakka-pakka thing, but stupid video won’t load! Maybe next time..

  4. by the way, isn’t it paka-paka and not pakka-pakka? Then again, I don’t think it really matters because romaji (japanese in english words) is very…flexible.

  5. want to contact the CW? Email them here and tell them your opinion on Midnighters on TV. Have your friends and family email too. If enough people email they might reconsider or at least let Scott explain to them more about why Midnighter’s that should be in high school… (It can’t hurt to try)

    feedback@CWTV.com

  6. “people here dont realize that when you go to College there are dorms, some w/ curfews”

    wow, really? i didn’t know those still existed. my mom had a curfew when she was in college in the late 60’s…. but i guess some of the more conservative colleges do still have curfews, nows i think about it. still…. that is le crazy mucho. if they tried to do curfew at my school, we’d probably burst out laughing. :P ;)

  7. Heh heh, I’m a bit late, eh? I thought we had this post’s discussion a while back? I do remember the whole ‘midnight ain’t so grand now’ talk. So I’ve nothing to say here. Except for maybe: if they do the show this way, it will flop. No one in their right mind would watch a show about 20 somethings running around at midnight. No one, I tell you. No one.

  8. omg, don’t even bring up Ella Enchanted. That book was one of my favorites (I cried every time. Sad, I know). If they did that to Midnighters… ahh! I love Midnighters. I think approximately 75% of the plot would be altered (at least) to change their ages, so I would hate it if they changed it. Sigh. But I have no control. They will do what they like. And I will cry or rejoice.

  9. I see some one has spent time watching movies. Yeah I love underworld, although chessy and a little perdicetabl it’s still cool (more so at about 5 am, when you had like 29 to many Moutain Dews).

    I know what you mean by somthing being the same but worse, recently I whent to see Night Rider starring Nicholas Cage. It was better then some comic-book -movies, but I said a lot of line 3 secounds befor the chartiors said them and my friend freaked out. Or X-Men 3 is like the worse intrpertaion of Phineoix ever!and they redo Pheinoix like ever 2 acrs (story lines).

    I’ed still watch Midnighters if it was a tv show, until it go to a point of everything revolves around guns/blowing things up and not the story. That’s what happened to Smallvile and I stoped watching that about a year ago.

  10. i thought the blue time only happened in bixby. is there even a college in bixby? what would they do for jobs in a small town like bixby without a college education?

  11. btw the paka-paka thing is silly. if you have ever seen someone have a seizure you would not be lining up to watch an episode that would induce one. seizures are scary and serious.

  12. well going with what you said would you watch a movie where a girl that is sixteen is having a baby!! Kindof like me!

  13. i know concrete girl. Ella Enchanted was one of my favorite books (this is pre midnighters obviously) when the movie came out i was really excited but when i saw it, it was a huge let down. It strayed too much from the story line and… they changed ellas age by a lot… kind of like here… getting my hint yet? i dont see how making the midnighters 20 would help the story at all.

  14. *clicks tongue* hmmmmm. Hehe.
    scottscott (from the tomtom comertail- just so tempting)……. very interestting post. i luv yor posts in general- they’re just so…. NEAT. I kno itz really random, but SERIOUSLY.

    yup, making the midnighters like, 2-ish is kinda like a reular word. ***kinda like when you say AWESOME too much in a paragraph or sumthin, everybody’s like, OMG, your whole world must be aweome, oryou just have a really tiny vocabulary…. bbut, when youuse a word ike, say superfantastical, everybody’s like, hey, COOL! it’s so superfantastical.

  15. This is really randome… and has nothing to do with books… but i FINALLY go a cell phone!!!!!!!!! yeppe im sooo happy!!!
    ~Alexa

  16. Yeah, totally. Making the midnighters older would be bogus. But the idea of a tv show would get my attention. I have to agree with you, the first tremors is AWESOME.

  17. Is midnighters a good book or something cause ive never read it i meen i dont have enuff mony to buy all of these books and i dont know about them. It seems as though i am in a bit of a sticky situation.

  18. I agree with everyone else on this: making the characters older would create an insurmountable number of discrepencies in the plot!! (wow, I sound rather intelligent today… AND DISCREPENCIES IS A TRIDECALOGISM, YO!!!!!! XD) Those characters are MEANT to be teenagers! Only teenagers could have as much fun as they do in a time that only they can enjoy. I’m sure adults could find something to do in an extra hour of the day when time freezes, but come on, Melissa can’t touch people so she can’t do all of the adult things with Rex that CW would probably have her do, especially if the producer of Charmed is looking at working on it; Jessica would NEVER go that far with Jonathan (although there was ONE part in the books that my friend looked at and totally took the wrong way, and it was between Jessica and Jonathan); and they would probably give poor Dess some lame lover to make up for her being all alone, even though that’s also part of the awesomeness of Dess. In the end, what would the characters do with that extra hour as adults that they can’t do as teenagers, without making them WAY out of character?? And mid-twenties is only a few years older than late teens, so why not knock a few years off and go cannon?? If anything, CW could have so much fun making teens look like the irisponsible children they think high schoolers are these days! What the crap, people… this is just stupid. Plain stupidity wrapped in a protective layer of authority to give it meaning. COMPLETE AND UTTER RANDOM CRAP.

  19. They should so not make the Midnighters over 20!!! That would completely sqause the whole plot and would ruin it! That sounds stupid to have adults live in the 25th hour and be trying find their purpose!? I mean someone who hasn’t read the books sees the show info and goes: ‘Oh, um adults who roam around at midnight with giant shape shifting creaters after them. Oh, they have special powers, well, uh um, yah, i’ll uh… look into that…’. If i saw that no way would i watch it, but i would deffinately read the books. Because anyway if they made them adults then young people wouldn’t want to watch it as much, and adults aren’t either??? WHATS UP WITH THAT???

  20. This post is so clever. Your wit makes me smile. I agree with you on all points, but Underworld is still freakin’ cool. Kate Beckinsale is the best kick-butt vampire out there…and Underworld, at its core is a love story. And that’s fresh spin on the whole Romeo & Juliet thing.

  21. Speaking of Shakespeare, ((I know this is pretty off topic but the Romeo and Juliet reference reminded me of it)) Is it just me or is The Last Days Kind of Midsummer Nights Dream? Zahler like Pearl, Pearl likes Moz, Moz like Minerva, Minerva likes Moz.

  22. yea they are VERY good books, judy… and they are deff worth saving ur money up for… or ask for them for easter or something!
    ~Alexa

  23. READ MIDNIGHTERS READ MIDNIGHTERS READ MIDNIGHTERS!

    Sorry, but whenever I have the chance I have to try to get someone to READ MIDNIGHTERS. They’re that cool. The absolute best. So read the series. That’s what libraries are for.

  24. We will write more blogs in time. But remember, he is only one person, and he is the man who has written all of these fantastic books for us. So chill out and give the man time to write!!!

  25. I know everyone has said this about a billion times, but I will say it again. Making the Midnighters in their 20’s will. not. work. Curse whoever wants to change their ages! -grumbles and kicks a wall- I say we find the address of whomever wants to do this and peacefully protest outside their office until they change their minds about making the Midnighters twenty plus.

  26. oh scott.
    you put so much effort into your blogs.
    i applaud you.

    now onto the real matter: THEY CANT BE IN THEIR 20’S.
    they just can’t.
    is that cool with those producers? “Scott Westerfeld’s fans have said NO WAY.”

    good luck!

  27. Psh, this will be a fun rant…I haven’t bee on in forever…but anyways…holy crap, holy crap, holy crap…if anything, the MINDNIGHTER actors should be younger, not older! I’m a freakin’ 12 year old, so I guess I could say that everybody my age would make fun of the show if they used 20 year olds. Seriously, isn’t that a bit, if not a lot, extreme? I already stay up ’til midnight even on weekdays, but my parets flip at that, and my dad won’t let me have a bf til i’m AT LEAST 17. So really, to stay on topic, even though I still am, you should tell whoever the person is, the director of WB or whatever, to go to, ahem, a very nasty place. Melissa would have died because of to much thoughts, unable to make it through hs, especially not college, Rex wouldn’t be picked on, so really, the first part of the book is already gone. Then there’s the problem of Jess’s little sister, who would be in her late teens…I think…going out wouldn’t be a problem, and isn’t everybody older than 18 or something allowed to stay out past curfew? It’d be like Caitlin said. What, would everyone end up having a darkling kitty pet? Maybe a nice wittle fishy for all the wittle kids to. I also agree with Sarah, and mistranslated nonelectrical ornimentationis right…wow, long post…more writing than I should have done…oh wells…ooh! My sister and I used to play friends. When we were *cough* 5 *cough*

    But technically, it’d be like the Eragon movie, which sucked. Everything was wrong in that; the time periods, order in what everything happened, eye colour, hair colour, ages, meetings, on and on…which’ll be what the Midnighters show will be like if you use 20 yeard olds as actors…ok, I know I forgot something…thinking…thinking…loading…oh! Midnighter T.V. show would be even more a laughing stock than Eragon to! And only adults would watch it, most likely not kids like me who loved the book…no matter how sad it was…but anyways, let me make sure I didn’t forget anything else…the tv series or whatever would be dissed by every 10-12 year old in the world if it was messed up!!! Ok, that’s all…my rant over…for now…

  28. Alissa- ur crazy!

    Ali- I love that movie! ‘Where’s the monkey? I want to shoot something!’

    And I remembered another thing that I forgot! Ok, so if the midnighters show was based on kids in college, or older peoples, only adults would watch it. I would stop watching it after about two minutes, then complain to my friends for a month before they told me to shut up about it…or they would agree with me…they never are the same twice…but back to the topic, to tell the truth, since I already mentioned I was 12, I bet even the ranges of 9-19 would diss it…my opinion, but probably true…so sad how they ruined Eragon…probably be worse for midnighters…such a great, great trilogy gone done the sewer drain…

  29. Man, I forgot a lot of things…I don’t remember exactly how old everyone is in the book, but it might actually help, in my opinion, if you lowered the ages…but that may be because I’d love to be in it if the ages were the same or lowered, but again, 12 year old…

  30. FUN! Now I’ll go see if i ca get a seizure…except then one of my older friends would say: You’re young, stay pure. But whatever, lte’s see if 12 is young enough! w00t!

  31. Haddy-la, so, so smart…actually, if someone read the book, then saw the series, they would probably say WTF…I would, at least…and then probably: “Man, the ppl in this show should go to *a nasty place in the sky*.” ‘Cause I would, and so would all my friends if I made them read the bok, then watch the show…but anyway, if they were in college, it would suck *a very bad thing*. I sometimes stay up until midnight, much to my parents displeasure, so even late teens (18, 19) would be pushing the curfew…man, my city better get cop cars out if they really hink that everyone 13 and under is inside by 9:30 P.M. Psh, I’m sometimes outside shooting peoples windows with airsoft guns with friends at 10:30. Then there’s the age and gender isue thing. Everything would be “sexy this” or “sexy that”. Sorry, jus my opinion, but anyways…best get off now that it’s 10:30 P.M.

  32. Dude, I haven’t even heard of buffy, angel, supernaturalist, and all those other things…sad if they were meant for young adults…

  33. Hey, cool.. Someone else with the name Shelby. Anyway, I agree that making the midnighters older would be totally bogus. The plot would be completely different, the characters would never match the pictures in our minds, and the whole concept of handling a magical hour and an impertinent landlord at the same time would seem lame. I can see that they probably had a hole in their ratings for that age group, but I don’t see how this show could be successful unless they stuck to Scott’s orginal ideas. Since the Friends reference, all I can think of is Joey walking into the apartment, grabbing Chandler by the hand and flying them out of the window.

  34. Oh, and Shelby-wa, younger wouldnt be any better.. I’m fifteen, and I can guarantee that seeing little kids make out on top of a big metal horse would not only be creepy, but it would also be depressing since the only admirers I have are in the marching band..

  35. Lovely post; yes, I agree with most of the points.

    *deep breath* Midnighters as a TV series would ROCK (must be exciting to see it considered!) but…yeah, the twenty thing doesn’t quite make the cut for practically all of us teen fans.

    Someone should make a petition. XDD

  36. Sweet, Scott. I see where you’re coming from all throughout the rant.

    Lovely point you made. It’s sort of like decorating a pizza. Sooner or later, adding anchovies, pepperoni, sausage (Even though I can’t have those last two, considering I’m allergic to pork…), extra cheese, M&M’s, garlic, peanut butter, and pineapple, is just NOT appetizing. So you’re all the way back to having a pizza you don’t want to eat.

    Anyways–Midnighters on TV? I’d record that. Heck, I’d probably end up taking my TV with me everywhere I went in fear of missing an episode.

    But…twenty-year olds? Okay, that’s kind of…lame-making. And it ruins the whole highschool perspective that they all eminate. What else would they possibly be doing in Bixby?

    Oh, I could see it now: College. Because eeeveryone knows that going to Bixby College beats highschool any day, right? Not.

    Jobs? Puh-lease. I’m somehow not picturing that a place like Bixby has any good jobs available for Dess or Melissa.

    Hopefully they’ll change that idea of theirs. Twenty-year old Midnighters just kind of ruins the midnight-magic.

  37. ok noone should be older than 18 in the midnighters because the hole point of everything will be messed up.

    i mean really twenty six year old running around midnight would not make anysense in general. they would deffinately do nothing but studdy. But who will listen to me really brad whats his face wont he will only listen to u scott so please make a tv show but dont let them ruin it by being twenty 6 or twenty or whatever it was please i love ur books just dont let them ruin it for me please please please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. I vote for no midnighters show. I have when my favorite books are ruined. how about a 4th book instead? pretty please????

  39. I think It’ll SUCK If they make midnighters a tv show when they’re 20 or 26. I mean,what about the curfew and the party,the tv show would SUCK SO BAD. I think they should keep the ages of 15 and 16,or I will KILL Brad Kerns!!

  40. UGH! I really hate it when perfectly wonderfully books are changed into movies in which the characters and plots are twisted and changed. You would think that the script writers or producers or someone would realize that it will not bring them more money! But with Blood and Chocolate, Ella Enchanted, Eragon, ect. ect. ect. I guess their not getting the message. I will die if they mess up Midnighters… actually I’d die more if they messed up Uglies/Pretties/Specials, but if they make Jessica/Dess/Melissa/Rex/Jonathan in their 20s, I will not watch the show.

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