I should caveat my title by saying, though, that I don’t think I could watch more than a few episodes of it. Maybe the one-season, short run nature of it is actually perfect. Because all that singing would get old, real fast.
But I enjoyed it for what it was. As I said in class, I think that the quirkiness of the show and its characters made the idea of them bursting into song palatable. From the beginning, Blackpool set itself up as something surreal, in a way, and so the narrative universe it created seemed to mesh well with an Elvis-wannabe singing “Viva Las Vegas.”
In the first episode, though, I found myself being carried along more by the novelty of the show’s premise and less by the narrative. I wonder, then, how many episodes I could stomach before it turned into something much more like Viva Laughlin. Blackpool was fun, but I’m not sure I actually feel so because of the show’s plot of characters.
However, I should add that I do want to know who killed the blonde guy, and I think I’ll end up giving the rest of the series a try – six episodes isn’t that big of a commitment.
I’m fairly certain Blackpool would never work in America (did it really even work in England?), even amongst a spate of other musical series that we have today. Blackpool is fun, but it isn’t joyous, and the musical numbers make even less sense than when people start singing outside of the Marilyn musical on Smash. What I don’t get, though, is why the folks at CBS thought the changes they were making for Viva Laughlin would make it better for an American audience.
Yeah, Blackpool might not work in America, but Viva Laughlin takes all the fun out of the show and leaves, what? A show where even Hugh Jackman looks awkward singing. Blackpool is fun because it knows what it is and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still tries to do something interesting with its storytelling tools. Viva Laughlin, for the few minutes we watched, was just painful. And the lead actor wasn’t even compelling. At least David Morrissey wins you over a little, as does David Tennant.
Blackpool is weird, but it is quirky and unique and, I thought, enjoyable. And its bizarre premise seemed like it served a certain storytelling purpose – the songs were fitting and actually contributed something to the narrative. But that doesn’t seem like a format that should be just adapted on a whim. The singing should serve a purpose, and it seems like in Viva Laughlin, it was just trying to make something out of a cool concept, not the other way around.