I’ve been losing patience with a lot of TV shows of late. I’m all for suspended disbelief, after all, I’m a writer of fantasy, it’s my stock and trade. But sometimes, things are just so far-fetched it just ruins the moment. One example, Leverage.
I don’t watch it regularly, and I don’t expect much from it, but the last episode I saw really pushed the limits. There were five or more bad guys with semi-automatic weapons and they had one good guy pinned down. Standard fare. The BG’s had orders to kill the GG, so they’re spraying bullets at him.
Dramatic Pause. GG takes a deep breath, comes out from his hiding place, and everyone STOPS shooting.
This implausible moment continues on as the GG steps to the center of the floor, proceeds to cross his arms to cock the guns against each other, and give the cold-eyed, steady stare of the “I’m not afraid to die” BG turned GG. Still, no one shoots him!
There’s a large amount of liquid on the floor from a container struck by stray bullets. Here we roll right into the implausible finale. GG starts running. BG’s start spraying more bullets but, obviously, are the world’s worse shots because it’s not like they’re professional killers or anything. GG drops to his knees and slides across the floor on the liquid all in luscious slow motion. He extends his arms and Bam! nails a BG with one shot. Bam! There goes another. Bam! He’s dropping them with sniper-like precision yet not one bullet so much as grazes him.
He gets to his feet but there’s one BG left and he’s standing right behind the GG, gun aimed. Of course he waits until the GG turns to face him and they exchange a few words. The conversation must have lulled the BG into a semi-comatose state because (remember, his weapon is aimed directly at the GG) the GG manages to raise his weapon and shoot the BG before the BG can pull the trigger.
Come on, please, writers. Yeah, I’ll admit, there’s a cool factor in play for a while. The GG used to be a BG and he’s got crazy mad skills, plus he’s not bad to look at, but . . . seriously?!!?
I won’t even get started on Revolution. Yet that one I keep watching, I think because I secretly have a crush on Miles. It’s extremely flawed but somehow addictive. (I know, and wildly popular, so please don’t send me hate mail.)
I try not to let things like the above example happen in my writing. Even characters with special skills aren’t going to get off that easy. I guarantee, you won’t find BGs with such atrocious aim in my stories. At least, I hope you won’t. I admire characters with skills, but untouchable characters don’t have much to lose, and if they don’t have much to lose then I’m not going to care overly much about them. Neither, for that matter, are my readers. And one of the things I want is for my readers to care deeply about my characters.