garrick lee (
Mon, 31 Jan 2000 04:18:55 -0800 (PST)

bozhe moi! all this just takes me back to my english
classes! :]

so, z (and the gundam gurus), don't hold back -- how
do you think "erosion" and/or "hardening of the
arteries" manifest themselves in the newer gundams?

by "newer" gundams, i'd probably include 0083, 0080
and 8th MS Team, along with the 3 alternate universes.
 (is that a fair classification?)

also, which gundam series, to you, represented a good
flexing of the arteries (sticking to the wording, heh)
while still remaining true to the "format"?


--- -Z- <Z@Gundam.Com> wrote:
> At 07:38 1/30/2000 +0800, you wrote:
> >To Z - your format and formula example is
> something I'd use from hereon in.
> >Really enlightening...
> Allow me to give credit where credit is due. I was
> introduced to the
> difference between format and formula over 25 years
> ago in a book called
> THE WORLD OF STAR TREK by David Gerrold (1973,
> Ballantine Books, SBN
> 345-23403-0-150). To be precise, it was in Part IV:
> Star Trek Analyzed --
> The Unfulfilled Potential. Gerrold explains the
> difference between format
> and formula on page 233 and goes on to explain how
> format gives way to
> formula in what amounts to a condemnation of the
> entire screenwriting
> community. From page 235:
> "Formula occurs when format starts to repeat itself.
> Formula occurs when
> format does not challenge writers -- or when writers
> are giving less than
> their best. Formula occurs when a show becomes
> creatively
> bankrupt. Flashy devices can conceal the lack for
> awhile, but ultimately
> the lack of any real meat in the story will leave
> the viewers hungry and
> unsatisfied.
> "Formula occurs primarily when a show has been
> trapped in a format that
> does not allow full exploration of the given
> situation. Thus, the
> producers and writers are condemned to repeat only
> that which the format
> does allow. And action-adventure is nowhere near as
> broad as drama.
> There are two ways by which Format turns into
> Formula.
> One is Hardening of the Arteries, the other is
> Erosion.
> Considering the first process of decay as it applies
> to a television
> series, every time something is postulated or
> established in a continuing
> series, from that episode on, every writer who works
> with the format must
> be aware of the condition. ... Thus, hardening of
> the arteries is the
> process by which a television show gradually limits
> itself by setting up
> conditions that will affect all episodes that will
> come after."
> From page 244:
> "Erosion in a TV series is the wearing down of the
> original concept, the
> destruction of it piece by piece as various elements
> chip and crack it
> away: carelessness in production, lack of pride in
> what one is doing,
> network restrictions, writer apathy, front-office
> feuds, and so on."
> Gerrold goes on to state that the presence of
> minorities in positions of
> authority and responsibility were both (for the
> time) revolutionary and a
> key element of the original format, but that the use
> of minority actors
> declined as the series went on until, by the end of
> the second season, Sulu
> and Uhura were the only recurring minority faces and
> casting was back to
> the usual whitebread that had been and continued to
> be the rule for 60s TV.
> While my example of format versus formula was
> original, I think now that I
> chose STAR TREK as the example not because it was so
> well known, but
> because it was the subject of my first exposure to
> the concepts of format
> and formula.
> -Z-
> -
> Gundam Mailing List Archives are available at
Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

Gundam Mailing List Archives are available at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Mon Jan 31 2000 - 21:21:34 JST