Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bromance with bullets -- and negative responses

Lethal Weapon -- a bromance?

FOX Broadcasting recently barraged Twitter users with paid Tweets to promote its TV re-boot of the 1980s “Lethal Weapon” films. You’ll need to be a superb Twitter surfer to avoid them.

PR practitioners run a risk in carpet-bombing social media audiences with overhyped promotions. They can alienate as many potential viewers as they attract.

Actor Danny Glover, not in the new Lethal Weapon TV series,
Photo credit: Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
In fact, FOX got dusted by Twitter users, many of whom weren’t old enough to see the 1987-1998 Danny Glover-Mel Gibson buddy pictures. The TV studio – largely bankrupt of original ideas since “Glee” – positioned the new series as a bromance. That word didn’t exist in run of the original films, which leaned heavily on gunplay, banter, and exploding toilets.

Is bromance anything more than a piece of forced marketing-speak? (Not counting the short-lived MTV reality series of 2008-09.)

No matter. Twitter users pushed back on FOX’s onslaught of Lethal Weapon photos and promoted (paid) tweets. A sampling:

  • They're making a #LethalWeapon tv show? WHY? Leave my childhood alone,it was very happy being left in the past...you know,where it belongs!
  • Thank God for @jk_rowling or Hollywood would never have an original idea. Did we really need a #LethalWeapon tv show?
  • @LethalWeaponFOX @FOXTV this is a really bad idea. I give it 5 episodes before the plug gets pulled and that's being generous. #shittyreboot

Networks invite criticism when adapting a theatrical film for TV. CBS nearly canceled M*A*S*H early on until producers altered a few characters (making Radar more naïve and Hawkeye more compassionate). Producer Garry Marshall brought “The Odd Couple” to TV from the movies and Broadway over objections of playwright Neil Simon, who ended up loving the TV series.

FoxTV may have waited too long to resurrect “Lethal Weapon.” Eighteen years later, a younger Riggs and Murtagh may struggle to find an audience that’s seen countless gunfights and car crashes.

Do TV viewers need another bromance-and-bullets series? With over 7 million views, the cast of the defunct TV series "Scrubs" had a better appreciated approach to non-sexual male friendships. Without firearms.