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Brainstorming (daydreaming) about an Exalted TV series

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  • Brainstorming (daydreaming) about an Exalted TV series

    I'm imagining a five-season limited series:

    Season 1
    World-building, literally and figuratively. The genesis of Creation, and the reign of the Primordials. The gods and mortals suffer under the Primordials' yoke, growing increasingly discontented as the gods search for a workaround to their hard-coded loyalty; the conspiracy among the gods is the season's major arc. Late in the season (the last two or three episodes) detail the creation of the first Exalts.

    Season 2
    The Primordial War. Exalts doing ridiculously badass things. Emphasize the horror and alienness of the Primordials. Autochthon's mistreatment by and rebellion against his siblings. The season ends with the final victory, the conversion of the surviving Primordials into the Yozis.

    Season 3
    Time skip to near the end of the First Age. The growing madness of the Solars as they succumb to the Great Curse, and the Sidereals' consternation. The season's arc focuses on Chejop Kejak coming around to the idea of doing away with the Solars, in order to preserve Creation. The season ends with the Usurpation: Kejak and the other Bronze-Faction Sidereals lead the Dragon-Blooded against their Solar masters. Some of the Solars fight like the valiant heroes they once were, others like the vicious lunatics they've become, but all are ultimately overwhelmed and slain. Those who tried to run or hide are hunted down and murdered with ruthless dispatch. The Lunars flee to the edges of Creation.

    Season 4
    A generational epic centered on the history of the Realm, interwoven with the Lunars' Thousand Streams River project. The founding of the Immaculate Faith, the Siderals as the powers behind the Shogunate and eventually the Realm, as the Lunars try to build a mortal society that doesn't rely on the power of the Exalted and stage the occasional terror attack against the Dragon-Blooded. Late in the season, we see the events leading to the breaking of the Jade Prison. The season ends with Lytek's (was it Lytek?) letter to Chejop Kejak, informing him that the Solars are returning to Creation.

    Season 5
    A new generation of Solars do the hero thing, while Kejak and his Bronze Faction struggle desperately to suppress them and the Gold Faction finds renewed purpose in aiding them. The first Abyssal and Infernal Exalts appear, causing confusion, consternation, and carnage. The pawns of the Yozis and Deathlords rampage across Creation; show the fall of Thorns in horrific detail. The Solars find allies among the Lunars and Gold-Faction Sidereals, uniting against the Abyssals and Infernals. The cost is steep, but the Solars slowly push the unholy Exalts back out of the world. The season (and series) ends on a hopeful note: maybe this time it doesn't have to end badly?

  • #2
    ...not how I'd write it. Makes ancient conflicts too central. You want to start in the Time of Tumult and have ancient history be just that-ancient history. We want our introductory viewpoint characters to not know about most of the deep lore of the setting, so our viewers get to learn along with the main characters. Elders and powerful villains have really strong feelings about stuff that happened centuries ago, and really strong opinions about our heroes based on their past lives!

    Stuff like the Primordial War, the Contagion, the Usurpation, etc, should get revealed to the audience via flashbacks and dream sequences. If a character gets knocked out or has a nightmare, we can do brief vignettes of the past that leave them asking for more.

    When, three seasons in, a hated villain (Deathlord, Kejak, etc) gets his own episode, THEN we do the big backstory to make his motivations clear and a bit sympathetic in light of what a dick the main characters' previous incarnations were!

    Of course, I don't know that we actually need an Exalted TV show. I mean...we have Thunderbolt Fantasy.


    So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

    The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
    -Roger Zelazny

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    • #3
      I agree that you're trying to be too expansive for a TV series.

      My advice would be to start with the first few episodes focused around a solar immediately prior to their exaltation, give us a bit of a chance to see what they are as a human before bringing forth the Glorious Solar Bullshit.

      Then have the exaltation kick in so the first season can be about dealing with their new place in the world and their developing powers, that last bit needs to be handled carefully because a lot of fiction tends to make it look like solars are great at everything out of the gate, and while they are powerful exalted they don't automatically get uber-magical powers in everything without developing the ability in question for a bit. This is the place to introduce one or more guides, an ancient and/or knowledgable spirit/sorceror, a Sidereal, maybe a Lunar (possibly the lunar mate of the solar exaltation).

      The season finale involves the Solar shifting focus to a specific goal beyond immediate concerns, and that goal becomes the main story of the second season. This is where the first major supernatural villain should get most of their development, having them hinted at or even having a few scenes in the first season would be good but a certain air of mystery and distance should probably be maintained and removed slowly.

      The Primordial war, the Fall, and the Contagion would make better movies.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
        ...not how I'd write it.
        This so, so much.

        To put it like this: You're suggesting an Exalted series where the average Exalted player would have to wait until the final season until seeing anything even remotely close to what he thinks Exalted is all about. And even worse, a viewer without any knowledge of Exalted would have to watch the backstory of a world he knows and cares absolutely nothing about for four seasons. Yeah, not gonna happen.

        Any Exalted series would have to start with your outline of season 5, because, well, that's what Exalted is, reborn Solars in the Age of Sorrows with the Realm in disarray. If that series takes off and survives a couple seasons, then you might imagine a spin-off going deeper into the history of Creation.

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        • #5
          If it came to an exalted piece of media, I've always imagined a show/film based around the final days of the Usurpation. Would follow characters key to the events. I'd always imagined Leviathan as the central character but it'd also focus on Lytek and Chejop Kejak.

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          • #6
            I think the question you want to be asking yourself when writing a TV series is, "what would be interesting to someone who has no background knowledge of the subject?" Front loading the story with a lot of lore (4 whole seasons!?) is not a good way to go, not unless your goal is present this series as some kind of fantasy-historical documentary.

            Instead, I'd be interested in an epic featuring the exploits of the particular solar circle, possibly the current generation of Signature characters. We don't need to know much of anything about the history - maybe just an Avatar-style summary of how things stand in Creation at the moment, with more detail given as needed throughout the lifespan of the show. The main focus will be on the main characters of the show, and their struggles with and against each other.


            On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by A Not Quite Simple Soul View Post
              My advice would be to start with the first few episodes focused around a solar immediately prior to their exaltation, give us a bit of a chance to see what they are as a human before bringing forth the Glorious Solar Bullshit.
              Again, I think that's not a viable idea tbh. You have one episode to get a viewer hooked. One. If at the end of episode 1, a viewer thinks "Meh, not sure yet" in the majority of cases he will not go on "Hey, let's watch a few more maybe it gets better!" (that only happens if he wants to like the show, if it got some of his favorite actors or whatever) instead he will think "Hey, here's this other shiny new show maybe that's better! And honestly my Netflix queue is already bursting not sure I need another show to watch"

              So at the end of episode 1, you need to tell him "THIS is what this show is." and you want to hook him on that. If the main character starts out as a mortal, he absolutely has to Exalt by the end of episode 1, there's simply no way around that.

              Look at the first season of Heroes (back when it was still the greatest thing on tv), they didn't spend a whole season to tell us about the pre-powered life of the characters, and for good reason.

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              • #8
                For a TV show, I'd pull a Heroes Season one and have the five characters separated all over creation. Maybe give one character an Exaltation scene and have the rest Exalt before coming on screen. The First Season will be devoted to setting up the Solars and Villains and bringing the Circle together. End the Season on "This mortal sidekick been a Sidereal the whole time!" teaser.

                Second Season will be where these strong Solars personalities learn to work together. Wyld Hunt will be chasing the newly formed circle. Among the Wyld Hunt will be a DB character who is starting to doubt their immaculate doctrine because their Solar Sibling/love interest doesn't seem to be possessed by a Sun Demon. End the Season on the Solars winning over the Wyld Hunt Legion.

                Third Season will take you to the edge of Creation and to deal with the Exiled Lunars. Bring in a new Infernal/Abyssal Villain to replace the Wyld Hunt.

                For a movie, I'd toss the Ensemble cast out the window and devote each movie to a Particular Character. Build the Cinematic universe like Marvel did with the Avengers.


                Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                  For a TV show, I'd pull a Heroes Season one and have the five characters separated all over creation. Maybe give one character an Exaltation scene and have the rest Exalt before coming on screen. The First Season will be devoted to setting up the Solars and Villains and bringing the Circle together. End the Season on "This mortal sidekick been a Sidereal the whole time!" teaser.

                  Second Season will be where these strong Solars personalities learn to work together. Wyld Hunt will be chasing the newly formed circle. Among the Wyld Hunt will be a DB character who is starting to doubt their immaculate doctrine because their Solar Sibling/love interest doesn't seem to be possessed by a Sun Demon. End the Season on the Solars winning over the Wyld Hunt Legion.

                  Third Season will take you to the edge of Creation and to deal with the Exiled Lunars. Bring in a new Infernal/Abyssal Villain to replace the Wyld Hunt.
                  I like your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

                  Honestly, if I were making an Exalted series, I'd make it an animated series rather than live-action. You could do a lot more without having to worry as much about the cost of special effects.



                  "The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground." -G.K. Chesterton

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blackwingedheaven View Post
                    Honestly, if I were making an Exalted series, I'd make it an animated series rather than live-action. You could do a lot more without having to worry as much about the cost of special effects.
                    I agree on the Animated Series for better fight scenes and special effects, but a live action show is my pipe dream just for the costuming alone.


                    Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                    The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by blackwingedheaven View Post
                      Honestly, if I were making an Exalted series, I'd make it an animated series rather than live-action. You could do a lot more without having to worry as much about the cost of special effects.
                      Not to mention liability.

                      Anyway, I'd probably pitch one of three Exalted shows:

                      1) A gritty, pulp-styled adventuring serial in Threshold. The principle cast would be entirely heroic mortals, with the occasional low level supernatural antagonist/supporting character. Because people are picky and pedantic as hell, this would probably need a different title and an "inspired by" tagline instead of being called Exalted.

                      2) A Game of Thrones-y Realm political themed show. The idea of having Her Redness voiced by, say, Grey DeLise (or Jennifer Hale, or Lena Headey, or if I really want to mess with people, Tara Strong) tempts me greatly about when to set it.

                      3) A Sidereal monster/problem of the week show. This would naturally be the more episodic of the options, though I see it a lot like Justice League or Teen Titans: a mostly lighthearted show with moments of tragic relief and a slow-cooking myth arc. This on tempts me because I would really like to see Gwendoline Christie voice Iron Siaka.


                      Have you ever read a Coik post before, man? lol
                      -Holden

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Delta View Post

                        Again, I think that's not a viable idea tbh. You have one episode to get a viewer hooked. One. If at the end of episode 1, a viewer thinks "Meh, not sure yet" in the majority of cases he will not go on "Hey, let's watch a few more maybe it gets better!" (that only happens if he wants to like the show, if it got some of his favorite actors or whatever) instead he will think "Hey, here's this other shiny new show maybe that's better! And honestly my Netflix queue is already bursting not sure I need another show to watch"

                        So at the end of episode 1, you need to tell him "THIS is what this show is." and you want to hook him on that. If the main character starts out as a mortal, he absolutely has to Exalt by the end of episode 1, there's simply no way around that.

                        Look at the first season of Heroes (back when it was still the greatest thing on tv), they didn't spend a whole season to tell us about the pre-powered life of the characters, and for good reason.
                        I could see moving the exaltation up to the middle of the first ep, but I think it'd be important to get at least a snapshot of the before exaltation character. Exaltation is a big change, and without some image of the mortal prior to it'd be hard to appreciate that.

                        Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                        For a TV show, I'd pull a Heroes Season one and have the five characters separated all over creation. Maybe give one character an Exaltation scene and have the rest Exalt before coming on screen. The First Season will be devoted to setting up the Solars and Villains and bringing the Circle together. End the Season on "This mortal sidekick been a Sidereal the whole time!" teaser.

                        Second Season will be where these strong Solars personalities learn to work together. Wyld Hunt will be chasing the newly formed circle. Among the Wyld Hunt will be a DB character who is starting to doubt their immaculate doctrine because their Solar Sibling/love interest doesn't seem to be possessed by a Sun Demon. End the Season on the Solars winning over the Wyld Hunt Legion.
                        Having 4-5 separate exalts scattered over creation would be horrible for a series. With a singular focus we can introduce world elements more slowly, Heroes had an earth analogue to work with so those places and people had context. Not so with Creation. The scope needs to be narrowed a bit to introduce the setting, not to mention the fact that exalted power sets are far more complex than your usual super hero type power sets so it'll take time to communicate what an exalted is. Much better to focus on a small sub-section.

                        The temptation to have a solar circle is strong but should be resisted. The circle is an artifact of the RPG origin, for a series move back to the concept of a classical hero saga that focuses on the story of a specific character. You can and should give the supporting cast some love, but trying to weave the ambitions and goals of 5 solars is hard enough to make interesting for 5 players at the table.
                        Last edited by A Not Quite Simple Soul; 04-12-2017, 01:24 PM.

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                        • #13
                          A Rough Cold Opening

                          Two figures, a brother and sister, trek across a glacier plain. The older brother, the more practical of the two, suggests they turn back. They just have enough food to make it back to Diamond Home if the start now. The younger sister disagrees. They can eat half rations. The brother points out that half rations and hiking near the pole of air is dangerous. The sister says they are close. She knows it. It's just like her dream. The brother stops short. "Dream? You said you found this location in a tome!" They argue with the sister yelling at the brother to turn back if he wants, but she is going to keep going. They separate. The brother fumes for a bit and curses. He won't leave his little sister alone. He turns back just in time to see his sister fall though the ice. He races towards the hole and calls down. She yells up she is okay. And she found what they have been looking for. Zoom in on dark first age panel.

                          A group of Realm legionaries are tracking the two siblings. They are lead by a short woman with violet eyes. They find the sibling's camping spot. A man in green armor declares they are a day behind the two Seven Legion deserters. They are Wyld Hunt.

                          The sister is giddy. She goes on and on about the First Age Airship. The brother asks how they will get the ship out of the ice. The sister says she'll figure something out. The brother brings up food again. He suggests they leave and come back with more supplies. The sister says when she leaves its going to be on an air ship. She tells her brother. "This is an amazing find! Lookshy would have no choice but to take us back. With this artifact, we can go home. " The two siblings share a moment of homesickness. The brother offers to go seal hunting for food.

                          Brother runs into Wyld Hunt while seal hunting. They talk. The brother was a Seven Legion Intelligence officer until he deserted. The brother wonders how the Realm is so familiar with his Seventh Legion classified file. The violet eye woman comments that the Seventh Legion and the Realm may be at war, but both know the Anathema to be a common enemy. The woman tries to convince the brother that the woman he is traveling with is no longer his sister. Surely he has noticed changes in his sister's behavior. (Info dump on Immaculate order's views of Solars) The brother says he has noticed changes, but frankly he never bought into that Immaculate bullshit. He throws a knife at the woman and throws himself into the freezing water. He ignites his Water Aspect Anima and races away on top of the water. He speaks on the wind. "Wyld Hunt. Grab the supplies and run!"

                          The sister is elbow deep into airship. Grease smeared on her cheek. She gets the panel to light up. The sister smiles, golden light reflects on her face. She looks up when she gets her brother's message. She smiles. "I'm not running. I'm going to fly!" She hurries around the ice encases airship, starting up the engine.

                          The brother leads the Wyld Hunt away from his sister. Yet he is only one Dragonblooded and they are six. *Awesome teamwork Dragonblooded Action here* They surround him. When they are just about to kill him, the shadow of the airship falls upon them. The sister speaks from the deck of airship, asking them nicely to release her brother or she will vaporize them. Essence Cannon swivels towards the group.

                          "That will kill your brother." Says the violet eyed woman.

                          "You were already going to kill him. This is a quicker death than by blade."

                          The violet eyed woman smiles. "I don't believe you are ruthless enough to pull the trigger on your own flesh and blood." The brother's eyes narrow as the violet woman's words. He uses the distraction to take out the Dragonblooded behind him. "Rope!" He yells on the wind. A rope drops from the airship. He grabs on and climbs. The rope pulls up.

                          A Realm Dragonblooded leaps onto the rope. The brother kicks him off. When he is about into the ship. The violet eyed woman grabs the rope. She swings herself up on to the deck. She lands in front of the sister. *Awesome Twilight Solar/ Chosen of Endings Sidereal battle here.* The sister throws the Sidereal off to the side. She and her brother look down, but the Sidereal isn't in the snow. The Dragonblooded of the Wyld Hunt fire arrows at the air ship. The siblings escape to the sky.

                          The Dragonblooded brother complains this wasn't part of the plan. The Solar sister comments she made the plan better. The brother asks why didn't she shoot the Realm Dragonblooded when she had the chance. She reveals the essence cannons were depleted when she freed the ship from the ice.

                          "Wait, so you were bluffing?!"

                          ((Yeah, the twilight fixed the air ship way too fast, but hey, this is TV right? And the next time you see the Lookshy Siblings, the airship will be falling from the sky. ))


                          Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                          The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by A Not Quite Simple Soul View Post

                            Having 4-5 separate exalts scattered over creation would be horrible for a series. With a singular focus we can introduce world elements more slowly, Heroes had an earth analogue to work with so those places and people had context. Not so with Creation. The scope needs to be narrowed a bit to introduce the setting, not to mention the fact that exalted power sets are far more complex than your usual super hero type power sets so it'll take time to communicate what an exalted is. Much better to focus on a small sub-section.

                            The temptation to have a solar circle is strong but should be resisted. The circle is an artifact of the RPG origin, for a series move back to the concept of a classical hero saga that focuses on the story of a specific character. You can and should give the supporting cast some love, but trying to weave the ambitions and goals of 5 solars is hard enough to make interesting for 5 players at the table.
                            I'd probably focus a bit on the Realm and two directions of creation (East and North in my preference).

                            For a Movie, I'd focus on one character. For a TV series, you have a lot more room. You can use Game of Thrones as an example of juggling multiple character storylines.


                            Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                            The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                            • #15
                              The sample opening sounds fun I'm worried that you're overloading the audience though. A bit too much en media res for my thinking though. See one of the advantages that Heroes and GoT had was a more familiar context. Heroes was modern reality, and while GoT is based in a fantasy world it's a fantasy world based on largely familiar concepts and cultures for western audiences. Creation is a bit more alien.

                              My instinct is to borrow more from Farscape, yes there's a massive universe out there, but the story is told from a relatively narrow perspective based around a specific character.
                              Last edited by A Not Quite Simple Soul; 04-12-2017, 01:42 PM.

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