Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Name Games

This arrived from NBC in today's e-mail:
NBC's new 2005 fall drama series "Fathom" has been renamed "Surface." From NBC Universal Television Studio, "Surface" will debut on the NBC network on Mondays from 8 to 9 PM EST this September.

Created and executive produced by Josh and Jonas Pate ("Dragnet"), "Surface" is an expansive drama and undersea adventure that centers on the appearance of mysterious sea creatures in the deep ocean - and tracks the lives of four characters.
(end NBC excerpt)
I watched the pilot of ''Fathom''/''Surface'' yesterday, and the name change isn't going to make me like it any more than I did when it was called ''Fathom.'' Which wasn't much, by the way.
But in pursuit of audiences, show titles can be changed between the making of the show and its premiere as a series. A new CBS drama called ''Close to Home'' was called ''American Crime'' as a pilot. Occasionally shows even modify their titles after they have begun airing; ''Ellen'' started out as ''These Friends of Mine,'' for example, and ''Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place'' shortened to ''Two Guys and a Girl'' when the pizza place was dropped from the show.
(The pizza place sued for wrongful termination, which damaged its career so much that it ended up just doing guest shots on ''The Sopranos.'')
(I'm kidding...)
But those carefully chosen titles still may not tell you much about a series. What, for example, does ''Arrested Development'' mean to someone who has not watched the show? ''Fathom'' at least indicated a connection to the sea; what would ''Surface'' suggest to an uninitiated viewer?

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