This one came to me while I was watching an episode of Burn Notice (please hold your applause until the end of the post), where Michael, Fiona, Sam and Jesse have realized they have a piece of unspeakably important information in their hands. And maybe a decade ago, I would have found their dilemma compelling.
But today? In a few minutes, they could post it to Tumblr, Posterous, WordPress, 4chan and – just for the hell of it – Plenty of Fish, with plenty of time left over for Michael and Fiona to agonize over their relationship, for Sam and Fiona to explore their rivalry for Michael’s attention (I suspect they each had emotionally distant parents), and for Michael and Jesse to finally acknowledge the sexual tension between them.
It’s possible I’m overreaching. That may have to be a two-parter.
My point is this: time was when a screenwriter’s greatest enemies were the studio system, writer’s block and, well, other screenwriters. But now writers working in the action/adventure/suspense/blowing-stuff-up genre also have to contrive ways to deprive a character of connectivity.
So to the action movie clichés of which wire to cut and cars slamming into fruit carts, you can soon add batteries running low, cell phone jammers, and “Why did I choose AT&T?”