Workshop Wednesday

After a long commercial break, we're back with the next part of "Pilot Heroes", the first episode of The Follower. This section promises plenty more action with a few good fight sequences. We also delve deeper into Follower's origin story, getting to know about the character that we'll be following (pun intended) for the next few episodes.

Remember to catch up on the previous part of The Follower in the Works of Mike FinkelsteinWhat's that, you want to read various creative works from Asteroid G Lead Editor Mike Finkelstein? Well, if that's what you want... archive before reading this section.

The Follower: Episode 1, Part 2

"Pilot Heroes" Continued

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FADE IN

We see the three heroes as they walk down the street. FOLLOWER has taken the lead, while APATHY and OBVIOUS hang back. OBVIOUS has his book out again, looking for all intents completely lost in the written word, and yet still somehow manages to navigate the rather decrepit sidewalk without stumbling once.

APATHY:

I think we should go catch a flick. I'm in the mood for some senseless violence.

OBVIOUS responds without looking up from the book.

OBVIOUS:

There's the new Vin Diesel. That should prove brainless enough.

APATHY gives OBVIOUS a bit of side-eye before deciding there was no malicious sarcasm in the comment.

APATHY:

Naw, he's not my speed. Give me an actor that can actually deliver lines.

FOLLOWER:

I happen to like his movies. Triple X was fun and action packed and he played the part he was cast in very well.

APATHY:

Oh no way. The man has less depth than a cardboard cutout. He'll never be as good an action star as Arnold or Stallone at their prime. Hell, Keanu on his worst day plays a better character.

OBVIOUS:

Point Break a good example.

APATHY:

Oh, don't even get me started on that movie...

INT: NIGHTCLUB, BACK OFFICE, NIGHT.

We see the henchmen all clustered in the office. ENEMY saunters into the room. She sits delicately on the edge of the BOSS's desk, angled so we get a clear shot of her profile from our perspective behind the BOSS's shoulder.

BOSS:

I'd like you all to meet the ENEMY. I think you'll all agree she has some good thoughts to add, and we all know we could use some help.

ENEMY:

You men are most certainly not under-skilled labor, just inexperienced and poorly directed. We need to move beyond these attempts at smalltime felony and work instead on a much more grandiose plan. Why spend your time on bank robberies? Banks have security. Security leads to police, and police lead to the inevitable conclusion of arrest.

HENCHMAN 1:

What we spos' ta do den?

ENEMY:

Precisely the opposite of what you have been doing: something that leads not to the police but to the big score you've been waiting for.

BOSS:

I have agreed with all that the ENEMY and I discussed prior to this meeting. We need to work with our skills... and as we lack those, surprise would be the best asset we have to work with.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

The heroes are still debating movies.

APATHY:

Honestly, though, what was up with Starship Troopers? I can't believe Hollywood would spend the millions of dollars that were spent on that waste of celluloid.

OBVIOUS:

It was a satire making light of the propaganda films from the era of World War II, down to the newsreel clips and actors chosen to look pretty.

APATHY:

Whatever. It was still dumb.

APATHY stops walking and looks around. The other heroes continue down the street.

APATHY:

How much more of this do we have to do?

FOLLOWER stops and turns around.

FOLLOWER:

Patrolling?

APATHY:

Yeah.

FOLLOWER:

We've only been patrolling for an hour. We haven't even seen one crime.

APATHY:

We never see any crimes, and when we do, the police are already solving them. The only one of us that doesn't seem to notice is you. You hold on to this ideal world where we fight crime every night and make the world a better place and when another night goes by without the world having been righted, all you do is say, “tomorrow night will prove more fruitful."

FOLLOWER:

I realize that there has been a dry spell of activity for the last few days-

APATHY:

Four months.

FOLLOWER:

Beg your pardon?

APATHY:

Four months. We haven't fought any crime since I joined up with you, and that was four months ago.

FOLLOWER:

And you see! We're making a difference! Why, four months without any crime the police couldn't handle. Evil hides from us!

OBVIOUS:

Very effectively, it would seem.

APATHY:

Right, or there just isn't any evil to speak of.

FOLLOWER:

There is always evil, and it's our job to fight it when it shows itself.

APATHY:

FOLLOWER, you're my friend. More than that, you pay the rent so I don't have to. So you know, when I say this, I mean it with all due courtesy: You're delusional. You've never fought crime, just fooled yourself into thinking that a great evil was out there and that you'd have an evil nemesis to fight.

FOLLOWER:

(very quietly) I've fought crime...

APATHY:

When?

FOLLOWER:

Before we formed our team...

EXT: THE CITY, ETIQUETTE'S HOUSE, DAY, PAST.

FOLLOWER changes before our eyes into someone that looks a little younger. He's wearing a different outfit, one befitting a pizza boy (which, to be fair, he modified only slightly for his hero uniform). He walks up to a house, pizza in hand, and rings the doorbell.

FOLLOWER (V.O.):

A year before I met up with you, Apathy, I met another superhero. He set me on the path of justice.

FOLLOWER stands at the door, waiting for a reply Eventually, the door opens, and we see a middle aged man, dressed like a stereotypical, stuffy English teacher, down to the tweed sport coat -- ETIQUETTE MAN.

ETIQUETTE:

Ah, good evening. What is the amount that's due?

FOLLOWER:

Thirteen fifty.

ETIQUETTE:

One moment.

ETIQUETTE grabs out his wallet at the same time FOLLOWER hands him the pizza. At this moment a black car shoots by outside the house, followed by three cop cars. We watch the four cars whiz by then they screech around a corner and we hear a crash. This is followed by the sounds of gunshots.

ETIQUETTE:

Evil is afoot!

ETIQUETTE runs off, leaving FOLLOWER alone. FOLLOWER shouts after him.

FOLLOWER:

Enjoy your pizza!

He then looks around and down at his hands.

FOLLOWER:

Wait... he didn't pay!

FOLLOWER runs after ETIQUETTE, who is by now reaching the corner the cars shot around.

EXT: THE CITY, SIDE STREET, DAY, PAST.

ETIQUETTE runs around the corner into our view. The camera rotates around as he runs down the street, and we see the crash we had heard prior. The car had hit a parked car and careened into a telephone pole on the other side. None of the goons in the vehicle had been hurt, sadly, as they were all armed and currently hiding behind their car, shooting at the police, who were hiding behind their own vehicles. ETIQUETTE runs down to the police, ducking down and hiding there with them.

ETIQUETTE:

Officers, may I be of assistance?

COPPER 1:

ETIQUETTE MAN! Thank god you're here. Think you can help end this stalemate?

ETIQUETTE:

For the good of this city, it would be an honor. Can you lend me cover?

The policemen nod and ETIQUETTE uses the ground fire from the police to dodge over to the sidewalk opposite the bad guys.

By now, FOLLOWER has come around the corner. He watches as ETIQUETTE uses the parked cars for camouflage, working his way down the road. We see FOLLOWER watch all this, then a serious look comes over his face and he nods.

As we watch, FOLLOWER runs down the sidewalk opposite ETIQUETTE. He does a similar dodge and cover maneuver, working his way down to the goons. The police continue to lay cover fire, and ETIQUETTE soon reaches a point as close to the goons as he can get without revealing himself.

From behind ETIQUETTE, we watch goons shoot a volley of fire at the police. ETIQUETTE jumps out from behind his cover and runs at the goons. Caught off guard, two goons are swiftly knocked unconscious by the mighty fists of ETIQUETTE. GOON 3 has been able to get some footing at this point and throws a fist towards ETIQUETTE, who easily dodges it. The two get into a scuffle. We see GOON 4 reloading, then aiming at ETIQUETTE. GOON 3 is felled by a mighty punch which gives GOON 4 a clear shot

FOLLOWER:

HEY!

GOON 4 turns instead of firing. A black object, FOLLOWER's pizza bag, flies into flies into the shot, filling the frame and it smacks GOON 4 right in the head.

FOLLOWER walks over to ETIQUETTE, and the superhero extends his hands for a handshake.

ETIQUETTE:

Thank you, good citizen. If not for your quick thinking this might have been my last stand against evil.

FOLLOWER:

Uh... no problem... But, you forgot to pay, and-

ETIQUETTE:

Oh, I am so sorry. What poor manners.

ETIQUETTE reaches into his pocket for his wallet to settle the bill. By this time the police have moves over and are working at packing up the goons. The pizza is paid for, and everything seems right in the world.

EXT: THE CITY, ETIQUETTE'S HOUSE, DAY, PAST.

ETIQUETTE:

I must thank you again for the assist. I realize now that it was a very lucky you followed me.

FOLLOWER:

I was just doing what I thought was right-

ETIQUETTE:

Well, not everyone would have done the same... In fact, it occurs to me that few people in your position would have come to my aid. Have you ever considered assisting a superhero before?

FOLLOWER pauses, a little dumbfounded.

FOLLOWER:

I never have met one. I guess if I did, I might...

ETIQUETTE sticks out his hand.

ETIQUETTE:

Well, allow me to formally introduce myself. ETIQUETTE MAN, protector of this city.

The two shake hands.

FOLLOWER:

I'm Rob. Are you really a hero? I thought they were... well... supposed to look different.

ETIQUETTE:

I was formally trained at Harvard, studied abroad at OXFORD. All Rhodes Heroes dress in this manner.

FOLLOWER:

You were trained to be a hero?

ETIQUETTE:

In a manner of speaking. I studied the law, among various topics.

FOLLOWER:

Oh... well-

ETIQUETTE:

And you really must consider the opportunity presented here. To help a hero in the protecting of a city is something many men dream of.

FOLLOWER:

I dunno... I'd always said I was gonna become a writer... or maybe go into stereo repair.

ETIQUETTE:

But, my boy, you could aspire for a much loftier status: Sidekick.

FOLLOWER:

I... guess...

ETIQUETTE:

Good, now. We really must do something about your costume. You look like a pizza boy.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

We're back with the heroes on the street in the present day.

OBVIOUS:

So you were a sidekick?

FOLLOWER:

Not just any sidekick, but a trusted one. It was a very special honor.

APATHY:

So you helped stop a gunfight-

FOLLOWER:

Oh, we did more than that. We single handedly took down the Juggler gang.

EXT: ROOFTOP, RAINING, NIGHT, PAST.

We see a group of people, dressed like a biker gang, but with makeup similar to clowns. Many of them are actively juggling various weapons. One guys has three chain saws and an apple going, and every time the apple goes past he grabs it and takes a bite before continuing the juggle.

Lightning strikes, and we see FOLLOWER outlined by the light. The light fades back to darkened sky, and FOLLOWER looks very much like Batman, his trench coat flowing out for that cape-like impression. He leaps at the gang, much like Batman would, lands nearby them, slips, tries to catch himself, and falls.

We see ETIQUETTE come into frame, shaking his head. He helps FOLLOWER up, and the two run at the gang much like Batman and Robin would have in the old 60's series.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FOLLOWER:

Oh, we also fought the Electromen.

OBVIOUS:

Lords of electricity.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah, how'd you know?

EXT: ROOFTOP, RAINING, NIGHT, PAST.

We see a group of people dressed in really stupid looking yellow and neon-blue costumes. Lightning bolts are featured prominently on their outfits. Follower and Etiquette burst forth and strike very heroic poses.

FOLLOWER:

Electromen, your days are numbered.

The Electromen laugh as a group. Their leader, ELECTRON JACK, is cast appropriate villain shadows. He raises his hand menacingly. FOLLOWER starts to move forward, but ETIQUETTE grabs his shoulder.

ETIQUETTE:

Wait a moment, my friend. In fact, let's just get up off this roof...

The heroes turn away from the Electromen as ELECTRON JACK emerges from the shadows.

ELECTRO JADCK:

Electro SHOCK!

He slams his electro-fist to the ground. There's a surge of blue energy, a flash of light, and then the entire gang is shocked into submission due to the rain.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FOLLOWER:

That was one of the easier cases.

OBVIOUS:

A rather drastic limitation to their powers.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah... But they weren't all that easy. By far, the worst villain we ever faced was C. H. BANKS THE THIRD.

APATHY:

Look, whatever. Could have been the Penguin, Lex Luthor, and Doc Ock. There's no evil out there now and...

APATHY pauses and thinks about what FOLLOWER just said.

APATHY:

C. H. Banks?

FOLLOWER:

Oh yes, the worst by far.

APATHY:

He sounds like an investment banker.

OBVIOUS:

I have heard of him. He was recently implicated in a drug running ring.

FOLLOWER:

About six months back, yes. He had his hands in a good portion of the crime here.

OBVIOUS:

Like the Kingpin?

FOLLOWER:

Is he a villain you fought?

APATHY gives him a blank look.

APATHY:

So you fought a criminal mastermind?

FOLLOWER:

As a sidekick, yes. I wasn't deep in the fray, but I had a hand.

EXT: ROOFTOP, RAINING, NIGHT, PAST.

ETIQUETTE and FOLLOWER stand on a rooftop opposite fifteen goons who are armed with chains, pipes, and knives.

ETIQUETTE:

Chum, this may the hardest fight we've had yet.

Most of the goons go for ETIQUETTE as he's the hero. A few go for FOLLOWER, and the fight ensues. As FOLLOWER takes on about five, doing his best to dodge the blows of the goons, he fights back. He lacks a certain style you'd expect to see from a hero, relying more on blind luck than skill. Luckily, like any good batch of henchmen, they aren't very good at their jobs, and have less skill than FOLLOWER.

ETIQUETTE has a better time of it, using a more polished fighting style. It's a style you'd expect some aristocrat, accustomed to having brandy in the study promptly at five every evening, to use. The goons before him stand no serious chance, even with their numbers.

We hear clapping when FOLLOWER and ETIQUETTE finish the last of the goons off. We see BANKS standing at the edge of a rooftop, the rain pouring down, the moon behind him, and a bolt of lightning lighting the sky. Of course, the villain here looks more like an investment banker.

ETIQUETTE:

BANKS! You've seen your last crime spree.

BANKS:

(laughing) Oh, far from it, old chap. I'm not defeated as easily as my henchmen.

ETIQUETTE:

Your operation is shut down. The police are coming to put you away for a long time.

BANKS:

Don't count on it. You and I both know how good my lawyers are.

FOLLOWER:

Lawyers won't help you tonight.

SFX: Helicopter engine, getting louder.

BANKS:

Indeed.

ETIQUETTE and FOLLOWER move forward as the helicopter comes into view, lowering itself towards the building. A rope ladder is thrown down. BANKS pulls a gun and motions menacingly. He has to shout to be heard over the chopper.

BANKS:

We shall meet again, friends. You can count on it.

BANKS climbs up the ladder as the helicopter pulls away.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

OBVIOUS:

Yeah, I remember the court case. A bunch of city officials went down on that one, but BANKS was still found innocent.

FOLLOWER nods.

FOLLOWER:

ETIQUETTE was the main witness. He helped to shut down the whole operation. BANKS left the city... Although I'm not certain for where.

APATHY:

And everyone else you've fought is in Sunny Oaks Asylum, where they'll be for a long time. So what's left for us to fight, then?

INT: NIGHTCLUB, BACK OFFICE, NIGHT.

All the evil people are still clustered in the office.

BOSS:

Having given some serious thought to the matter, our next course of action will be a kidnapping.

BRUISE:

Kidnapping? Aint that kinda high profile, BOSS?

ENEMY:

It can be, but kidnappings are perfect for those in our profession that aren't endowed with a high level of abilities. All that really is needed for a job of this caliber would be a couple of you strong gentlemen, a large vehicle, and some careful planning sessions.

BOSS:

I agree with ENEMY. What we need to do is study our target. Find out where she will be, what sort of a schedule she will run, what her security is like.

ENEMY:

Every person, no matter how carefully managed their resources are, will have a weakness in their planning. No person can plan for all contingencies. All we have to do is find the weakness and exploit it.

BOSS:

Oh yes! Hahaha...

FADE TO BLACK.

COMMERCIAL BREAK.

End Episode 1, Part 2:

There are elements of this episode I really like. I feel like the flashbacks really nail the tone of the series I want to make, a goofy retro style with a little bit of The Tick sprinkled in. That said, the sections with the heroes in the present day don't work as well. This episode might work better in the mid-season, instead of as the pilot, after we've already established the present day heroes better.

Ah well, something to think about if this project every happens down the road.