Five Alternative Premises for “The Bridge”

11 Jul

Who wouldn't want this as their title screen?

The Bridge, which debuted on FX last night, is about a Mexican detective and an American detective working together to solve the mystery behind a pair of bodies left on the border between El Paso and Juarez.  It’s not a bad premise, and my review of the pilot will be out in this space tomorrow.  However, upon hearing the show’s title, a couple of far superior premises sprang to mind.  Here’s five of them:

1.  The Brooklyn Bridge is New York’s most famous bridge.  Here’s the amazing story behind the people who built what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world upon its completion in 1883.  Starting with the untimely death of original architect John Augustus Roebling, the show follows his son, Washington Roebling, who had to do his work from afar after he came down with depression sickness, and Washington’s remarkable wife, Emily Warren Roebling who learned about bridge building on the fly as she acted as a crucial link between the sick Washington and engineers on the site.

2.  The Bridge is a period drama centered around the group of German expressionist artists known as Die Brücke (“The Bridge” in German), including  Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel,Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Emil Nolde who came together in Dresden in the early 1900s.  The group of artists dreamed of taking on the current establishment by reviving older artistic traditions, publishing in a statement, “We call all young people together, and as young people, who carry the future in us, we want to wrest freedom for our actions and our lives from the older, comfortably established forces.”  Follow the movement at their studio, where the charismatic and ultra-talented artists flouted social conventions at the same time they were flouting artistic ones.

3.  The Bridge is the in-depth story of some of the megasupporters of Chelsea football, centered on the characters’ time together in the Matthew Harding Stand of Chelsea’s home stadium, Stamford Bridge.  The show focuses on lives of a small cadre of otherwise relatively mild-mannered supporters as they eagerly look to make it through the week to spend their time cheering all out for their beloved Blues and bonding with one another after every Chelsea goal.   The Bridge tells the story of how their obsession with Chelsea both brings their lives completely together for the better while sometimes almost causing them to fall apart.

4.  New York’s Queensbridge is the largest public housing works in North America, with almost 7,000 people residing there.  The Bridge revolves around a few residents of these projects, detailing the constant everyday struggles and little victories, the families making it work everyday in the light of the drug trade, and the young people hoping to get out, some using music as their gateway.  Queensbridge’s most famous ex-resident Nas narrates.

5.  The Bridge begins with a handful of characters making their way in the go-go lifestyle of the late ’80s on Long Island, and is prominently soundtracked by Billy Joel tunes from the album of the same name.  In each episode, we see, in addition, stories about the same characters at different points in time set to contemporaneous Joel music.  The segmented time periods allow for complex storytelling, with each time featuring its own stories, which are cleverly interrelated over the course of a season with the stories from the other eras.  The Billy Joel soundtrack provides a musical connection that both links together the different time periods, while making clear the specific times in which each story is taking place.

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