Here are some super-cuts that I put together from four TV shows, and a movie, depicting epic contests between two rivals.
Carnivale – Light vs Dark
The series traces the disparate storylines of a young carnival worker named Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin Crowe, a preacher in California. The overarching story is built around a good and evil theme, which serves as a human-scaled metaphor within a complex structure of myth and allegory. Samson, the carnival’s manager, sets up the show’s mythology with a prologue in the pilot episode, talking of “a creature of light and a creature of darkness” being born “to each generation” preparing for a final battle.
This was a tremendous show and served as some inspiration for Irresistible Immovable. But for the record, my concept for this project predated the series.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes – Reinhard von Lohengramm vs Yang Wen-li
Reinhard von Lohengramm was an Imperial military and political leader who rose to prominence during the Alliance–Imperial War. A genius in war and politics, he rose to the highest ranks of the Imperial Fleet at a young age and eventually usurped the power of the traditional nobility during the Imperial Civil War. Upon becoming the de facto dictator of the Empire, he instituted numerous political, legal, economic, and social reforms, creating a new state, which was described by Yang Wen-li as having been “Not by the people, but for the people.” He died at the age of 25, after having become arguably the most influential leader in human history and having unified humanity under the rule of one government. Reinhard’s enduring wish was to see his New Galactic Empire ruled not by blood but by merit, even if it meant the end of his dynasty.
Yang Wen-li was an officer in the Free Planets Star Fleet. Known as one of the greatest admirals in human history, and at the very least equal to the brilliance of his Imperial counterpart Reinhard von Lohengramm. Despite his genius, Yang Wen-li was a relatively simple man harboring no great ambitions. A firm believer in democracy, he followed his ideals without wavering throughout his entire life. Yang Wen-li became, against his own wishes, a symbol of democratic ideals and republican government. Never defeated in battle, he managed to take Iserlohn Fortress twice and was considered the founding father of the Iserlohn Republic. He managed to prevent autocracy from entirely dominating humanity.
Billions – Axe vs Chuck
Robert “Bobby” Axelrod, an ambitious billionaire manager of the hedge fund Axe Capital, who came from humble beginnings. He is extremely charitable and generous in public, but uses insider trading and bribery to grow his firm’s enormous wealth. He has animal-like instincts that make him extremely successful in his trading career.
Charles “Chuck” Rhoades, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who later attempts a run for governor of New York and is elected Attorney General of New York. Rhoades is ruthless and has a particular distaste for wealthy criminals who try to buy their way out of justice.
Killing Eve – Eve vs Villanelle
Eve Polastri, an agent with MI5 who becomes obsessed with a notorious assassin and is recruited on an off-the-books basis to the foreign intelligence agency MI6.
Villanelle (Oksana Astankova), a psychopathic, skilled assassin who becomes obsessed with the MI6 officer who is tracking her.
The Prestige – Robert Angier vs Alfred Borden
The Prestige is the greatest rivalry movie I have ever seen. The entire film is so good, with so many interconnections between these two rival magicians, that it almost felt wrong to try to condense it. But I gave it a shot anyway.