Greetings, gentle readers! I think Comments was messed up. It should be fixed now. I did get an interesting follow-up on my Ducky post: Check out The Whimpster. It's hilarious, but oh so true; an entirely new (ish) breed of guy. And I apologize to Lloyd Dobler for the omission. He definitely qualifies. I love Peter Gabriel as much as the next person, but if some dude -- no matter how Cusackish -- showed up on my lawn in the middle of the night, I'd be calling the Stalker Squad.
In TeeVee news, most of the pilot pickups have been made. This is Phase Two of the TeeVee pilot season. Those writers fortunate enough to have their pilots picked up now have to find a director (if they don't already have one attached), cast their pilot, find a crew, and basically get a mini-corporation off the ground. As they're doing this, agents will be flooding them with sample scripts to read. I don't know what it's like to be in the middle of making your pilot; I imagine it's euphoric, but it's probably just as stressful as any other stage of television. Although as one of those writers who will be submitted to these new shows, I can't imagine anything more stressful than THAT! Meetings probably won't happen until April, but all TeeVee writers will begin reading pilots, looking for shows they want to meet on, figuring out if they've got the perfect writing sample to send and/or writing that perfect writing sample. My writing partner and I will have two new pilot samples but we're thinking of adding a third. Just to see if we can.
In the past few years, having a sample that reflects the show you're being submitted to has become more and more important. I'm not exactly sure why; I don't think it's impossible to read a sample and deduce whether or not the person can write. Maybe it has something to do with the feature writers who are jumping into TeeVee; I don't really know. But that makes it more stressful for us writers. If you don't have EXACTLY THE RIGHT SAMPLE, you won't get the meeting. So a lot of writers will be going into panic mode to make sure they're covering all their bases.
The next few months are gonna suck.
I did want to talk about the pilots a little bit. I've only read two so far, but I liked both of them. I'm not sure I want to post any specifics but when I've read everything, maybe I'll just talk about a few of my favorites. Overall, it's the usual suspects -- cops, lawyers (a LOT of lawyers), soapy medical stuff, genre pilots, and (oddly) high-powered New York women.
I'm always interested to see what the networks have picked up. I'm not a programming exec, but I think that as a writer, you need to try and understand what the networks are thinking. ABC generally makes a lot of sense to me. I see their pilot pickups and understand why they made those choices. ABC tends to pick up pilots with mainstream premises, but the execution is usually a little off-center... which is a good thing. Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, even shows like The Nine, which didn't work... they all sound like ABC shows. And just going off the loglines this year, ABC's basically doing the same thing again. They're looking for companion pieces for their tentpole shows, hoping to launch new series with the help of their hits.
CBS is another network that knows its audience -- I mean, it's not too hard to figure that if you find something in CSI-land, you're doing okay. A number of years ago, Morrgan & Wong did a CBS pilot called "Skip Tracers" that didn't get on. This year, CBS has a pilot from another writing team called "Skip Tracer." Hmm. But every year, CBS decides they're going to try genre again. While their genre pilots sound very interesting, I wouldn't want to have a genre pilot at CBS. They haven't supported these shows in the past.
NBC is sorta all over the place again this year. The network doesn't really have a brand anymore and it feels like they're still searching for something to click. They have a few that sound interesting and one that sounds exactly like "Quantum Leap." Fox also seems to be searching, because their hits are all over the place. I mean, how do you develop a companion piece for "Prison Break" or "24?" But they do have several that sound interesting -- "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Them" (based on the graphic novel)... so we'll see. As for the CW, I'm not sure what they're going to be doing. I thought they might develop an entire new schedule but it doesn't look like they're doing that, so expect some of this year's schedule to reappear.
All in all, I'm reserving judgment on the pilots until I read them. I hope they'll all be great.
And lastly for today, most people have at least heard of Barbaro, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby last year and broke down in the Preakness. Barbaro was sadly euthanized on Monday after eight months of hope and despair. Most of the press coverage has been lovely. But some of it has not. I don't understand why people who don't know a damned thing about horse racing feel that they're suddenly qualified to take shots at it. Just because you can have an instant opinion on the internet doesn't make you a valid critic. There's a big difference between an informed opinion, and an uninformed one. You are not ENTITLED to your opinion -- you're entitled to your INFORMED opinion. I wish people would figure that out. What really galls me, though, is when a purported professional -- a sports columnist -- doesn't get it. I understand that, as a sports columnist, a dude can't know the intricacies of every sport. And that's fine -- then don't talk about the sports you don't get. But conversely, SHUT THE HELL UP IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. Your press credentials don't make your opinion valid.
I'm talking specifically about TJ Simers, the boneheaded rant specialist for the Los Angeles Times. As everyone in L.A. knows, this guy's no better than an internet troll. He's the court jester, there for our amusement. But Simers believes his own bullshit and thinks that WE'RE there for HIS amusement. Not so, asshat. Not only does Simers prove he knows nothing about racing, he also shows his misogynistic streak when he talks about women. So I e-mailed this jackhole... and I was a LOT nicer than I'm being here. His response? "Hey, and I just got a raise." Gee, Teej... I'm sure your bosses would LOVE to hear how you respond to e-mails. I've had nicer conversations with ACTUAL internet trolls. Want a horse racing discussion, Teej? I would go toe to toe with this idiot any day of the friggin' week.
I know he's been getting outraged e-mails because yesterday, he posted supportive e-mails he'd received. Hmm. Now WHY would he feel the need to do that? If you loathe this moron or think he was out of line, drop him an e-mail so he can tell you about his raise, too: email@example.com. If, like me, you'd love to let his bosses know what you think of him: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Dude was totally out of line, on SO many levels. Maybe that's his genius, but I don't think so. I hope no self-respecting woman married him, and I pray he doesn't have daughters. What a PROUD way to make a living!
Okay, rant over.