Starting Monday, we've got a meeting a day all week. It feels like development season is cranking up. The studios seem to have just realized that holy CRAP, Labor Day's coming up! MUST BUY PROJECTS! I didn't think it was possible, but this year's even more fucked up than last year. Networks haven't bought a lot yet but the stories about pitching are pretty much the same across the board. Nobody wants to commit to anything. I think part of that is because of the mess that the fall season has become. More shows are in trouble at more networks than ever before. The networks and studios don't have any faith in the product they're putting on in the fall. They can't even pretend they do, because we've all heard the rumors. And you know what? Big effing surprise. The shows they bought are pilots, not TeeVee shows. They constantly order shows that don't have engines. There's a lot of firing of showrunners and actors going on. Too much. The main reason television works -- a vision -- is being excised from the process. So new showrunners are stumbling around in the dark, being forced to start from scratch with a show they didn't conceive.
Think about the best shows you've seen. They can all be traced to a singular vision, can't they? All I see with the fall season is TeeVee by committee, which has never worked. The show I'm enjoying the most right now is Mad Men and boy, does that have a singular vision. It's also got a complex, not always likeable lead character. This isn't something you get with a committee. Every episode of this show is a dark little gem. In episode three, we got to see the three different generations and how they saw each other. A WWII vet, a Korean war vet, and somebody who didn't serve. They don't understand each other at all, which is relayed in a brilliant piece of dialogue delivered by the underrated John Slattery. And last week, we learned more about Don's past. The last scene with his brother was one of the most complex, dark scenes I've seen on American TeeVee in a long-ass time. Once again, I'm going to mention Keith Maillard's book "Gloria." If you're liking Mad Men (AND YOU SHOULD BE), read it.
I have now seen four episodes of Jekyll. I don't want to watch the last two because then there won't be any left! Each episode, I say "They'd never let us do this on American TeeVee." I mean, there's no way, especially episode four. NO. WAY. While I love the desperate duality of Tom Jackman, the character who's truly staggering is Claire. I mean, SERIOUSLY. She fucking kicks
ASS. This is NOT the character you expect.
Both Mad Men and Jekyll are driven by singular visions. Mad Men gives me some hope for American TeeVee, although it doesn't mean you can do a period show. You can't. Nobody wants them. They don't test well in Malaysia.
I put up a bunch of links! One blog post that really got to me is Ken Levine's, about Treva Silverman. If you have any interest in TeeVee history, go read.
And here's an awesome YouTube clip. Pete Doherty in line for "Be Here Now." Which was released TEN YEARS AGO. TEN. JESUS. Anyway, Pete's about four in this clip. He looks wonderfully healthy and he's not nsurprisingly, witty.
I'm trying to make the posts shorter but more frequent. Let's see if that works!
np - Richard Hawley, "Lady's Bridge." I have also heard the new Stereophonics. It's pretty good! A bit of a throwback for them, which I appreciate after not liking the last few.