I wonder when the entertainment industry honchos will fly their corporate jets to Washington and ask for a bailout. The sooner the better, please! I want to see Senators yelling at them.
Michael posted a great Tim Goodman article on Mad Men. Specifically, Goodman had this to say:
It's easy enough to go into your little safe bubble on "good" series - everything is as you expect it, there's a natural, familiar flow to the quality and you go to bed feeling superior, your artistic side nurtured and your safe expectations safely met. But great shows take chances. They shake things up.
And usually, there's one great show at a time, because it's that hard to successfully fight for your vision. What's interesting about this article is the assumption that there are enough good series that writers and actors and crews are satisfied artistically. That, unfortunately, is as much the exception as the great shows. As time has gone by, more and more shows have become nightmares, both creatively and just in general. I know fewer and fewer writers who are happy where they are. I may know only a few. Everyone else is fucking miserable. And even if someone's thoroughly deliriously happy, more often than not (there are exceptions), they all want to be running their own show. Sure, you can be happy on staff. But that's not the end game. Really and truly fulfilling your vision is, and that can only be done with your own show.
The sad thing is that when people DO get that chance, they don't all seem to succeed. Why that is has been mentioned many times on this blog. But at this point, what does playing nice get you? Not much. A reputation as someone who's good to work with, but not necessarily a reputation as someone who is strong enough to be a showrunner. It's a rough move, from staff writer/producer to showrunner. And not everyone makes it.
Because I have to drive for four hours tomorrow, let's do comments!
Ben wants to know if I read French. Alas, I do not! But good luck with the blog.
Cheers to THIS blog! Have a question for you. My writing partner and I have a script which HBO is very interested in developing (it is genre! Cheers again). We are without representation but not without a few big name actors and producers who are already on board. They're looking to attach show runners and have informed us we'll retain EP status and our creative voice will not be stifled. We want to play by the rules, want to keep the tone and voice of our universe but don't want to over-step and come across as assholes (we aren't). Any advice?
It's very natural that they partner you with a showrunner. This is someone who will have experience, and it will definitely be helpful as you go through the process. The best advice I can give is, choose the person you want. Don't let them strong-arm you. Meet with a lot of showrunners. You're looking for deference creatively, but someone who will also be a strong ally. It's YOUR show -- don't let the showrunner run over you in that regard. You will have to capitulate on some things but don't think, for a moment, that giving in on everything just to appear easy to work with will get your show on the air. It won't. Also, maintain a strong relationship with your executives! Don't let the showrunner tell you that he and he alone will deal with them. Don't EVER allow yourself to be cut out of the process. That is a BIG warning sign! Trust your instincts about who to work with. And good luck!!!
I also find it interesting that in their TeeVee promo ads, Fox has been using a quote attributed to Time Magazine, but which actually originated from an independent TeeVee blogger whose quote perhaps Time picked up. In it he invokes the XF name, touting Fringe as "The X-Files for the new millennium," which actually sounds like an intentional play on words, if you think about it.
I think that's an interesting statement, although I don't think it's necessarily true. Fringe is nostalgia TeeVee, IMO. It's familiar. It's got some upgrades, but it's not the deconstruction it's made out to be. That said, I still sorta enjoy it, although the episode with the prodigy was kind of a "how not to write an episode of TeeVee" joint. The characters ran around for an hour but at the end, nothing they did affected the story at all. If you removed them from the episode, the story would have played out exactly the same. And WTF happened at the end, anyway? No idea.
Oh and great horsey post. The adjustments to synthetic turfs is definitely going to be a game changer. Like when artificial turf was first introduced in the NFL, will this shorten the career of a horse not used to such surfaces?
It's the opposite, actually. The synthetic surfaces were introduced to make racing surfaces safer for horses. Turf horses have shown an affinity for it, which is bothersome to a lot of people. But as everyone always says, a good horse should be able to run on any surface!
You said once that music was the "soundtrack of our life" and I was wondering which song best brings you back to those Victory moments.
Good question! Virtually any U2 song, and The Waterboys' "This Is the Sea." That's what springs to mind.
Regarding Life On Mars -- did you see the BBC original? The US remake is very poor in comparison, although I like Jason O'Mara and Gretchen Mol is an improvement on her UK counterpart. But, sorry, Harvey Keitel's a great actor and a fine movie star, but he's an *awful* Gene Hunt. There's no chemistry with Sam, no likeability, nothing. He's just a dour, crabby, over-the-hill thug. Maybe LOM:USA is better if you have NO knowledge of the superior British original, though.
I haven't seen the original yet, but I'm going to watch it at some point. Still enjoying the remake!
Bobo, you're welcome!! Would it freak you out to know that I'm tempering my rants? Heh.
I'm not watching Life. I saw the pilot, but the show just didn't click with me. Nothing bad to say about it, though. I think I've had my fill of quirky characters, although I'm gonna watch that Tim Roth show because it's Rim Roth. On TeeVee. In a procedural, yes, but on TeeVee!!!
Actually, CBS probably sorta wishes they'd kept Close to Home, which was replaced in its timeslot (to lower ratings) by Moonlight, which was in turn replaced (to even lower ratings) by The Ex-List.
It's TeeVee physics! It happens all the time. Happened with Millennium, too, where every show they put in that slot lost viewers.
And for a goofy action show, I'd prefer Chuck over Knight Rider.
I stopped watching Chuck, just because I don't have the time. I did like it. I like the cast, and I like the throwback premise. The thing that started to bug me about it, though, was that it felt like it was an effort of the part of the writers to incorporate Chuck into the spy elements of the show. Just felt a little forced. My guess is they've figured that out some, as people seem to be really liking the show this season.
I considered MOWE as a guilty pleasure, but now I feel guilty for liking it. Curse you and your logic!
My work here is done.
I've been thinking, and Millennium holds up much better than The X-Files, the further we get away from the both of them.
I think X-Files was the right show for the time. It fit like a glove. Millennium, though, was a little ahead of its time. I still don't think there's been another show that's done that kind of esoteric stuff. JJ Abrams tries, but I feel like his shows are less focused than maybe they should be. I like his desire to throw all kinds of shit in there, but I think the shit needs to be better contained. Which sounds a lot more disgusting than I meant it to sound.
You want more 80s action back on tv... two words for y'all... MOTHAFUCKIN RIPTIDE !! That's the stuff. They should use the German title though... TRIO WITH FOUR FISTS... it's got kind ofa kinky kung-fu nuance to it.
WORD. I love Riptide!! I know the first two seasons are out, but the second one's only available in Canada. Here's hoping the whole series comes out. It's a super fun show! And, erm, who does the fourth fist belong to???
There will be more shit later, but turkey or whatever must be eaten.
Happy Thanksgiving, for those of you who celebrate it, and sorry to those of you who used to hunt on this land.
np -- Countdown, which I am still cracking out on even though the election's over. I'm trying not to think about being without MSNBC and Daily Kos while I'm away.