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Wrecked and the freedom of independent TV

By on Nov 3, 2012 in In Production | 2 comments

When my friend Liz Ellis asked me to spread the word about her new web series, Wrecked, I said I would be happy to. Not only because Liz is a fellow Hampshire College alum, and not just because she so-kindly donated her time as a college student to participate in a reading of my script, and not just because she’s a frequent reader and commenter of this here blog, but because she’s a writerly friend… and I will always support friends of mine, especially when they are fellow writers. I thought I would watch the episodes, find nice things to say, and write a few words on the subject. But I was unprepared for the awesomeness that is Wrecked. And now I feel I must kill Liz Ellis because she’s dangerously talented as a writer, a director, and — along with co-exec Charley Pope — a producer. Her actors are talented. Her editor, Nathianiel Buechler, is talented. Her...

Cancellations, Renewals, and Resurrections

By on May 22, 2012 in In Production | 0 comments

Along with all the hoopla about the broadcast networks’ new shows, upfront season is also the day of reckoning for their existing lineups.  And this month’s renewal and cancellation news has been nothing if not surprising.  Here are my thoughts. The vultures were already circling when Cougar Town returned to ABC in February to even worse ratings than before, but then—huzzah!—TBS announced that it would be rescuing the show.  First Conan, now Cougar?  Dammit, TBS, I could kiss you all over the face right now. And speaking of criminally-underappreciated comedies, FOX’s Raising Hope and NBC’s Community were granted renewals.  And I’m not worried at all that Community is moving to Friday nights—its small, diehard fanbase will move right along with it. Though I only saw one episode of Once Upon a Time once upon a time, I’m so pleased that a non-procedural...

How “Grey’s” Can Get Its Groove Back

By on Dec 23, 2011 in In Production | 0 comments

My other blogging gig is covering Grey’s Anatomy for Wetpaint Entertainment, and I wanted to share the following article here on Primetimely since it’s one of which I’m particularly proud. (You can see it in its original Wetpaint context here.) The preamble is true: I do love Grey’s—but I do see its faults and its wear and tears of age, and I have some humble suggestions. We love Grey’s Anatomy, and not just because doing so is our job here at Wetpaint Entertainment. But we’re still critical of it — and while this season and the last were better than, say, seasons 5 and 6, we’re a long ways away from the Grey’s glory days. So we took it upon ourselves to make the show great again… or to at least offer the writers some friendly suggestions. Here are five prescriptions for the writers to administer once an episode until the...

The Whore in the House of Prayer

By on Aug 29, 2009 in In Production | 0 comments

Per usual, all five of the Emmy nominees for Main Title Design are stellar achievements—and nice counterpoints to the the title card some shows display in lieu of an actual sequence. But the most captivating of these year’s contenders is the one Digital Kitchen designed for HBO’s True Blood. Pulsating, lascivious, and kinetic, the sequence is a whirlwind tour of the South—its culture, its environment, and its seedy underbelly. I love so much about this sequence: the music (Jace Everett’s “Bad Things”); the rough-hewn, custom-made typeface; the frenetic editing; the images of life and death, the juxtaposition of religious and sexual ecstasy, et cetera, et cetera. See for yourself: And, if you’re interested in how Digital Kitchen developed this magnum opus, you may find Creative League’s “Making Of” article (from whence the title of...

Dostoyevsky Novels and the Dream Era

By on Aug 26, 2009 in In Production | 0 comments

The A.V. Club recently posted an in-depth interview with comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, the voice of the rat in Ratatouille and the star of upcoming drama Big Fan (and, incidentally, a man whose first name is my middle!). His insights into comedy, acting, and fatherhood are all astute and articulate (if a tad profane). But the parts I want to share with you are those in which he expounds upon the state of television, in light of his guest-starring roles on shows like Dollhouse and Caprica. When asked whether he’d commit to being a series regular for a television show (an undertaking few movie stars are willing to make), he replied: Oh yeah. What’s really odd now—trust me, I love doing movies, but right now, television is the way Hollywood was in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The dream era I would have loved to have been part of in Hollywood then is happening right now, but it’s...

“24”: Impressive Talent Clocking In

By on Aug 23, 2009 in In Production | 0 comments

Even though the countdown clock reminds us that we have 147 days yet to wait, I’m already excited for Season 8 of 24. Granted, it’s not often that I feel pumped about the eighth season of a show. But last season brought the goods, and next season might do the same. The casting department has eclectic and savvy choices that I find commendable. Starting with the actors pictured above, the new cast members for the upcoming season include: Anil Kapoor, a Bollywood star who is best known to American audiences for his portrayal of the smarmy game-show host in Slumdog Millionaire. Katee Sackhoff, the woman who made Kara “Starbuck” Thrace a fan-favorite character of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Callum Keith Rennie, who (coincidentally) played the Starbuck-obsessed Leoben on Battlestar Galactica, as well as libidinous record-producer Lew Ashby on Californication....