Monday, October 01, 2007

What were they like?

I've missed so many shows recently for one reason or another. Mostly apathy. But some I wanted to see and missed. I'll list them below and if anyone has seen them I'd be grateful if they could post their thoughts in a sentence or two.

It's A Free World

Coming Down The Mountain


I'm not joking by the way. I'd like a vox pop on what seems to be a current fad, at least with commissioners, and I missed them.

This is a random musings post so please bear with me if you got this far!

Aaron Sorkin. I loved The West Wing. First four seasons especially. Though I will never forgive that series finale. Toby gets pardoned and never appears in the ep? I really like Studio Sixty. I watched episodes of each back to back the other night. They are both smart and sassy but I realised why I love one and like the other. I can believe a liberal President.

ITV productions are beefing up their drama production arm with three recent appointments. Micky Grade walks the walk . But can these appointments walk and talk? I don't know them personally but I think it bodes well.

Apparently Jane Tranter in a recent interview said we should move to the American system of creating lots of pilots and seeing what sticks. There are some serious flaws in that system as documented elsewhere, notably SERIOCITY's blog. But overall I'm fer it. But for the BBC to go that route is going to take a sea change of tsunami proportions. Though perhaps they should think back and recognise that for better or worse, shows like The Bill and Last Of The Summer Wine came about that way 20 something years ago.

I'd also argue that creating lots of pilots is one thing but moving to the writer's room system is something else entirely and one that I personally would jump at in an instant, mainly because it takes swathes of non-writing management out of the equation and gives precedence to a room full of creativity. Bliss. Okay it still has to get past the suits. But it's coming from a good place.


Piers said...

As you say: we used to make pilots all the time.

But I don't think it's the lack of pilots that's the problem; it's the fact that we're still (notable Who-empire and Robin Hood exceptions aside) commissioning for short runs.

Writers' rooms need long runs (13+ episodes) in order to function and vice versa.

Oli said...

At the risk of being bitchy... Whilst the pilot system isn't perfect, would Robin Hood have been commissioned for 13 episodes from the strength of the 'pilot'? I'll leave that rhetorically hanging.

p.s. No, didn't see those either.

Lucy said...

Aaron Sorkin is a fave here in the US. Although, I believe Studio 60 was a little pretentious (much like West Wing). But I also think about how many people find Six Feet Under pretentious--still working on that one.

Anyway, I, too am a writer (but currently working as a stand-up comedienne) in NYC.

I actually don't have time to watch TV. Although, I do make time for Studio 60's once rating rival, 30 Rock. (I plan on posting this Thurs on Jerry Seinfeld appearing the premiere episode.) Two powerhouses, Tina Fey and Seinfeld!

Anyway, nice coming across your blog. It's great to see like-minded artists from across the pond.

If you get a chance, feel free to stop by my corner of the blogosphere. I'm always on the lookout for new blogger buddies.

You can reach me here:
Quest For Comedic Stardom:

Lucy said...

BLOODY HELL! Was just leaving another comment and another Lucy leaves one. WEIRD. And outrageous, stealing my name like that.

I agree with the pilots thing in seeing what sticks and I disagree with the super-long-run thing. 22 episodes make me want to poke my eyes out since they invariably drag everything out to the point of ridiculousness, LOST being a case in point. I could go for 13 if [and only if] they stick to the story of the week aspect CSI-style. Serials have gotta be 8 episodes max, MTV generation can't cope otherwise. You hear that commissioning peeps? LAW OF THE LUCY!

As for your vox pops Davey--

Didn't see the first two, but caught first episode of TORN. Intriguing idea, but the resolution of the girl being the lost kid was disappointingly easy for me - Mum sees her in shopping centre, follows her back to her house on the bus?! BITCH, PLEASE! As the great philosopher DMX would say.

Of course, it was cos they wanted the girl returned to the bosom of her original family so she can cause havoc, but I would have preferred an opening of EITHER the girl being returned immediately in the first few mins (maybe her kidnapping family tried to take her out the country or it was discovered she wasn't bioligically related as the result of a routine blood test I dunno) or have original family looking for her for SEVERAL episodes, rather than doing both. If you know what I mean. Probably not.


Anonymous said...

Coming down the mountain was substaintially better than most dramas on the tv. It tackled a difficult subject in an honest and moving way. it's got to be good if you still feel huge sympathy for a character who's just pushed his down syndrome brother over a cliff. My biggest problem with it was the fact that family were meant working class (I think) but sounded distinctly middle class. V irritating. Strangely, had exactly the same problem with Mark Haddon's book, the curious incident of the dog.

First episode of Torn made me think that ITV Drama really had pulled it socks up.Holly Aird's performance was great and the whole thing just felt real to the point that you could forgive some of the clunky plotting. Didn't see next ep but according to the Observer it all went rapidly down hill - shame.

English Dave said...

Thanks for that guys. Interesting stuff.

Welcome Lucy 1 and thanks Lucy 2 lol. Yes I know what you mean. Seems it wasn't too sure what the thrust of the story was.

Anon - maybe it was too stretched. I've seen a lot of two parters and even series where there simply wasn't enough story to sustain the air time.

will said...

Thing you have to remember about the last episode of The West wing is that Sorkin was long gone by then (he left at the end of season 3). There were rumours that he would be invited back to write the last two or three episodes, but it didn't happen.