Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Strike odds and ends

Hey, there's almost no scripted programming to write about at the moment, but at least the various factions involved in the strike are helpfully providing some news fodder. The latest:
  • Jimmy Kimmel followed Jay and Conan's lead and will be back on the air, sans writers, on Jan. 2.
  • Rob Burnett, head of Worldwide Pants, Letterman's production company (as well as co-creator of "Ed" and "Knights of Prosperity") put out a statement about attempts to cut a separate deal with the WGA: "We are willing to agree to the writers demands that are within our control, so we have no reason to believe that an interim agreement can’t be achieved with the WGA. As a result, our only focus is on returning January 2nd with writers."
  • The WGA refused to grant a waiver for the Golden Globes to use WGA writers to write the monologues, introductions, etc., and for the Academy Awards to show footage of WGA-written movies. (The Oscars haven't asked yet for the writing waiver, but I'm sure the WGA will refuse that one, too.) If the strike's still going on when each show airs, they'll be picketed and the celebrity turnout could be minimal.
Meanwhile, after the last post, some people asked me whether, with the strike eliminating so much original programming, I'm still planning to do another series where I go back and revisit an old series on DVD. The answer to that is yes, though I may not get a chance to do it properly until the new year. Still debating what show to start with -- maybe "Cupid" on YouTube, maybe "The Wire" season one (as a parallel to my planned blogging on the final season), maybe "Sports Night," maybe something else -- but I'm looking forward to it, and soon.

47 comments:

filmcricket said...

I'm bummed about the Globes and the Oscars. Not that I disagree with the WGA's position at all, but, stupid as they may be, the Oscars are my Superbowl. I'll miss them, plus, Jon Stewart was going to be back hosting which meant there was at least a possibility the whole thing might not suck.

Because I'm lazy and already own the DVDs I'd vote for "Sports Night" - hey, at least Sorkin always stirs up discussion - but I've been intending to rent "The Wire" for a while now so this would be a good motivator. Although I loathe watching TV on my computer (I know! I still have a landline telephone, too) I'd watch "Cupid" online too, I guess.

Matt said...

The killer isn't so much "no WGA writers." There are a number of famous people who can be reliably funny without the need for writers (though many of them, like Stewart, Carell, and the Apatow gang, are themselves WGA members)--the killer is "no clips," which means there CAN'T be a show--no montages, no explanatory clips--and the likelihood of people refusing to cross lines. I know Katherine Heigl has already proclaimed that she's not crossing for the Golden Globes, and I expect many other nominees to follow.

BigTed said...

I would actually love to see an awards show in which celebrity presenters say whatever the heck they feel like, rather than stumbling through prewritten jokes that never come out funny anyway. Half of it would be embarrassing, but some of it might actually be funny. (Would a comedian who hosted be accused of "writing" if he told jokes he made up himself?)

And what about allowing Craig Ferguson to return? His monologue always sounds extemporaneous anyway (although I know at least some of it is prepared in advance by his writing staff).

LA said...

Katherine Heigl promising to boycott the Golden Globes is, by my estimation, a reason to tune into the show.

Andrew said...

Well, according to this article:

http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2007/12/golden-globes-g.html

the Hollywood Foreign Press might decide to not air the Golden Globes all together if the WGA pickets it.

Blogging on an old season of The Wire is a good idea, although I'd rather see your thoughts on season 2, since I think it would make for a better season 5 companion based on things I've been hearing about the coming season.

By the way, the Academy will still be able to use clips from movies at the Oscars if they really want to, the only difference is that they'll have to pay the WGA. The question is how much they really want these clips.

Anonymous said...

The Wire

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I vote for The Wire

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous two anon's. Definately do The Wire.

Anonymous said...

You've already admited that you cried like a baby near the end of S4, you might as well just start recaping The Wire.


...please.

David J. Loehr said...

I'd throw in for the Wire and SportsNight, if there's time for both.

daveawayfromhome said...

How about writing reviews (if this is possible) of old shows that cannot be gotten on DVD? Maybe try to get a movement started to get them there. Naturally, I wouldnt suggest such a thing if I didnt have a show in mind: Frank's Place. I was really hoping that WKRP would do well enough to bring out Frank's Place in its wake, but they screwed it up too much.

Theresa said...

Since it's one of my favorite shows of all time, I would have to second the vote for Sports Night. That show was too clever for its own good, but it's still amazing.

Holly Martins said...

Yes, PLEASE to The Wire!

I do like SportsNight, too, but my overwhelming resentment of Studio 60 makes it hard for me to enjoy as much as I used to...

Alan Sepinwall said...

You've already admited that you cried like a baby near the end of S4, you might as well just start recaping The Wire.

Well, I already recapped season four, including the episode that made me cry like a baby, and I'm absolutely going to be writing on season five. I'm just wondering whether it's better to be writing about the first season at the same time as the last, or if I wait until the series is over to go back and look at the earlier stuff.

Alan Sepinwall said...

How about writing reviews (if this is possible) of old shows that cannot be gotten on DVD? Maybe try to get a movement started to get them there. Naturally, I wouldnt suggest such a thing if I didnt have a show in mind: Frank's Place. I was really hoping that WKRP would do well enough to bring out Frank's Place in its wake, but they screwed it up too much.

Two problems with something like Frank's Place:

1)I'm not sure I could get copies of it;

2)Even if I could, most of the readership couldn't.

The fun of doing something like this -- like when I did my Freaks and Geeks reviews over the summer -- is the book club factor, the idea that everyone's watching (or rewatching) along with me.

So the only way I would pick a show that's not available on DVD is if it was readily available through other means -- like "Cupid," where all the episodes are on YouTube.

bill said...

Television question: have you heard if BBC America will show "Castaway 2007?" The original "Castaway 2000" is the only reality show that's ever interested me. According to the wiki page they've added voting people off the island. The more like a game show, the less interested I'd be.

Loved the idea of the first one, of a year-long social experiment of 36 people adapting to each other and having to provide for themselves. Though, it turns out, they weren't nearly as isolated or left alone as originally presented.

Anonymous said...

I vote for "Wonderfalls" -- one season, available on DVD, and it would lend itself to the analysis you did so well with "Freaks and Geeks". Also, it's Bryan Fuller and Lee Pace, pre-"Pushing Daisies" -- who doesn't love that?

Eric said...

I'd vote for SportsNight with Wonderfalls a close second. But how about instead of season 1 of The Wire, you go back a little further and do The Corner instead? I think it would make an interesting compare-and-contrast, and expose people to yet another excellent series they may not have caught the first time around, rather than just doubling up on the attention given to The Wire.

Dea said...

I vote for The Wire as well. I just finished Season 3 on DVD, and while I haven't seen Season 4 yet, I can't imagine a better story than the one that season told, though I loved Seasons 1 and 2 as well. Can't wait to see Season 4, hopefully in time to start watching Season 5 as it unfolds!

Katie said...

Although I'm eager to read Alan's (and everybody's) thoughts on S1 of The Wire, I'd prefer to wait until the whole series has wrapped. We've all talked about how "novel-like" the show is; I'd rather look back at its beginning after having seen the themes carried all the way through.

Plus, do we really want to burn through TWO Wires at once? Decadence!

I vote for mixing it up: Wonderfalls or Sports Night.

Stef said...

I'm happy to add my votes to Sports Night and Wonderfulls, and to the "no Katherine Heigl makes for a good show" camp. :-)

Abbie said...

The Wire!

Stacie said...

Sports Night!!! (Please?)

Susan said...

Among your series choices, SportsNight gets my vote. You didn't ask for other suggestions, but that never holds us commenters back, so I'm going to throw in a suggestion for "My So-Called Life." It has a loyal following. It's only one season, so it should be easy to do in a relatively short period of time. And it makes a great counterpoint to Freaks and Geeks, even with the basic premise being the same (teenage girl tries to change crowds to hang out with the freaks).

Andrew said...

I'm about to start watching The Wire from season 1 on, so that's what I'd be into.

JustMe said...

Voting for Cupid.

I loved that show. I may even still have some of the episodes on questionably labeled VHS tapes.

Anonymous said...

Sports Night please.

Anonymous said...

Definitely add my vote for Wonderfalls! I think Firefly would be awesome too though... gotta love Nathan Fillion. And we're about to get more of Summer Glau (who played River) in The Sarah Conner Chronicles. At least that's one new show for January... if it's any good that is. Have you seen or heard anything about that yet Alan?

Anonymous said...

Sports Night!
Sports Night!
Sports Night!

I stumbled across a link to a long page of quotes from the show recently and spent over an hour just reading the dialogue. So brilliant... and I hate sports!

I do think that the failures of Studio 60 is a good reason to do Sports Night. Let's put that mess in the past and remember Sorkin at his most brilliant.

Nicole said...

I vote for My So Called Life. I just watched it in full for the first time (had caught a few episodes when it originally aired, but not a huge fan). I was impressed and disappointed that this only got a year.
Second choice - Cupid and third the Wire.

RandomRanter said...

I vote for "Cupid" although I do adore "Sports Night" also.

christy said...

SportsNight! I've actually never seen it, and what with West Wing being an all-time favorite, this would be a good excuse. Just make sure you let us know a general schedule (syllabus?) so I can Netflix along.

Karen said...

Oh, dear lord, please pick "Sports Night"! I just adored that show (despite the weaknesses of the second season and Dana's "plan"). Josh Charles and Peter Krause had such wonderful chemistry, and Robert Guillaume gave the show such a beautifully sharp edge. I'd love to relive it through you!

David J. Loehr said...

I didn't even think about "Wonderfalls," even though I've actually spent the last week watching it all over again with a friend who got hooked on it the last time he was visiting. That'd be a lot of fun in analysis, especially in looking for trends/evolution in Fuller's style, or perhaps looking at the tempering influence of Tim Minear.

Bill_45 said...

If you do pick "Sports Night" don't forget to catalog all the ways they get sports wrong. I used to have a list, but the only one I can remember is they had someone climbing Everest during the NFL season. Not going to happen.

cpennylane said...

Wonderfalls or My So Called Life!

Have you done Firefly already? I just started reading this blog last summer when I was coincidently watching Freaks and Geeks.

I have no idea what the Wire is about, so if it comes down to Wire or Sports Night, I would go with Sports Night. I actually love Sorkin, and didn't find too much wrong with Studio 60.

Pandyora said...

Trying to keep attention focused on two seasons of "The Wire" at the same time would be a bit much. I'd say "Sports Night" (to mourn "Studio 60") or "Firefly" (in anticipation of "Dollhouse").

Andrew said...
"I'm about to start watching The Wire from season 1 on, so that's what I'd be into."

What about getting lewd, with the food?

Eric said...

One reason not to do My So Called Life is that TWOP's recaps for that show are really excellent, detailed and comprehensive. I recommend them to anyone who's an old or new fan of the show.

Their Sports Night recaps are fun, but less analytical. (Still worth checking out.) And the Wonderfalls recaps were written by someone who didn't really love the show.

Anonymous said...

And the Wonderfalls recaps were written by someone who didn't really love the show.

Plus, there are only recaps of the first four episodes (the only ones that aired) out of thirteen produced. "Wonderfalls" gets my vote.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And the Wonderfalls recaps were written by someone who didn't really love the show.

Then you probably don't want me writing about it, either. "Pushing Daisies" is really the first Bryan Fuller show I've liked unreservedly. I always found "Wonderfalls" to be a little too pleased with its own cleverness.

Katie said...

Here's another idea: How about "Slings and Arrows?"

Three seasons, yes, but just 18 episodes total.

Just Sayin' said...

Keen Eddie

Nicole said...

OOOh Slings and Arrows I like that choice. Rachel McAdams is in the first series and Sarah Polley is in the third one. And Paul Gross is just yummy (okay he can act too).

But is it too Canadian for the masses that read Alan's blog?

Elwood said...

I'd love for you to do a play-by-play for "Sports Night" but as was mentioned regarding MSCL, TWoP covered SN, too. I'd still watch right along with you anyway, Alan.

One suggestion I have is a run-down on "Homicide." Not every episode - although if the strike drags on, you'll have the time - but maybe a per-season Top 5 or something.

Jan. 31, 2008 will mark the 15th (OMG!) anniversary of H:LotS's premiere, so it may be time to blow the dust off of the dvds and give them another look.

I think that, plus a covering of "The Corner" (which would give me an excuse to buy those dvds) would be well-placed withing the final season of "The Wire."

dez said...

I don't care if some other site has already covered the eps: do Sports Night! :-)

(You're a much better writer than any of the TWoP people anyway!)

ME said...

The Wire please!

Anoel said...

Please, please do Cupid! I love the show and it gets precious little attention (although the possible remake could help). It was canceled way before it's time and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

The Wire S1 would also be much appreciated. I just rewatched it and am so amazed at its brilliance.