killing eve villanelle

2018 TV Highlights: Killing Eve

Remember 2016, when Fleabag was, in my opinion, the greatest new TV show out there? Well writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge outdid herself with this year’s BBC adaptation of Luke Jennings’ Codename Villanelle novellas. It premiered on BBC America, so it bafflingly took months for it to air in the UK; even then it was buried on BBC3, perhaps to avoid it clashing with Bodyguard. In my view, Killing Eve was the better show overall. Writing in Rolling Stone, Jenna Scherer described Killing Eve as a “sexually charged female-buddy-comedy espionage nailbiter”,  and I couldn’t have put it better myself. While the espionage thriller aspects are really good,

Haunting Hill House Red Room

2018 TV Highlights: The Haunting of Hill House

When everyone writes their best of year lists, there will barely be one that doesn’t mention THOHH in at least respectful, if not gushing, terms. And truth to tell, it deserves it all, and I say this as someone who does not seek out horror as a genre. I wasn’t aware of the prior adaptations of the Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic horror novel, which considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the 20th century. Writer/director and horror aficionado Mike Flanagan, adapted and wholly directed Hill House; while I’ve never seen any of his previous work, due to my

Sabrina CAOS Woods Red Coat

2018 TV Highlights: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I never watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch back in its heyday, though I was aware of it. I probably wasn’t its target audience, as it skewed a little younger than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which started in the same year and also enjoyed seven seasons. However, when I saw the trailer for the rebooted Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was instantly intrigued. It brought back vibes of Buffy, but fresher, edgier, and much less 90s. Something modern, even whilst immersed in Riverdale’s ambiguous period setting. I must admit to not being initially hooked into CAOS, a sobriquet I only realised after looking

Iceland Banned Palm Oil Advert

Iceland’s “Banned” Palm Oil Advert

You’ve got to admire some advertising campaigns, for both quality and sheer chutzpah. Iceland’s Palm Oil campaign Christmas advert is definitely both. It’s a lovely advert, with a good message as you can see: The narrative they’ve gone with is: the advert wasn’t approved by advertising regulators as it was seen to be in support of a political issue. The production and widespread usage of palm oil is a complex and sometimes controversial matter. 1/2— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) 10 November 2018 The Advertising Standards Authority, however, have been quite clear: Hi Iceland. We asked yesterday & we’ll

Sabrina CAOS Woods Red Coat

TV Shows I Really Ought To Finish Watching

While I don’t agree with Steve McQueen when he says TV is just bad now, I do agree that there’s so much stuff out there to watch, and so little time to actually watch all of it. Part of it is also wanting to be part of the conversation, so while I’m still enjoying The Haunting of Hill House, I’m keen to start watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Because of binge-watching, by the time I’m even able start watching Sabrina, the conversation will have moved on to something new. Here are some of the TV shows I’ve started, but

Once Upon A Time In The West

What No Westerns?

A thought struck me this morning, after RTing a One Perfect Shot image. I love Westerns, as problematic and outdated as they are and have seen so many. Even terrible ones, spin-offs, re-imagining, mashups, films that inspired the genre, and films that were inspired by the genre. And yet I’ve never written a Western, or anything that smells of a Western, or carries Western tropes. Noir and crime and thrillers and horror and science fiction and mysteries and urban fantasy; but never once a Western, or Western-inspired script. I just don’t know why. Movies like Once Upon A Time


ITV Drama 2018

Writing and pitching for TV isn’t easy. As well as all the usual story prep steps, it’s incredibly valuable to consider your target network, even before putting pen to paper. Each network has its own culture and demographic, and it’s worth bearing in mind. The UK’s ITV is one such market which has very specific requirements; luckily they revealed some at a recent BAFTA roundtable. ITV’s drama output is ‘unashamedly mainstream’; ITV controller Polly Hill wants ‘to be at the heart of British culture’ with work that’s ‘distinctive but not niche’. ITV drama needs to be ‘entertaining but not one-note,

Monica Beletsky

Monica Beletsky on Writing a One-Hour TV Drama Script

There’s no denying that Twitter is an imperfect medium for communicating longford thoughts. There’s also no denying that people do so anyway, including kind people willing to share their industry experiences with anyone interested. A recent thread or “tweetstorm” was by writer/producer Monica Beletsky, known for Fargo and The Leftovers, writing about her process for writing TV scripts. This insight is invaluable! Update: There’s now a PDF version of this, thanks to EdithD! Download it here.   I didn’t go to film school. One thing that’s hard for me as a writer, is every time I write, i feel like I’m


Best TV of 2017

Just as there have been some astonishing new movies in 2017, we’ve also been spoilt by some splendid new, or continuing, TV. Or serialised drama? Streaming episodic narrative? Longform visual storytelling? We really do need to lock down the nomenclature of this medium, “TV” just isn’t going work out in the long run.  But let’s be honest, most lists in this medium are largely going to top out the same. The Usual Suspects Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale are going to win pretty much all the awards going, and deservedly so. Stranger Things Season 2 will largely ride the coat-tails of


Stranger Things Meets Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles

Stranger Things is full of references to 80s TV and movies, but there was one surprise lurking in episode seven of season two: Direct reference to Grant Morrison’s seminal comic The Invisibles. While set and published in the 90’s, there’s no mistaking the references in the graffiti in Eight’s lair. “The series loosely follows the doings of a single cell of The Invisible College, a secret organization battling against physical and psychic oppression using time travel, magic, meditation, and physical violence”. They are an anarcho-psychic cell, fighting “inter-dimensional alien gods who have already enslaved most of the human race without their

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