TV

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MoviesOpinionTV

Beyond the Event Horizon

One thing the diversification of our entertainment ecosystem hasn’t changed, is that it’s still not OK to like things, if the internet says ‘no’. Despite Sisyphean resistance against some material, I’ve always thought it important to defend and not hide the fact that you enjoyed something. And for me that doesn’t stem from any particularly smug or contrarian standpoint, but rather that it’s fundamentally a human response, enjoyment. We don’t have any control over it, it just sort of happens – and in that sense it’s all we need to know about material at a base level. And we shouldn’t

Phoebe Waller Bridge Fleabag
TVWriting

Emmy 2019 Nominated Screenplays

The last year really has been a year of outstanding writing in what we still stubbornly insist on calling “TV”. I have favourites from every category but, for a writer, all of the the below scripts are worth consideration and study. Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Show / EpisodeBarry – S02E05Fleabag – S02E01PEN15 – S01E09 – Anna Ishi-PetersRussian Doll – S01E01 – Nothing In This World is EasyRussian Doll – S01E03 – A Warm BodyThe Good Place – S03E09 – Janet(s)Veep – S07E07 – Veep Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Show / Episode Better Call Saul – S04E10

game of thrones
TVWriting

Game of Thrones Screenplays

The adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy epic by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss may not be without controversy, but there’s no denying its mainstream appeal, nor it’s influence on big-budget event television. It has become a model that Amazon is hoping to ape with its Lord of the Rings show, and Disney+ will attempt with their Star Wars and Marvel shows. To that end, the below scripts are worth consideration and study. EpisodeEpisode TitleSeason 1, Episode 1Winter Is Coming (Pilot)Season 4, Episode 10The ChildrenSeason 6, Episode 9Battle Of The BastardsSeason 7, Episode 7The Dragon & The WolfSeason

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary
ArchivesOpinionTV

From the Archives: Doctor Who? – Fifty Years of a Jack In A Box

I originally wrote this in 2013, for a different website. But I thought I’d resurrect this blast from the past, so it doesn’t vanish into the mists of the un-archived internet. It’s the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and the BBC is spoiling fans with special after special, culminating with The Day of The Doctor, the hotly anticipated anniversary episode. As a sometimes fan of The Doctor, I wanted to give some thought to his identity, and this seemed the perfect time to do so. I recently saw the character of Doctor Who described as ‘C.S. Lewis meets H.G. Wells meets

nowtv game of thrones
TV

You’ve got NowTV For GoT, Now What?

Despite endless advertising, Sky’s NowTV is still the red-headed step-child of the UK’s streaming TV, or SVOD, offering. But, without fail, every time there’s a new season of Game of Thrones, they receive an influx of new subscribers. For a while at least. So, if you’re one of those people, suddenly in possession of a NowTV subscription and hoping to make the most of it, this guide’s for you. The Big Hitters Big Little Lies Based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling book, this is the jewel in the the crown of Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Season 1 of this Emmy Award-winning,

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TV

Britbox and the Balkanisation of SVOD

What an ugly term SVOD is: Subscription Video On Demand. And yet, there isn’t really a better term right now. Despite what Steven Spielberg might think, Digital TV isn’t the right term, no matter what screen we view our entertainment on, especially if Netflix movies will start showing in their own Oscar-qualifying cinema. Show Me The Money! SVOD isn’t going anywhere; in the US alone, consumers spent $12.9 billion on it, a year-on-year increase of 30%. By way of comparison, spending on physical video media decreased by 14% to $4 billion in the same timeframe. Digital is the only medium

killing eve villanelle
ReviewTV

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.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MBjBavIC9U 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
ReviewTV

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
ReviewTV

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybKUX6thF8Q I must admit to not being initially hooked into CAOS, a sobriquet I only realised after looking

Iceland Banned Palm Oil Advert
OtherTV

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdpspllWI2o 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 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The Advertising Standards Authority, however, have been quite clear: Hi Iceland. We asked yesterday & we’ll

Sabrina CAOS Woods Red Coat
LegacyTV

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
MoviesTV

What No Westerns?

A thought struck me this morning, after RTing a One Perfect Shot image. https://twitter.com/oneperfectshot/status/1001297151467630592?s=21 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

TV

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,

TVWriting

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 1: There’s now a PDF version of this, thanks to EdithD! Download it here. Update 2: I was worried about all the embeds going wrong, and I wanted to incorporate all the addenda, so I created a new

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ReviewTV

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

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