Monday, December 31, 2007

My favorite TV of the year

Trying to decide which hours of TV to love is like picking your favorite child. Still, decisions have to be made. Here are the episodes (and their WRITERS, which I promise to add later once I can look them all up) that really hit it out of the park for me this year. (In no particular order -- I can pick the children, I don't have to rank them)

LOST "Through the Looking Glass" This one is still on the DVR, but now that I've got the 3rd season on DVD I can watch this one over and over again in anticipation of what is to come in one month's time. Truly awesome TV fun.

HOUSE "Airborne" House may have seemed stale by the end of Season 3 (and it has had some juice pumped back in Season 4) but this episode stands out to me for a) taking House out of his element and b) giving every major cast member some meaty stuff to do. Putting House and Cuddy on an airplane to do a differential was just icing on the cake.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA "Crossroads, pt 2" Since "Exodus" technically aired in 2006, I'll pick the 3rd season finale for my fave of 2007. While I found "Razor" fascinating it was the completely unexpected revelations about Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and Tory and the end of Baltar's trial that really packed the punch for the series. We await the Season 4 open with baited breath...

CHUCK "Chuck vs. the Truth" Not just for really moving the story forward be revealing what had been up to that point character 'secrets' but also for the fast paced and breezy interplay of the characters, the show really hit its stride, showing what awesome TV it could be. Best line goes to Zac Levi: "Casey, your jaw was chiseled by Michelangelo himself." I know, not as great taken out of context, but man it floored me. Especially Adam Baldwin's reaction. Classic. Oh, and did I mention that our dear Marshall J. Flinkman (aka Kevin Weisman) is in it?

THE SOPRANOS "Kennedy and Heidi" Okay, I hate that the Sopranos wins like every award there is for this season, but dang, this was a pretty bitchin' episode. I mean, Christifuh dies at the hands of Tony! And Pauly is out of control funny.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (tie) "Pilot" and "State" - the bookends to an example of a perfect season of TV. Even if it hadn't had a second season granted, this would go down in my book as one of the most overall satisfying shows of the year.

VERONICA MARS "The Unaired Season 4 Preview" This look at what a 4th season of VM would have been like is something that pains me. It was sooo good, so fresh and so what I wanted. I curse the CW for their poor decision making.

LIFE "Dig a Hole" and "Fill it Up" Sure, continue to ignore this show, but you do so at your peril. This two-parter was great TV, the revelation of who committed the murder that Charlie Cruse had been wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for. Even better, there's still the mystery as to who orchestrated the whole thing (and why). I hope I get to find out...

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS "Bowie" For making me laugh for almost 30 minutes straight. Actually, I could say that about almost all of the 'Conchords' episodes...

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP "K&R" pts 1-3 and "What Kind of Day Has it Been" I know, crazy to have this on the list, but when I watched the last four episodes in one sitting, I was floored at how good they were. It was as if knowing that their doom was imminent Sorkin, Schlamme and company pulled out all the stops and put on a good show. Really reminded me of the first couple of years of 'The West Wing' that just pushed me closer to becoming a writer. I was humbled.

Okay, I will place one hour of TV above all the others (and yes, I know I've left off a lot of awesomely wonderful TV from the list...sue me).

DOCTOR WHO "Blink" A singular achievement. Steven Moffat has my undying love and devotion after I watched this. Terrifying and creepy (rare to honestly ascribe those terms to much TV today) I could not help but sit back on my couch and say "wow" once it was over. Also the ONLY TV episode this year I was compelled to watch again immediately upon viewing it the first time. If you haven't seen this, you haven't really watched TV as it should be.

Next post I'll detail some of the WORST Hours of TV of 2007 and some of my honorable mentions (I.E. stuff I forgot while I was writing this post)

Waking up to the future

So, while I remain somewhat secretive about some of my projects, I've decided that for my latest foray into entertaining the masses I will blog extensively on my efforts.

My latest project is a web series. I'm co-writing the series with my good friend Bernie Su. He and I believe that we can make a quality entertaining product specific to the web (at least to start).

While I won't be spilling the story details as yet, here's our basic construct for the series.

We've written a "pilot" episode which introduces our main characters and concept, but is (at least for now) not directly related to the main plot of the 8-episode series.

Each episode will be 5-6 minutes in length, and we hope to clock the total project in at 44 minutes.

We are still working on distribution and I am bringing aboard a producer I think will get us on the right track as we move toward ramping up the writing on the other episodes.

I fully intend for this to see the light of day by the end of April 2008.

Oh, and yes, it will have its own website and viral marketing elements. It should be fun.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Helpful Holiday Tip



There is this option now as well.

So, down with the Ebay scalpers!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I feel a great disturbance in the Force...

According to Jane, Disney has already been interviewing people for the Fellowship next year. I had been under the impression that the interviews were on hold, but apparently no. This is three strikes and out for my "Medium" spec.

On to the next one...

New features coming to this blog

Starting in January I'll be starting a weekly feature called "Meet the Scribosphere". I plan to highlight a screen-blogger each week, asking questions, some of which may come from the readership, and highlighting what they emphasize in their blogging -- do they provide writing tips? review films and tv? talk about their lunch? Whatever it is, you'll learn about it and perhaps meet a blogger or two you haven't visited before.

Also, I'm going to start doing reviews of new shows. I'm working on increasing the number of screeners I am sent, and hopefully that will allow me to post reviews in a timely manner. To kick off this feature I'll be reviewing two shows next week -- the Dec. 10 episode of "Saving Grace" and the 2nd season premiere of "10 Items or Less". We'll see how it goes from there.

Opinions? Suggestions? Lay 'em on me.

Attention WGA -- come negotiate!

Brett brought a really interesting article to my attention via his blog.

I had heard some mutterings about this before, but this is the first time I've really seen this spelled out so clearly.

I was a business administration major in college. Reading an article about collusion gave me flashbacks to my business law class. And now, I have had an epiphany.

I would like to become a "new" WGA signatory. Here's my deal. I'll give writers, directors, actors and the unionized crews a fair profit sharing deal in exchange for their services on films. Oh, I need some venture capital for this, any takers?

Screw the AMPTP, long live the SBPRC (Shawna Benson Producers Replacement Corporation)! **

** now taking on producing partners with money.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I blame Liz.

It's all her fault. She's been laying out her total A game on her blog...being all smart and revealing and funny and interesting and just...sublime.

I got jealous.

First, go visit her and show her love. That means leave a comment. She's putting out lots of words for you to read, the least you can do is toss a few back her way.

Second, I'm seriously asking her to take me on as a Padawan. She has much juju which I desire to know.

2007 has been a decent year for me...okay, actually it kinda kicked ass until November. 2008 needs to step up and really represent. I need the WGA contract issues to be resolved. I need to sell my flippin show. I need to shoot my web series. I need to finish 3 pilot specs. I need a new episode spec too.

I need a new computer. I need to lose 15-20 pounds.

By the way, current creative writing endeavors taking place with my sister over at a new blog we started -- Sistercritics.

CBS renews Moonlight, Big Bang Theory

12/6 UPDATE I spoke to an "insider" at MOONLIGHT last night -- they have not had official word from CBS on the renewal. My source was aware of the Mediaweek article and was encouraged by it, but was just as perplexed as everyone else as to what it means. For all the Moonlight fans checking in on this blog for news, I will bring you updates as quickly as I can get them.

CBS announced that it has picked up "Moonlight" and "The Big Bang Theory" for another season. These are the first new network shows to be ordered for an additional season (yes, the story says "renewed" not just a back nine pickup). CBS has also stated that if the writers strike isn't over by the new year, they may start airing shows from sister cable outlet Showtime, most notably "Dexter."

It looks like the sitcom writers definitely have a new spec opportunity. I think Moonlight as a spec is a little iffy, but we'll see...

Link: CBS to Air Showtime's Dexter; Will Renew Big Bang, Moonlight