Monday, August 11, 2014

Writing and Viewing the TV Drama Series

Another class I'll be taking this semester is Writing the TV Drama Series. We haven't received our syllabus yet, but based on an older one, I think we might have to write a pilot episode of our own creation. I'm excited about that, oddly enough, because some of today's favorite dramas are not my favorite.

Some of my favorites over the last few years have included (in random order): Longmire, The Good Wife, LOST, Blacklist, 24, Sherlock, CSI: Miami, Law & Order: SVU, and Midsomer Murders. But I admit, I enjoy some of the older (tamer?) dramas as much or more than some of these because of content. In the older dramas, I didn't have to worry about too much gore or being assaulted with filthy language or graphic sex scenes. 

We started watching a few drama series this weekend, based on textbook and other recommendations.

Once Upon a Time
Created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Pilot Episode written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore

I expect a flogging over this admission, but I've never been too much of a fantasy fan, and I never dwelled in fairytales for long periods of time. Although many of my writer friends love this series, and I can see the draw of it, I'm not a huge fan. I watched the pilot and will watch other episodes in the coming weeks, I'm sure, but I'm not compelled to continue watching like I am with other genres. 

Mad Men
Created by Matthew Wiener
Written by Matthew Wiener and a host of others for various episodes
Starring Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones

With an advertising background, I expected to like this show much more than I did. I actually enjoyed several episodes of it - I love the time period (50s) and I like the overall premise of the series. The writers are creative in the way they incorporate elements to reflect the decade. But for me, they push the envelope a little much, taking viewers into darkness instead of light. 

Blue Bloods
2010 - 
Created by Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green
Written by Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green, and a host of others
Starring Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynihan, Will Estes, Lou Cariou

This drama has periods of brilliance and originality and then other times when it seems like several of the other legal shows on the air in recent years - Law & Order, in particular. (I'm not saying L&O isn't brilliant - for the most part, I enjoyed those series as well.)

Blue Bloods is gripping and we can't stop watching, which is what every writer longs to hear, right?

As Tim and I discussed the dramas we watched this week, we agreed that Blue Bloods was several notches above the others in quality and content. I also recognized within the episodes a pattern taught in one of my textbooks. So it will be interesting to learn those patterns and discover other series using them.

Do you watch these TV shows? What's your opinion of them? Do you recommend any others?

Recent movie and TV lists:

A Blur of Television and Movies
Bridal Shower, Papers, and Movies
Confusion of Week One
My MFA Textbooks
Writing and Viewing the TV Drama
Rethinking Use of Color and Plot in Screenwriting
The Journey to an MFA in Screenwriting Begins

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