Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cut To The Chase

I just read Difficult Men, Brett Martin's book about the showrunners behind the recent revolution in TV drama.  According to Martin, while there were new signs of life throughout the 90s in already in broadcast TV, but the real flowering started with David Chase's The Sopranos.  HBO needed something to justify its fees--above movies and sports--and this show broke the rules. The main character was a killer who lied all the time, and the people who surrounded him were no better. Yet it became a huge hit and social phenomenon.

Chase himself, like so many of the other showrunners in this book, is an unusual type.  You've got to be to run one of these shows, but Chase didn't even like TV. It was selling out--movies were the real thing.  He wasn't even sure he wanted to do a series. But, as the book notes, if he hadn't done The Sopranos, just what movies would have have made?  Anyway, he groaned his way through six seasons and changed everything.

HBO would follow with other unusual and critically admired shows, such as Six Feet Under, The Wire and Deadwood, created by other larger-than-life figures such as David Simon and David Milch. (Not everyone who creates shows is named David but it helps.)

But soon it wasn't just HBO, or even premium channels, that entered this brave new world.  Floundering channels like FX and AMC helped get new identities with shows like The Shield, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Most of the book is how these shows were created and developed, with the emphasis on the difficult men who had a vision they struggled to get onto the small screen. And Martin isn't above criticizing shows--even something as great as The Wire had a weak final season where former journalist David Simon seemed to be settling some scores by a major subplot set at a newspaper.

Martin only have sapce to go in depth on a limited number of series. It's possible he'll skip over some of your favorites.  But the stories he does tell are fascinating.  He claims now these showrunners are the stores. It's true they're a lot more visible than they used to be.  But the cover of the book is instructive  It features a photo of Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad and James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos.  Somehow, I don't think a cover with Vince Gilligan or David Chase would get the same attention.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They need a better word than "showrunner."

7:02 PM, August 21, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Their are a lot of dumb words in show biz, but this one has stuck.

12:36 AM, August 22, 2013  
Blogger Jon said...

If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

Insert subject line here and link it to: <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

And even begging to be with you.

Here’s what I’m talking about: <=========> Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

Thanks again.


12:28 AM, June 25, 2017  

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