Thursday, May 11, 2017

For my consideration

As a proud member of the TV Academy I am currently being sent DVD screeners for Emmy consideration. Remember when you were a kid and something you had ordered (like a toy) finally came in the mail? Oh, the anticipation! The excitement of seeing that package or envelope arrive! Well, it’s like that every day!

Except, when you were a kid you were thrilled when you opened the package. When I open most of these I’m saying, “Huh? What the hell is this show?”

With 455 scripted shows and God knows how many unscripted shows out there, it’s shocking how many television programs I’ve never heard of. In some cases, I don’t even recognize the network. Elaborate programs too (at least based on the cover art).  Costume dramas and battle scenes and crucifixes. 

And as I thumb through them one by one I feel a certain pang of guilt. There may be two or three of these shows that are really terrific. Some very talented and dedicated people poured their hearts and souls into these shows. And the studio must’ve spent a fortune sending them out. Some of the boxes and packaging is extraordinary. They should give out an Emmy for packaging.

But Jesus, life is too short. And if there is a series I do want to watch they often only include a couple of episodes. Sometimes they also provide a code so you can watch the series in its entirety on line. So there’s thirteen hours, or more precisely – twelve hours I won’t be watching something else.

In some cases I look at the screeners and think, “This is just a waste of money. This is setting $20,000 on fire.” TWO BROKE GIRLS as Best Comedy? In what universe? Feed the homeless with that money. 

So I sift through the entries and pick out generally ten or twelve things I want to watch. There’s usually a couple of series that have received good buzz that I haven’t seen so out of curiosity I’ll throw them on. And it’s worth the time I take cutting up the others (you’re not allowed to pass them on to anybody so the best way to prevent that is to snip snip), in order to have those twelve shows I feel are worthy of my time (not spent watching baseball or SUPERGIRL).

And every so often I’ll open one of those packages and it will be like when I was a kid. Last year it was FARGO. This year it’s… well, the packages are still coming.

21 comments :

VP81955 said...

"...not spent watching baseball or 'Supergirl.'"

Which inspires this premise: Could Kara be hired as the Washington Nationals' closer?

Andrew said...

"Feed the homeless with that money."

Well said. I feel that way about the entire industry.

Steve Mc said...

You're lucky. We BAFTA members get virtually nothing for the TV BAFTAs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

I see "Stranger Things" in that DVD pile- that's the first one to watch IMHO, -LL

Brian O. said...

A Friday Question. Would you turn down a directing offer if for a show you dislike such as TWO BROKE GIRLS? Or would you use the opportunity (if possible) to set up a low-brow joke to become something "smarter?" Have there been other shows you've turned down based on your dislike of the established brand?

blinky said...

Speaking of Fargo: What the hell is going on with that show? SO far the whole show seems like the extended dream sequence in The Sopranos when Tony eat that bad Indian food. They have Robot animation and gratuitous vomiting. The third season of Fargo is reminding me of the second season of True Detective in that they had the look and sound of the great first season but forgot how to tell a good story.

Tom said...

Of those pictured, Fleabag is definitely worth a go. Also it's British and therefore short, so even if you like it you're not losing twelve hours.

Ted said...

"Supergirl" is out of ideas. When it started, it had the relatively unique premise of a female superhero who identified more with her "regular" life (not just a secret identity) as a young woman dealing with career, family and romance issues. But now her "real" life is on the back burner, and it's all about aliens fighting (and dating) other aliens. Plus, it has the same problem that Superman stories have always had -- she's so powerful that the writers have to keep finding increasingly outlandish ways to challenge her. And you know they've pretty much given up when (as this show's writers are about to do) they bring on General Zod.

John Hammes said...

Andrew said...

"Feed the homeless with that money."

Well said. I feel that way about the entire industry.



Ken and Andrew beat me to it: great minds think alike?

Jahn Ghalt said...

So, a question for any day you choose:

Are Academy member require to cast votes - or can you abstain - a great tradition honored for centuries by American citizens?

Would they kick you out for not voting? If you quit (one way to avoid getting those screeners) what would be the consequence - what are the benefits of membership?

My own policy is to abstain from voting when uninformed (or indifferent) - why add to the noise? Indifferent would seem to apply to mediocre shows.

Dan said...

I didn't get it - what $20,000?

The entire budget they spend for sending free screeners?

Carson Clark said...

Why can't The Middle get any Emmy love?

YEKIMI said...

Who sends these out? The producers of said shows or the network or someone else? I can see why they want the Emmy....prestige and all that. But in case of the networks or studios you'd think they want to tamp it down...because when it comes time to renegotiate contracts the star, producers, etc. could say "Hey, we won an Emmy. So cough up some more $$$$ for the stars, studio, us!"

Jake said...

I hope SPEECHLESS and its great cast gets recognized, but I'm not holding my breath - it airs on a network.

Snoskred said...

If and when it arrives, Billions is one I would recommend taking a look at. I have loved that show big time these past two seasons. The entire cast is just having the best time and it really comes through in that show. As a viewer I love to see that.

Better Call Saul is also having a great season - season 3, I am not sure how current the works are when they are sent to you.

John said...

We really enjoyed "One Day at a Time". Lots of great laughs and warmth.

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Nice score Ken. Just another perk of being a genius TV-writing veteran, I guess, even if it is a mixed blessing. (You couldn't get me to watch some of those series if you paid me.)

In the meantime, I'm saving my pennies for this classic TV series box set when it comes out next month. :-)

https://www.amazon.com/Rockford-Files-Complete-James-Garner/dp/B06ZXTH52H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494549142&sr=8-1&keywords=rockford+files+bluray

James said...

Friday question: I was watching something where a comedy writer mentioned a beat sheet, and I know you've mentioned it here, but I'm still struggling with the idea. I was wondering if you'd consider taking an act or maybe even just a scene from something like Almost Perfect and post what the beat sheet would look like for that act or scene.

Barry Traylor said...

2 Broke Girls cancelled. Yahoo!!! I guess the vaginas got wore out.

Barry Traylor said...

Speaking of Fargo: What the hell is going on with that show? SO far the whole show seems like the extended dream sequence in The Sopranos when Tony eat that bad Indian food. They have Robot animation and gratuitous vomiting. The third season of Fargo is reminding me of the second season of True Detective in that they had the look and sound of the great first season but forgot how to tell a good story.

I agree with Blinky about FARGO as it has become unwatchable for me. I was very much looking forward to it after the first two seasons but this year is dreadful. I watched the first episode, barely made through the second one and after 5 minutes of the third I deleted it from my DVR and I am not going back.

forg/jecoup said...

check out speechless and superior donuts please and also support mom and the middle