Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chasing the Zeitgeist: The TV Specs: 4.01

To kick off the fourth season, I thought I'd send one out to one of my core audiences-- underemployed, young writers. So as advice to you and on behalf of TV Lit assistants and development types everywhere, may I now present my recommendations for not boring them to death. So here's what Assistant/Atlas recommends for television spec scripts for the upcoming season. Notice it's all youngish shows, as these are perfect for younger writers to spend a few years on cutting their teeth.

Now, keep in mind that because of my relative inexperience, I still don't know for certain that all networks are essentially the same, full of the same empty words and shiny objects. I still kinda think if I got a job at CBS it'd be like all old people, or like all black people at UPN, or like all teenage girls at the WB or something. But I would point out that not long ago, I read scripts for a living. And seeing as I just made the jump to staff I know you're a little curious. (for more on the "What To Spec" debate, I recommend Complications Ensue or The Artful Writer or any number of scribosphere sites)

IF YOU DON'T CARE WHAT THE HOT SPECS ARE: I tried to make it reasonably funny to keep you entertained. The results? Meh.

-Rome & Entourage- The top two for "Not-TV" since Six Feet Under is resting in peace and The Sopranos is on its last legs.

- & - Get it? Zing!

- CSI/NCIS (all medical/forensic/cop procedurals) & How I Met Your Mother- Ratings are up as the characters get stronger and more well-drawn on NCIS. I actually caught a few ends of some episodes and it seemed pretty decent. Plus, Mark Harmon. So there ya go. As for How I Met Your Mother, frankly, the continuing popularity of Neil Patrick Harris astounds me. That said, this sitcom isn't a bad one now that Arrested Development is swirling the drain. Also, there's Alyson Hannigan, who makes me purr. Yes, purr.

- Grey's Anatomy & Lost - Long on the hour-long choices, but short on the half-hours at ABC. Lost would be an intense show and perhaps a tough spec, but it's going to run for awhile. Also, it would be great to pull random stuff out of your a$$ and have boatloads of people scrutinize it for millions of man-hours. If only that power could be harnessed for good... Still, you'd be working for a JJ Abrams exec-produced show, so that's awesomeness enough. And Grey's would be a fun alternative to and remember-- ER is still on a dozen years later. It might not have THAT big of legs, but it'll make five seasons easy, with or without Ellen "I Have a Serious Heroin Addiction, Seriously" Pompeo.

- Why would anyone want to work for Zucker? Zing! Also, please note that immediately following "The Amazing Race" was "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show". This, Jeff Zucker, this is why you are Les Moonves' bitchmonkey.

- Eat it, Murdoch, I still have my dignity. (Prison Break & Arrested Development if there's a God)

The - Supernatural (& Related if you're masochistic- the Frog seems hellbent on seeing that POS succeed) - Dude, all I gotta say is: McG. Rock some McG 'tude and you'll get a job at The WB. Also, I saw Jared Padalecki when I was hitting up Panera Bread-- which, as all true KC homies know, was originally called "Saint Louis Bread Company"--over on Ventura near Laurel Canyon. I can report with some certainty that Mr. Padalecki is approximately 7 feet, 9 inches tall. And why spec Related? Because they could probably use at least one actual writer for the show. Zing! Wow, that never gets old.

- Veronica Mars & Everybody Hates Chris- See, UPN, this is what happens when you get good shows, you get treated like a big boy net like everyone else. Now just be sure to keep Veronica around next year and it's all good.
Promise you won't leave me, Veronica. You can totally take pictures of us. Yes to costumes, no to props, right?

But I will confess this, and I hope it doesn't collapse my whole network-centric theory: I didn't have a single spec for a show on the network at which I have a job. How totally crazy is this business, right?

Feel free to disagree with my spec choices or to give a shout out to the Saint Louis Bread Company days of yore. That's what comments are for.


Anonymous Rob said...

This is the first list I've seen that didn't mention HOUSE. Were you more interested in taking a swipe at Murdoch? Or are readers getting tired of HOUSE? In my opinion, the show jumped the shark when Sela Ward showed up late in the first season.

I'm plotting a LOST spec to replace the catatonic SIX FEET (but I wrote that spec out of love, sniff). Do I need to switch out HOUSE as well? Of course, all of this will be moot if I get a phone call I'm expecting in the next few days (crosses fingers and toes).

10:30 PM

Blogger af said...

Why not spec My Name Is Earl or The Office on NBC?

2:23 PM

Blogger Assistant Atlas said...

marauding monkey: In answer to your question, you shouldn't spec an NBC show because you'll want to have a job a year from now! Zing!

Seriously though, Jason Lee can do no wrong by me. Frankly, I want the office to die so Steve Carell can more quickly become what he was meant to be-- the funniest character actor named Steve since at least Buscemi.

And Rob, I hate to break it to you, but Fox does the worst job incubating series. I'll tell you why-- it's because they're the casino network, constantly trying to see what blings big. That's why I wouldn't get involved in trying to build a series on Fox. Also, they killed Wonderfalls and I'm still hurting.

8:55 PM

Blogger af said...

Do NOT wish the death of The Office, how dare you!

But I understand where you are coming from.

11:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For review:

When selecting pilots, networks like to match up show that they already have on the schedule. So if a show is picked up from this year that has a show that has been dropped on either side of it's spot on the schedule try to write a spec that mathches the show that got picked up.

And since Atlas skipped this one, if Fox really drops Arrested Developemnt on Monday and keeps Nanny 911 write a hapless Nanny and/or parent sitcom.

10:33 PM


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