Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First season of Harry's Law.

It's not exactly a secret that I'm a fan of Harry's Law's creator David E. Kelley. After all, he's the guy behind shows like Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally Mcbeal, Boston Public and Boston Legal.

Over the years I've been rather religious when it comes to watching his shows. His best shows (Picket Fences being probably the best) are about soul, substance and entertainment.

Also, about meaning, significance and relevance.

When Kelley brings his A-game, he's one of the best writers that has ever existed. On the other hand, when he doesn't deliver - and to be honest, that too has happened many times - his writing is pretty weak. Girls Club, Wedding Bells, Snoops..., uh oh.

The first season of Harry's Law?

Well, it was okay, but unfortunately, not consistent enough. There were parts that worked very well: Kathy Bates, Paul Mccrane, Christopher Mcdonald and Nate Cordry. The rest of the characters, unfortunately, didn't.

The shoe store stuff didn't work either and one can hope that they move to another place in season two. This original setting was meant to provide an underdog feel to the show, but in the end it felt pretty forced and contrived.

What was good about the show, not surprisingly, was the courtroom stuff. There's something genuinely great about the way Kelley writes these scenes. Somehow he manages to spellbind the audience and make it feel like we're living and taking part in those decisions.

That's because Kelley, like his mentor Steven Bochco, go with idea that the we (the audience) are not idiots and the our judgement matters. When you watch Harry's Law, it clearly shows.

But that doesn't mean that it's easy to write that well. For example, let's take a look at this another lawyer show, The Good Wife.

The Good Wife has cases that aren't really interesting or clever. The characters are bland and the dialogue is almost ridiculously forced. In the end, there's no real debate about the issues. I'm personally still having nightmares about that Michael J. Fox episode. It was that bad.

But thankfully we have our Kelley and if we do get a second season for Harry's Law, I just hope that he figures out what didn't work and fixes those problems. If that happens, it's going to be all good.

Oh, and here's a recent interview of him by the way:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dehumanizing characters: The Big Bang Theory.

Here's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen.

The Big Bang Theory's scripts for some reason use last names for two of their characters: Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali.

I have no idea why they do that.

Not only are Koothrappali and Wolowitz rather hard to write and pronounce, but it also dehumanizes Howard and Raj. To me it's almost like describing them as character X and character Y.

I think that's simply wrong.

For example, could you imagine if scripts for Friends had Chandler Bing as 'Bing' or Rachel Green as 'Green'?

I don't think so. Thankfully that didn't happen. We had Chandler and Rachel (and Joey and Ross and Phoebe).

I'm not saying that there can't be any exceptions. House for example uses House for Dr. Gregory House. But that's okay because House is an abbreviation and well, House has an attitude.

But when it comes to The Big Bang Theory, I have no idea what Lorre and Prady were thinking.

No wonder the show lacks character development. You can't develope your characters unless you treat them as real human beings.

Shame on you guys with your last names.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lessons from the cancellation of Two And a Half Men.

I think this incident shows how important it is for everyone's well-being that the showrunner delivers quality scripts for the show.

I think it also shows what may happen when the star (actor) of the series is more talented than the showrunner himself.

It's not exactly a secret that 2 1/2 Men has been pretty awful since season three. It's not a secret either that Charlie Sheen is more talented than Chuck Lorre.

I doubt anyone saw this incident coming. But it shouldn't surprise us that the target here is Lorre and the person making accusations is the guy from Platoon.

The lesson here is that if you're a showrunner and your star starts calling you a hack, you'd better be prepared.

The best defense you can think of is very easy and simple.

Don't be a hack.

It solves so many problems at once.

Just don't be a hack.

I mean,

the cast will be happy.

The crew will be happy.

The network will be happy.

The audience will be happy.

Even members of the academy are going to be happy.

Only thing you need is : don't be a hack.

The problem with Chuck Lorre is that he doesn't have a defense.

Which is to not be a hack.

Now, I'm not saying that it solves your every problem as a showrunner but it certainly is a good start.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice 2011.

Two episodes in of this latest season of Celebrity Apprentice and I think I already have a pretty good idea of what's going on in here.

If you're like me, you like underdogs and don't like egomaniacs and divas. You like positive, humble people and dislike people that are negative, superficial and shallow.

So you probably tend to like a guy like Gary Busey and hate a person like Star Jones.

I mean, hate is a rather strong word but Star Jones really seems like a horrible horrible human being.

But that's cool. I'm okay with that, as long as she gets fired as soon as possible.

Unlike Richard Hatch, she doesn't seem to have any self-awareness at all, which is a really bad thing in a competition like this.

Other than that, I have to say that Dionne Warwick didn't impress me either.

Jose Canseco seems like a harmless goofball despite the steroids.

LaToya Jackson doesn't seem that bad and it was nice how Trump told us that her brother was a really good person.

Meat Loaf seems like a great guy and the country singer John Rich is apparently down to earth too.

Also, I have already been proven wrong this season. Because supermodel Niki Taylor seems like a really lovely person and rapper Lil Jon has impressed me too.

Obviously this season won't be as good as last season was. But I guess that's okay too. Nothing wrong with underdogs like Bret Michaels but I seriously doubt anyone wants to see a contestant almost dying in the competition this year.

I expect Marlee Matlin to win. Not because she's deaf or smart, but because she used to date David E. Kelley.