Thursday, October 12, 2006

Television

Last summer, I went to an event at the Television Academy and one of the producers of SCRUBS pointed out that whenever he tells people what he does for a living, people always respond with "I don't really watch television."

What is it about television that people are ashamed to admit they watch it? I think right now we're in somewhat of a renaissance in television, particularly with sitcoms. I'd say the batting average for TV is significantly higher than feature films right now. And with Tivo, I can skip the commercials.

The shows I watch tend to fall into a number of categories:

Live-action sitcom:
MY NAME IS EARL
THE OFFICE
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
SCRUBS

One thing you'll notice about these sitcoms is they are all single-camera, and several are mockumentaries. I think the multi-cam sitcom is close to dead. I also loved ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, but it was cancelled. It's rerunning on G4.

Animation:
THE SIMPSONS (jumped the shark a few years ago, but I still watch)
KING OF THE HILL (probably past its prime by a year or two)
FAMILY GUY
AMERICAN DAD
SOUTH PARK (still relevant after all these years)
BOONDOCKS
FUTURAMA (coming back soon!)
ROBOT CHICKEN (stop-motion animation)

Sci-fi:
BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA
I also sometimes watch STAR TREK or QUANTUM LEAP reruns. Otherwise I generally don't watch one-hour dramatics.

Animal shows:
Pretty much anything on Animal Planet. I like documentaries in general and watch material the Discovery and History as well.

Sports:
Baseball & Football
(I was glad to see St. Louis lose tonight, especially with Jeff Weaver pitching.)

News programs

JEOPARDY. When I was a kid I watched it all the time, and when I was recovering in the hospital, it was a big help in getting my brain back to normal wile recovering.

And finally, DAVID LETTERMAN and CONAN O'BRIEN. I only watch once in a while, but they are still pretty funny.

I think one of the reasons TV gets a bad rap is reality shows. Believe me, I hate them more than anyone, as they have cost me a lot of work. They are bad television, but some of them are still watchable. We watch AMERICAN IDOL. It's very addicting. And entertaining.

As someone who works in both TV and film, I've never understood the snob attitude of people who insist on working in film only. Let's face it, working on a movie for HBO or Showtime is almost exactly like working on a low-budget feature. (Better, in some ways.)

And, given the choice, there's a lot to be said for the regular work environment of episodic television. It's a good paycheck for half the year, when in features, you spend at least three-quarters of your time looking for work.
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