Writer's Strike...Does anyone actually notice?

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Jedimarine, Dec 29, 2007.

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  1. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I know it's a cheap shot, but are you sure they couldn't be replaced with an automated computer program? Just run a find/replace to update the names on the script & let it run.
    Also, I would argue that the "professional" writers are having a hard time writing a funny sitcom script--I haven't seen or heard of one in years. Last American sitcom I saw that was funny at all was "Three's Company," which was just a remake of the British "Man About the House." OK, you have the Simpsons and Futurama, which were good for a giggle. Most of what I've seen when I had the misfortune to look was jr high potty humor with adult actors. How these shows remain on the air is beyond me.
    Here's a test: watch an episode of any american sitcom you like. Then watch an episode of "Waiting for God". See which one is funnier.
  2. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    There have been plenty of funny American sitcoms. I hardly watch any sitcoms myself these days, but I remember finding Frasier, Seinfeld, and Scrubs often very funny. The Lary Sanders Show was pretty incredible, too.

    We (UK) have made more bad sitcoms than good ones, I think. It's just the way it goes.
  3. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Believe me, if the studios considered it even remotely viable, it would already have happened.

    The Colbert Report and Daily Show are pretty funny. I also think South Park has hit some new highs in recent seasons.

    Besides that, I was just using sitcoms as an example. This isn't ABOUT sitcom writers, or dramatic writers, or talk show writers, or movie writers. This is about ALL writers. The job is not easy to do at all, and it's especially difficult to do well.
  4. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    True.
    I find, however, that the British system seems to produce better quality (some shows not withstanding). I think part of that is that they go for quality over quantity. Most Britcoms have 6-episode seasons instead of the US 20+. Taggart has the title for "Longest Running Police Drama" even though the seasons are three 3-part stories, making 9 episodes per year. Heck, that show has kept going even after the title actor died. Some shows (Prisoner, Blake's 7, new Doctor Who) have 13-episode "long" seasons. The result of the shorter season/series, however, seems to be much better writing.
    Or maybe it's just coincidence.
  5. anakinandpadmedoomed Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2007
    star 4
    I am well aware how "hard" writing is.
    They need to do something bold or they really wont get anything solved. Otherwise I could care less.
  6. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    This is something I've always wonder about. Why do British TV series have such limited runs? As soon as you grew to like a new show it's already over, maybe for good.

    I can't even bear the thought of what Frasier or Lost might have been like if they had only produced twelve episodes.
  7. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Concise and to the point? ;) Maybe funnier?
  8. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    LOST is like a good novel and watching the story unfold and grow over a period of time is one of the great pleasures of it. And one of the great pleasures of any show that lasts a long time. I enjoy seeing characters grow and change over time.

    As for Frasier do I want 12 episodes of funny or 264 episodes of funny? To quote Frasier "If less is more, just think how much more more is." [face_laugh] I love Frasier because it has given me years of entertianment instead of hours.
  9. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I agree with Gobi. Assuming the same level of quality, I would MUCH rather have 100 episodes of Fawlty Towers than the measly 12 we've got. Most comedy series' only really start to hit their stride mid-season, sometimes even all the way into the beginning of the second season. If Fawlty Towers is that funny in the first 12 episodes, God only knows where writing more might have taken it.
  10. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I'm all for quality AND quantity.
    Sadly, those two don't normally go together.
    I'd rather have 6 episodes that are good than 20 that leave me schrugging.
    Waiting for God
    The Good Life (aka Good Neighbors)
    Executive Stress
    To the Manor Born
    Red Dwarf
    All had 6-episode seasons (RD had two 8-ep seasons), but were extremely funny, and did not take 1/2 season to get going. At most, they have the first episode as set-up, and take off from there.

    Other short-season series:
    Blake's 7
    The Prisoner (they actually had to make 4 additional episodes in order to syndicate in the US)
    Star Cops
    Taggart

    If you get a chance, and haven't seen them already, check them out. Waiting for God had 6 seasons. Red Dwarf had 8 (though there were a couple of hiatus' with one of the actors and criminal charges).

    If it takes a show 1/2 a season to get going, why not just throw that 1/2 away? Start with the good scripts.
    A number of shows I did like were very hit-and-miss. It almost seemed to alternate between Good and Awful. Enterprise was very much like that, as was a British comedy called Hot Metal. I'd rather have had 10 good episodes than 20 that avereaged out.

    But that's just me. If I can't have both, I'd rather have quality, and rewatch the episodes.
  11. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    A lot of times it's just a matter of the production getting into a groove, and you can't do that until after the cast and crew have worked together on a few episodes. Not to mention situations where serialistic story elements can't be discarded.
  12. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    In a Qausi related case of strange bedfellows... CBS is recycling Season one of Dexter beginning on Feburary 17
  13. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    For countless years I wouldn't watch Fraiser, thinking they're just a bunch of high-speaking archdukes arguing over wine vintages. The way the Gilmore "machine gun talking" Girls ooh and aah over what to wear for an episode. Then I realised just seriously funny their bickering of vintage wine can be, and situations they tangle themselves in.

    Awesome, just in time for the show to cancel. Studio reruns are my only hope, when they show them.
  14. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Exactly. That's part of building up a good show. The actors and directors have to develop a groove, just as the writers have to develop their groove. That's why in film sequels where the same cast is retained, by and large, they have an easier time working together. They know the nuances of each other and thus they can really work more efficently. Few shows click from day one. They take a few episodes.
  15. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Robert Elisberg has posted a very good FAQ about the writer's strike, addressing many of the questions and statements made in this very thread.
  16. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
  17. Dark_Jedi_Kenobi Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 5
    I'm still hoping for a resolution to the strike in the near future, although it is unlikely that many of the prime time drama seasons will be salvaged/finished. Adding to the tension is the fact that many actors/actresses, whose contract is up in June, have been outspoken with their support of the writers.
  18. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
  19. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 9
    Yeah, Fox News just did an update. They said some shows (ER, CSI, Desperate Housewives, to name a few) might be back by spring. However 24 might be away until next year.
  20. LilyHobbitJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2005
    star 5
  21. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    Check the Ausiello report. There are now some definitive airdates coming up for the shows that are returning this season.
  22. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    Hippy, I guess...

    I've thought Steven Colbert has been funnier without his writers.=D=

    Oh well...glad for the warning that internet video downloads will be going up 2-3 bucks in price.

  23. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 9
    Actually the air dates are academic for me - I'm in the UK so we are usually behind the US on air dates anyway.
  24. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Now, the funny thing there is that NBC dropped all its shows from iTunes, proportedly because iTunes didn't want to raise the price of downloads... hmmm... could the whole strike have been corporate maneuvering to bully iTunes? Or is that just a totally rediculous paranoic fantasy? OK, yeah. Most likely the latter. Check your conspiracy theory websites for details--coming soon.
  25. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    Or could the writers have been motivated to strike by Apple, so that they could raise prices and not look they were gouging subscribers.

    "Sorry folks...but those good writers in Hollywood deserve their share...now..."

    If Itunes goes up before Christmas, you can bet peas to carrots that the strike is the cause or the effect of this...whether the primary reason or not doesn't matter...it's a part.
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