TVWriter™’s Most Popular Posts of the Week Ending 3/27/15


Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

Peggy Bechko: More Online Writing Resources

Cara Winter sees Broadchurch & Finds It (OMG!) Wanting

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With EMPIRE’s Wendy Calhoun

Peggy Bechko Blogs: Where Do All Those Writers’ Ideas Come From?

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Teleplay

The Logline


Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Cara Winter sees Broadchurch & Finds It (OMG!) Wanting

The Anglo Files #13
by Cara Winter

Maybe it’s because I am currently attempting to write a gasp-worthy, twisty-bendy, shock-ya-shock-ya mystery pilot myself, lately I have spent a lot of time thinking about BROADCHURCH.

Much lauded during it’s first season, I sat down and basically binge-watched the entire first season… and for most of it, I was stunned. It was tremendously well made, well acted and pretty to look at.

And then came the final episode of season 1… and,  NO.  Just, NO.


The show begins with the murder of a young boy, and the local P.D.’s investigation, led by two detectives (Miller, played by Olivia Coleman and Hardy, played by David Tennant), an odd couple if ever there was one, each with their own baggage.

During the investigation (which lasts the entire first season), Miller and Hardy suspect almost every soul in town… including the boy’s father, played masterfully by Andrew Buchan (the depth and power of this actor’s emotional life takes your breath away – he’s one to watch, no doubt about it).

As the investigation unfolds, one by one people are eliminated as suspects, usually by way of something unsettling, foul, or just not what you’d expect from the ‘good folk’ of a small seaside town.  These twists make for compelling viewing, as each suspect transforms from angel, to devil, to ordinary flawed human being in a single episode.

I especially loved the storyline of trailer park matron Susan Wright (played by journeyman actress Pauline Quirke, who’s been doing this longer than I’ve been alive).  At first glance,  Susan was sullen, mean,  sinister even…I, for one, was sure she’d done it.  But scratch the surface, and all we have in this person is another heartbroken (and innocent) soul, looking for peace, and forgiveness, and a clean slate.

But it all came crashing down during the final moments season 1, when ‘he who done it’ was revealed.  The way the killer gives himself up – awful.  The confession, right there on the spot.  Terrible.  A full-on “I just couldn’t take it anymore!” breakdown…  ERGURAAAGG, it made me want to crawl through my TV and strangle somebody.  It just felt cheap, and beneath them, after an entire season of gorgeousness!

As Season 2 was about to premiere on BBC America, I pressed on.  Aaaand, things got worse.  For one, Hardy’s backstory (failing to get a conviction, over in another town, for a different murder) has now become a front-story  (is that even a thing?!)!   Meaning, the characters from this old case… are now here, and inexplicably living in Broadchurch.  WHAT?!

It was bad enough when Hardy was having some sort of life-threatening medical condition in season 1… but now, this?  His past isn’t just going to figuratively haunt him — it’s going to actually haunt him?   I can’t handle it.  It’s too much drama in one man’s life.  And especially for the incredible Tennant, it’s heartbreaking to see such an actor being used so thoughtlessly.

This is not to say BROADCHURCH (or, as I like to call it, DAME-RECTORY) can’t still redeem itself.  But it was informative for me, as a writer, to review when and how they lost me.  It brought me to this realization:  You have to tread very, very carefully, when working in realism.

When you’re writing about a bunch of zombies, or a masked, winged crime-fighter, or Charlie Sheen as someone you’d leave your child with… you have a certain amount of creative license.  You’re already asked the audience to take a huge leap with you, so suspending their disbelief again for maybe a cheaply placed plot point — whatever, it’s BAT-MAN, what’s plausible about that, to begin with?

But with a show steeped in realism, you cannot make a single illogical mistake.  You cannot underestimate your audience’s intelligence; you cannot cheat them, and you cannot trick them.  You cannot haphazardly pick “dramatic” plot points; you must create real, emotional human drama.

And, above all else, you must employ logic.  You have to tap into your inner Spock and ask, “What is the logical thing to do?” and then let that play out, beat by beat, detail by detail, moment by excruciating moment.  Yes, even if the star is David Tennant.

I’ll keep tuning in, for now.  I suppose I’m still curious.  But, sadly, I’m not counting the days and hours until the next episode airs.  And these days, the countdown (hashtag #countdown!) is the whole ballgame.

Cara Winter is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

Robin Reed: My Most Favorite Thing on TV Right Now

Hmm, doesn't look like a Henson muppet to us., but what do we know?

Hmm, doesn’t look like a Henson muppet to us., but what do we know?

by Robin Reed

The show that I have to stop and watch every time I come across it these days is “No, You Shut Up!”

Host Paul F. Thompkins discusses current events with a panel of puppets who seem to be forgotten relics from the Henson Creature Shop storage shelves. There is usually a human guest also, though he or she is usually forced to answer only in rap, or while doing impressions, or something else very silly.

The show is on the Fusion Network, which probably has other shows but I don’t know what they are. I don’t know exactly when the official air time of the show is either, I just find it while flipping channels, and when I do I have to stop and watch.

I do know that the Henson company does have a role in producing “NYSU!,” a credit at the end says “Henson Alternative.” Maybe some of the younger people are making it without telling Brian Henson.

Or maybe Jim has…returned?

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Hank Isaac’s LILAC Going to the Golden Egg Film Festival


…cuz the pilot has been chosen as an official festival selection. It’ll be screened in May at the Tribeca Theater in New York City.

Great going, Hank and the Lilac, um, Gang!

More about the Golden Egg Film Festival

Web Series: BOZOS


Do you love bozos? Or are you one?

We’re still trying to figure out what this series is all about. (Um, we think that’s a plus cuz let’s face it, one of the major problems with most TV shows is that nothing needs to be figured out.

BOZOS deserves many more views than it seems to have. Don’t believe us? Check it out:

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See more BOZOS

James Franco’s Advice for Showbiz Newbs


…And others as well. Of course, for this to have any meaning, you have to like respect James Franco and his talent success:

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