Diana Vacc Sees Wicked City

Nope, this isn't a pic from the TV series. It's from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews.

Nope, this isn’t a pic from the TV series. It’s from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews.

by Diana Vaccarelli

Wicked City is a classic story of a man looking for love…or it is it? The thriller opens up with Kent Galloway (Ed Westwick) hooking up with a young girl on the Sunset Strip in the 1980’s.  

When Kent can’t perform sexually, he pulls out a knife and stabs the woman to death, at which point enter Detective Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) to investigate the murder. From there on you get a classic cat and mouse game, but, sadly not one nearly as interesting as in, say, Criminal Minds.

The Good:

  • The chemistry between Jeremy Sisto and his partner, played by Gabriel Luna. They make the absolute best of their familiar characters, playing the hell out of their roles as rival Cops.

The Bad:

  • Creator and writer Steven Baigelman writes a pilot so offensive to women that it made me cringe. Right before each murder Kent commits, the female victim is down on her knees giving him, well, you know.  And then there’s the fact that Kent himself is so predictable that no matter how hard Ed Westwick, who plays him, tries, there’s no way he can breathe life into the character.
  • We’ve seen all of this before, and most of the time, sadly, we’ve seen it done better.


The one thing keeping me watching this show is Jeremy Sisto. I want to see his Jack Roth character win and keep the bad guy from ever having a chance to bore me again. Sisto is a fantastic actor, who plays the part in a way that saves it from being a typical detective, but not even he can keep this going for an entire series.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As surprising as this may seem to more cynical TV viewers, Diana’s words in her conclusion have proved prophetic. ABC demonstrated a modicum of good sense and cancelled WICKED CITY shortly after we received her review. 

Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Seth MacFarlane Getting WGAW Award

And no, it isn’t for being the Most Unlikable Talent Inflicting Himself on the Public This Year. It’s because whether you like this dude or not, he’s a helluva writer:

How much do you love Seth M?

How much do you love Seth M?

by Patrick Hipes

Seth MacFarlane has been set to receive the WGA West Animation Writers Caucus’ 2015 Animation Writing Award. It’s a lifetime achievement honor for MacFarlane, and will be bestowed tonight in a ceremony at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. He follows Len Uhley, who won the award last year, andThe Simpsons‘ Sam Simon the year before.

MacFarlane created Family Guy and at 25 became the showrunner of the animated comedy, now in its 13th season. American Dad and The Cleveland Show followed, as well as a feature film career as an actor-writer-director, Fox’s science series Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, and a stint as Oscar host. He also is a Grammy-nominated crooner.

Read it all


This is fucking funny. Indie video scores again!

More cool stuff by the creators of this little masterwork!

Forgotten TV Gems: HE & SHE

HE AND SHE Capture 1

by Lew Ritter

In the late ’60s, three networks ruled the airwaves. The Internet and Streaming were not even a gleam in a Sci-fi writer’s eye. Network comedies consisted of rural comedies filled with country bumpkins outsmarting the bumbling city slickers. A big star dominated every show, their gleam illuminated by contrast with a few minor character actors.

In 1967, in the midst of this drought, CBS programmed HE & SHE into the middle of their hit Wednesday night lineup of shows including highbrow fare such as THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GREEN ACRES. It would be a smart urban comedy surrounded by the bucolic waste land. It proved to be the proverbial fish out of water, but only lasted one season.

The brilliance of the show was in three areas:

1) Wonderful Theme Music:

A bright bouncy theme with images of the stars racing in Central Park. In those days, the networks cared about having classy theme songs designed to hook an audience. For example, just about any show using the music of Mike Post included HILL STREET BLUES, ROCKFORD FILES and my favorite, MAGNUM P.I

HE AND SHE Capture2) Impeccable Casting:

Richard Benjamin portrayed New Yorker Dick Hollister – cartoonist and creator of popular comic strip and TV character ‘Jetman’. His real-life bride Paula Prentiss, with her lovely soft southern accent, played his wife Paula – a city traveler’s aid worker. It was very unusual at this point in television history for a TV wife to be working. It seemed to be a normal part of life. In a way, Paula Hollister broke the mold forever.

The fact that the couple were actually husband and wife also helped the believability. They brought a warmth and realism to the parts. Prentiss with her husky, sexy voice, was the perfect foil for husband Dick. Benjamin had a droll delivery that made even ordinary comic lines into polished comedic gems.

Kenneth Mars was an accomplished character actor from Mel Brooks film THE PRODUCERS. He played Harry, the lovelorn fireman. The joke was that the Hollisters lived next to a firehouse. A wooden plank connected the two dwellings. Harry could glide over into the apartment by walking across the plank.

Hamilton Camp played Andrew, the inept handyman, with the wonderful Boston accent.

The crown jewel of casting was Jack Cassidy as Oscar North. Cassidy was obnoxious, egotistical and hilarious as Oscar North, the star of the Jetman TV show. He stole the show, whenever he appeared. Ironically, he later turned down the role of Ted Baxter on THE MARY TYLER MOORE show. He felt that the character was too similar to the Oscar North character.

3) Slick, Sleek Writing:

The show was written by Chris Burns, Allan Hayward, Dave Davis and others who would go onto write for THE MARY TYLER MOORE and many of the MTM hits of the 70’s. Produced by Leonard Stern (GET SMART), it was smart, and funny in the vein of CHEERS and FRASIER. In retrospect, I should have known that the dialog was so good that the show would never last.

Oh, that dialog!

Landlord: (looking around at the apartment) Its’s wonderful, impressive. We’re going to have to raise the rent.

And, after Oscar North brings the ailing Dick a life-sized stand-up of himself as Jetman:

Oscar: Dick, It’s like having me in your room.
Dick: No, Oscar, it’s better than having you there.

At the end of show, Dick recuperates and Paula told him that Harry is going out to purchase some ice cream.

The show was a hit with just about every critic except Cleveland Amory,  TV Guide’s resident curmudgeon. Even Mike Dann, the head of CBS programming program at the time, would call it ” the finest series, I ever cancelled.”

Had HE & SHE been developed just a few years later it might have been part of the MTM stable of beloved and popular comedies. It was unique in the way the writers made the best possible use of its entire cast. The show was filled with actors who could have entire episodes revolving around them instead of just the star. In short, it was the perfect prototype for what we now think of as the Mary Tyler Moore brand of comedy.

Recently, I caught the show in cable reruns and then found some mediocre DVD copies. Even today, it’s top notch.Unlike many shows from the past, HE & SHE definitely stands the test of time.

1,715 Scripted Shows and Nothing On?

Some people are sooo hard to please!

mr_robot_s01e10_stillby Tim Goodman

Five years ago, there was no House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black. Amazon was shipping products, not signing Woody Allen to make television. Nobody thought Jerry Seinfeld, creator and star of one of TV’s greatest series, would make a show for the Internet.

Around that time, I was hired as THR‘s chief television critic, and I would like to think that I knew big changes were coming to the industry — but maybe not this big.

As we burst out of the Golden and into the Platinum Age of Television, the total number of series (and distribution platforms) soared, leaving audiences drunk on choice. It goes almost without saying that qualitatively, television is off the charts today — even with two of the best dramas, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, no longer on the air. There were a total of 213 scripted series in primetime (8 to 11 p.m.) in 2010, broadcast and cable combined, according to data provided by FX Networks. Now there are more than 400, counting broadcast, cable and streaming. Throw unscripted into the calculation, and in 2014 there were a staggering 1,715 shows in primetime. Who would want to sit at a desk and count how many more appeared in 2015? When is it all too much?

What can’t be overstated about the giant swell in TV offerings is the stress it has put on both creator and audience. It’s a gold rush out there for content creators. Everybody wants content. There are more people willing to distribute it than ever. And there essentially are no constraints on what can be depicted.

The downside? Viewers can handle only so many new shows. While they’re certainly expanding their DVR playlists, they’re also less likely to watch in a timely manner and more likely to give up on a show quickly because there is no lack of shiny new options everywhere they look. What this means is you can create a gem like Manhattan, but that doesn’t mean viewers will seek it out it on WGN America. And you can hatch an off-kilter little drama called Fortitude — Michael Gambon! Stanley Tucci! Christopher Eccleston! — but try finding people who’ve ever heard of it, or of the cable channel, Pivot, that airs it.

Read it all at Hollywood Reporter

Alan Moore Advises New Writers to Self-Publish

…Because having to even acknowledge the existence of publishers sucks.

The writer of WATCHMEN, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, SWAMP THING, MIRACLEMAN, and a host of other great comic books is known for his anti-publisher, anti-film studio, anti-who-knows-what-else feelings. Here he is expressing himself while protesting the closing of a library i his homeland, the UK:

YouTube Preview Image

Way to say it, Gandolf. But be careful. Looks to this particular TVWriter™ minion like your cover’s just been blown.