LB: ‘Moonlight’ Writer Shuts Down the Hollywood Bullshit

by Larry Brody

As I said on Twitter last week, my Oscar favorite for this year is Moonlight. I’m rooting for it for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, you name it.

In other words, I’m absolutely recommending that everyone reading this post run out and see the film. But if you need further incentive (oh hell, even if you don’t), you should watch this interview with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the writer whose play of the same name is the basis for the film.

McCraney’s been there. He knows.

munchman sees ‘The Mick’

by munchdaddy

…and yer friendly neighborhood munchlinio lurves it!

THE GOOD:

  • Kaitlin Olson
  • The outrageous depravity of Kaitlin Olson’s character, Mickey, AKA The Mick
  • The writing that gives Kailin Olson so much to work with while inhabiting Mickey, AKA The Mick
  • The writing that actually makes each episode of this series (okay, yeppers, I’ve only seen two, but I’m definitely coming back for more) not just Kaitlin Olson AKA Mickey AKA The Mick being funny but also makes each ep about something, in that way that old folks are always saying TV used to be (Was BONANZA ever “about” something? Really?)

THE BAD:

  • Kaitlin Olson’s character, Mickey, AKA The Mick isn’t exactly somebody we haven’t seen before. It is, in fact, very, very, very much like the character she plays on a little show called Always Sunny in Philadelphia (but who the hell cares? The more KO AKA M AKA TM the better, dammit!)

IN OTHER WORDS

Watch this show. Make your friends watch it. Make your family – you know, those phoney baloneys who always say they’re “disappointed” in what you and your generation create and enjoy – watch ittoo. Maybe they’ll learn something. Even if they don’t, maybe their eyeballs will get The Mick renewed. Again and again and again.

Retro Review: ‘The Girl With Something Extra’

by Doug Snauffer

Like many other independent channels, Get TV kicked off the New Year by revising its programming lineup. One change in particular was the addition of an obscure sitcom from the early 1970s entitled The Girl With Something Extra (NBC, 1973-74).

Most people will have no memory of this short-lived domestic sitcom. It ran for just a single season of 22 episodes before being cancelled unceremoniously by NBC and relegated to deep storage.

Those who do recall the program most likely remember it as a starring vehicle for acclaimed actress Sally Field. She was just 26-years-old when she began work on The Girl With Something Extra, yet she was already a seasoned veteran, having starred in two previous comedies, Gidget and The Flying Nun.

Her third effort cast her opposite the multi-talented John Davidson, an accomplished singer and actor who’d also hosted his own talk show in 1969, as newlyweds Sally and John Burton, who face an unusual dilemma—she has ESP and can read the minds of those around her, including his.

Sally Field and John Davidson in their 1973-74 sitcom The Girl With Something Extra.

Early on, John argues that the situation isn’t fair because it puts him at a disadvantage—she can lie but he can’t. Not about anything diabolical of course, just the little white lies that can save another persons feelings. In an early episode, John—while kissing Sally—has a vision of his celebrity-teen-crush Annette Funicello in a bikini. Sally picks up on it and is furious.

Sally later explains that when she was a young girl her best friend went off to camp for the summer, and when she returned Sally immediately sensed that she was no longer as important to the girl as she’d once been. That all her life she’d been able to read people’s true feelings about her, personal thoughts that most people really wouldn’t want to know. John was then able to realize that both he and Sally were at a disadvantage, but if they both really truly loved each other it was something they’d be able to overcome.

Field was very good in the role. She has that strong screen presence that kept the networks interested in working with her, and eventually launched her into feature films. Davidson is good too, and together he and Field made an attractive couple. They have chemistry together, particularly in their dramatic scenes. Those are the moments in which both leads really shine and when the series is at it’s best.

The real problem with The Girl With Something Extra was in the writing. It’s the type of program that in the 1980s would be branded a “dramedy,” a genre and term that quickly became extinct. The writers didn’t seem to know which direction they wanted the show to go in—was it a comedy or drama, an old-fashioned comedy or an attempt to explore the trials and tribulations of a modern marriage in the liberal ’70s.

Sally Field’s character had ESP and could read minds. I’m thinking John Davidson was one lucky guy.

The series did have the benefit of a strong supporting cast. Jack Sheldon played John’s brother Jerry, and Zohar Lampert was Sally’s best friend, Anne. Henry Jones and William Windom, two of television’s best and most recognized character-actors, had recurring roles as Owen Metcalf and Stuart Kline, the senior partners at Jack’s law firm.

It all sounded like a recipe for success—or might have a decade earlier.

MeTV has scheduled The Girl With Something Extra weekday mornings at 7:20 a.m. following Nanny and the Professor (ABC, 1970-71) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (ABC/NBC, 1968-70). Appropriate company; Both of its lead-ins were shows about couples in which one partner had supernatural abilities.*

Other programs that The Girl With Something Extra can be favorably compared with include Bewitched (ABC, 1964-72), I Dream of Jeannie (NBC, 1965-70), My Living Doll (CBS, 1964-65), and My Brother the Angel (CBS, 1965-66). These shows all debuted in the 1960s when such fantasy concepts were in vogue with TV viewers.

By the early 1970s, though, the television landscape had begun to change. CBS ditched their rural sitcoms in favor of more sophisticated comedies like All In the Family (CBS, 1971-79) and Maude (CBS, 1972-78). NBC placed The Girl With Something Extra on Friday evenings at 8:30 following its established hit Sanford and Son (NBC, 1972-77).

Sanford and Son co-stars Redd Foxx (left) and Demond Wilson (right) were a hit, but their lead-in couldn’t save The Girl With Something Extra.

The scheduling choice seems to indicate that NBC had very high expectations for The Girl With Something Extra.  At the time in 1973, Sanford and Son was the #2 rated program on TV, making the time-slot following it choice prime-time real estate.

Unfortunately, the two shows simply weren’t compatible.  Sanford and Son was a gritty sitcom with an all-black cast that was fueled by race-inspired humor.  The Girl With Something Extra was an old-fashioned, fantasy-tinged sitcom about a young, upwardly-mobile, upper-middle class white couple who lived in a loft they couldn’t possibly afford. (Say that three-times fast.) NBC obviously gave it the post-Sanford and Son birth in the hope it would retain the large audience enjoyed by its lead-in. But that simply wasn’t the case. Viewers of Sanford and Son tuned out in droves at the bottom of the hour.

By midseason, the network realized its error and in January, in an effort to salvage the program, moved it from 8:30 to 9:00 (in the process cancelling the freshman sitcom Needles & Pins, which had been occupying the time slot). The move, however, failed to improve the shows performance, and The Girl With Something Extra was cancelled in March of 1974.

Sally Field of course moved on to success in both television and feature films, earning accolades for her roles in the TV miniseries Sybil (1976) and feature films like Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Norma Rae (1979), while John Davidson continued to pursue both his singing and acting careers. He again hosted his own talk show (NBC, 1976; syndicated, 1980-82) and in 1986 became emcee of The New Hollywood Squares (syndicated, 1986-89).

Only angels have wings, but that didn’t stop Sister Bertrille (Sally Field) from taking flight in The Flying Nun.

Fields’ earlier efforts, Gidget and The Flying Nun have both played in syndication, but The Girl With Something Extra has been buried since it went off the air in 1974. Now, thanks to retro-TV networks like Get TV, viewers have an opportunity to see it again, along with many other obscure and mostly forgotten programs like it.

________________________________

* The nature of Nanny’s incredible intuition was never explained, and she and Professor Everett maintained a platonic relationship, yet had the series continued I suspect romance might have blossomed. And Carolyn Muir and the late Captain Daniel Gregg also maintained a chaste association, but there was an undeniable attraction between the two. It always confused me that the Captain could be seen and heard when he wanted to be, and could interact with the living. So why didn’t he simply do so and claim to be one of his own descendants, and marry Carolyn? Perhaps he would have, but like Nanny and the Professor, the run of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was cut far too short.


TVWriter™ Contributing Editor Douglas Snauffer is an Ohio-based freelance writer. His work has appeared in myriad publications and on SyFy Channel and includes several cult horror films and the books The Show Must Go On and Crime Television. Learn more about him HERE

Web Series: ‘Choose Your Own McGursky’

Whoa! This is pretty damn funny.

And exhausting.

Why?

Watch and see, brothers and sisters. But here’s a clue: You can choose your own %$#@! ending! (Over and over and….)

Found on Stareable

Why You Need a Mentor

Extremely valuable advice for anyone embarking on a new career. Yep, even writers…honest!

by Eric Ravenscraft

Having a mentor is a great way to gain experience and knowledge that’s not easy to gain from formal education. Ironically, getting the most out of your mentor doesn’t come with a handbook. So we wrote one.

 Of course, you may wonder why you need a mentor at all. Simple! You don’t know everything. Sorry rebellious youth. The truth is that most people who are just starting out don’t really know how to get what they want and even fewer know how to ask for it. Finding a mentor in the field you want to pursue is a great way to learn the necessary skills and career paths you need.

Choosing the right mentor is the most important part of getting the most from one. A good mentor can teach you how to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. So first, ask yourself what you want to do. Want to write a book? Start a business? Learn to code? The best mentor will be one who knows how to do what you want to accomplish (and, ideally, has done it successfully before).

Of course, what you want to accomplish doesn’t have to be limited solely to a job. Being a manager is something many people can do. Being a good manager is another thing entirely. A good mentor shouldn’t just be one that knows more than you, but one that appeals to you. Try to imagine yourself in the position they’re in. If that’s an idea you’re okay with, move forward. If you dread the idea of becoming the type of person they are, keep looking. Becoming successful and being miserable aren’t intrinsically linked….

Read it all at Lifehacker

PASSENGERS – ADRIFT IN OUTER SPACE SEEKING A PLOT

Film Review by Lew Ritter

PASSENGERS is the mega-budget pairing of two A-List stars in what promised to be the must see Sci-Fi thriller of the Christmas Season. It is about the giant Starship Avalon, a giant spaceship /arc containing five thousand sleeping passengers. They are hibernating in pods on a one hundred twenty year journey to a green, undisturbed new planet.

Along the way, the spaceship suffers a meteorite strike, and one of the pods malfunctions. It belongs to JIM PRESTON (Chris Pratt) an engineer looking for a new life. He had spent most of his life savings starting a new life on the new world. Jim awakens from hibernation. To his dismay, he awakened ninety years before the ship would reach its final destination.

Jim becomes the modern Robinson Crusoe of outer space. He is alone on a giant technological marvel of a space ship with all the amenities except company. ARTHUR (Michael Sheen) is Jim’s Friday, a chatty, robot bartender. After a year of solitude, the joys of the technology have worn thin and his thoughts turned to suicide. He steps out of the ship’s airlock and for a moment, contemplates plunging into the dark void of space.

After more than a year of aching grief and loneliness and growing a grizzly beard, Jim glances into one of the pods and sees a gorgeous young blonde. He is rescued by the discovery of a sleeping capsule containing AURORA LANE (Jennifer Lawrence). Enamored with his “sleeping beauty”, he examines her life story and database. She is a gorgeous young writer from Manhattan, who sought to explore and write about the new world.

Driven by his loneliness, he suffers pangs of guilt about whether to release Aurora from her hibernation. At the end of Act One, he caused Aurora’s pod to malfunction. At last, he has company, but at a great price.

Act Two is devoted to the charming, budding romance between the lost lovers. However, drifting below the surface is the dreaded truth about Jim’s actions.

Arthur accidently reveals the truth and Aurora flies into a rage. She struggles to deal with her situation, as Jim vainly attempts to make amends.

The Third Act jumps into high gear as Jim and Aurora race to stop the ship’s computer systems from malfunctioning and destroying the ship. It features some extraordinary visuals as the pair risk a dangerous spacewalk to prevent the ship from exploding.

Aurora risks everything to rescue Jim who has floated away from the spaceship. This is high octane excitement, but too little too late to fight off the snooze factor.

THE GOOD:

In the last few years, it has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition to see Jennifer Lawrence star in a movie.

She is a talented actress whose name has become a guaranteed box office draw. In the past several years, her Xmas contribution to movie pleasure have been AMERICAN HUSTLE and JOY.

Chris Pratt became a star after appearing in the whimsical, sleeper hit GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and solidified it with his heroic turn as a scientist/adventurer in JURASSIC WORLD. His performance pumped up the action and fun of JURASSIC WORLD and turned it into one of the most popular movies in the Jurassic Park series.

Pratt and Lawrence are effortlessly charming and would make a fantastic cast for a great romantic comedy. Pratt brings a naïve working class charm to his role of Jim. Lawrence is elegant and brings a soulfulness to her role of Aurora.

Despite the charm of the two stars, however, there is no one else to play off except for Arthur, the bartender. Sheen plays Arthur with a perpetual smile and an amount of congeniality and earns some of the best lines of the movie.

THE BAD:

The plot or lack of it. We are asked to believe that a giant spacecraft with 5,000 people aboard has no provision whatsoever for getting struck by an asteroid or dealing with any disaster.

The crew is unavailable to help in the event of an asteroid or other disaster. They are hibernating behind impregnable doors. Despite being a technological marvel, there is no way for our two main characters to return to blissful hibernation. The corporation that launched the ship is light years away on planet Earth, unable to being contacted in case of an emergency.

Lawrence Fishburne appears briefly as GUS, a crewmember released from his hibernation, when a passing meteorite strikes the ship. His role appears to be more of a plot device than a full scale character.

He informs Jim and Aurora that their ship is facing destruction with the malfunction of the computer systems. He gives them instructions on how to save the ship from pending disaster before conveniently dying of a heart attack.

CONCLUSION:

This script supposedly ranked high on the BLACKLIST website. It was directed by the highly regarded director of THE IMITATION GAME. Surprisingly, this script did not receive a Pass from the many executives or their readers during its journey to the big screen Notes should have included lack of action, lack of secondary characters for the main characters to interact, and meaningful character development. This should have sent it back for a major rewrite.

The biggest mystery of all is how two A-List talents were convinced to star in this movie. The final voiceover sends the movie off on an optimistic note, but it is not enough to save it from tepid word of mouth reviews and sinking at the box office.


Lew Ritter is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer. Learn more about him here.

ABC Midseason (2017) Series & Specials Premiere Schedule

by TVWriter™ Press Service

Who lovesya, baby?

THURSDAY, JANUARY 26
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Scandal” (Season Six Premiere)
10:00-11:00 p.m. “How to Get Away with Murder”

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – THURSDAY, MARCH 2
9:00-11:00 p.m. “When We Rise”

SUNDAY, MARCH 5
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”
9:00-11:00 p.m. “Time After Time” (Two-Hour Premiere)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Designated Survivor”

THURSDAY, MARCH 9
10:00-11:00 p.m. “The Catch” (Season Two Premiere)

SUNDAY, MARCH 12
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Time After Time” (Time-Period Premiere)
10:00-11:00 p.m. “American Crime” (Season Three Premiere)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29
8:30-9:00 p.m. “Imaginary Mary” (Sneak Peek)

TUESDAY, APRIL 4
9:30-10:00 p.m. “Imaginary Mary” (Time-Period Premiere)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24
8:00-11:00 p.m. “Dirty Dancing”