Politics Trumps TV Writing


Steve Hely

The TV writer’s lament: “Who do I have to fuck to get some publicity around here?”

Know why TVWriter™ features TV writers in as many of our articles – and headlines – as we can? One big reason is that even now, in the era of the Star Showrunner-Writer, most media still turn their backs on our beloved wordsmiths.

Today we spotted a truly interesting article about Steve Hely, who has written for shows like 30 Rock, The Office US, The Late Show With David Letterman and American Dad. An enjoyable and educational article by Alex Casey crammed with facts and opinions and insights about the whole TV writing and production process.

But what headline did The Spinoff, the New Zealand website that published it, use?

This one, referring to a very small part of the article:

Where is Steve Hely

Way to support writers, Spinoff!

But even though it pisses us off, we still think you should take a look at what Ms. Casey and Mr. Hely have to say. You can find it RIGHT HERE

Oh, we just noticed something else not cool. The post contains 8 images and 4 videos…and absolutely none of them show us Steve Hely. Trump is there though. Oh yeah.


DOCTOR WHO spinoff starts this October

The class of Class

The class of Class


Can’t help it. News this important needs to be posted PRONTO!

According to the usual reliable sources, the new Doctor Who spinoff, called Class, will be airing on Old Media TV – BBC and BBC America – starting in October.

For more info, click on over to the go-to Doctor Who site, Doctor Who TV

And/or check out this interview with creator Patrick Ness

Tell ’em TVWriter™ sentya. (Or not. No biggie here.)

Wonder what RTD will think of the show.

Diana Vacc sees “Suicide Squad”

suicide squad

by Diana Vaccarelli

 *If you haven’t viewed this film yet be warned this review may contain spoilers!*

The villains of the comic book age have now become the heroes in Suicide Squad.  The U.S Government gives a team of supervillains the chance to do some good in the world.  Lead by Deadshot (Will Smith), the villains are tasked to save the world from an evil, ancient power.


  • The performances and characters are very well done. Will Smith as Deadshot brings a humanity to the character through the tenderness of Smith’s interaction with Deadshot’s young daughter. We see what he fights for and why he chose to accept the government’s offer. I also absolutely loved Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.  She brings humor and honesty to the crazy and made me wish I had a bit more Harley in me. Way to go, Margot!
  • The characterization in general is so well written and directed by David Ayer that I found myself relating to all of them on some level.
  • Similarly, the chemistry between the actors is fantastic.  You feel as though they are becoming a real family.
  • The visual effects are top notch.  One scene with Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and his transformation into a fire demon is truly chilling to see. (Sort of pun sort of intended.)


  • In case you are wondering why I haven’t said much about the plot, it’s because that’s the one place the writing lets us down. I have no idea what the plot really was, or why the aforementioned “evil, ancient power” is doing what it does.
  • Jared Leto as the Joker.  Sadly, instead of coming up with a new take on the character, Leto essentially mimics Heath Ledger’s performance from The Dark Knight. I found this quite disconcerting. It seems to me that if you are going to mimic a performance you should also have the same look. But Leto is a clean cut Joker who doesn’t have the scarred appearance and sense of horrific insanity that Ledger had.

If you’re a comic book and superhero film fan, who can forgive a couple of unfortunate lapses, Suicide Squad should be right up your alley (especially since the Joker is barely in it, and let’s face it, we all know just about every comic book-based plot anyway.


Diana Vaccarelli is the TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large and, in case you haven’t noticed, a HUGE Outlander fan. Learn more about her HERE

Web Series: “Women Over 40 Be Like”


Just wow!

This indie series hits it out of the park. See for yourself:

And again:

Tyree Elaine’s YouTube Channel!

Read this interview about how Tyree Elaine’s videos, in which she imitates her mother and her aunts, have amassed millions of views in mere days – on Facebook, for crying out loud!

TVWriter™ Online Workshops – Late Summer/Fall 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: From yesterday’s TVWriter™ gang email. (Not on the list? Join the in-group HERE.)


Summer is “a goin’ oot,” to badly damage an old Scottish poem, so here’s how things stand as we head for Fall, 2016:

The next Advanced Workshop will start in 2 weeks, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 and end Sept. 28th.

The Advanced Workshop is for writers who understand the fundamentals of storytelling (plotting, characterization, that kind of thing) and screenplay format but don’t yet have the finesse required of professionals. Enrollment for the 158th Advanced Workshop is wide open, and I’m looking forward to working with, at most 4 or 5 talented writer/students.

The next Master Class will start in mid-September, probably Thursday, Sept. 15th, 2016 and continue for a total of 4 weeks.

The Master Class is for professional, or pro level, TV and screen writers. 3 students per session is the absolute top limit, so if you think you qualify, get in touch with me and we’ll talk further.

As I said in our Spring and Summer emailing, no Foundations of TV and Film Writing Workshop has been scheduled for 2016. I apologize for this, but I’m totally booked with work that, try as I may, I just can’t seem to avoid, postpone, or just plain shirk.

You can find a complete overview of TVWriter™ University with links to all its classes, including their amazingly reasonable (and highly affordable) prices, HERE

And if you want to talk to me personally about it, that’s totally cool. Just drop me an email HERE.



Summer TV Hit “Stranger Things” was Rejected “10 to 15 Times”

Further proof that nobody knows anything:

In other words, girls and boys, all those people (like us) who keep telling you not to give up know what we’re talking about. We may not all be speaking from our own experience, but anecdotal advice can still be valid, as the above case in point shows.

Keep writing!

And keep fighting too. The world needs entertainment, maybe now more than ever!

Dennis O’Neil: Superman – What Do We Really Know?


Art by Shawn Van Briesen

by Dennis O’Neil

“Someone has just thrown Lois Lane from an airplane and she’s plummeting Earthward. But today is Humtyglumf Day, the most sacred day in the Kryptonian calendar – a day on which it is absolutely forbidden to rescue falling females. But if I do nothing, in about a nanosecond Lois will squish…”

Full disclosure: I don’t really know if Kryptonians celebrate Humptyglumf Day. On the other hand, I don’t really know if they don’t. Superman seems to have a lot of information about his shattered home world – he seems to knows a lot more about Krypton than I know about, oh…McCausland Avenue where, I have it on reliable authority, I spend the first four years or so of my life. But nothing about politics or religion.

The profit motive partly explains this. I’m thinking of one of my favorite novelists, now deceased. His name was John D. MacDonald and his best known character was/is Travis McGee. McDonald and McGee were, for me, buy-immediately-upon-sighting as I checked out the fresh paperbacks. I don’t know how many McGee novels I read before I realized how little I really knew about our hero. McDonald gave us what seemed to be a heap of personal data about his creation – his friends, his houseboat, his car, his workouts, his opinions of certain cities, his party-timing, all this and more well covered. Yessir, after reading two or five of the books you knew ol’ Trav. But did you? Tell me about his parents, his siblings (isn’t a brother mentioned somewhere?), his home town, the schools he attended, his political preferences, where, if anywhere, he worships…You might be tight with Trav, but you couldn’t fill out his census questionnaire.

I think what McDonald was doing, consciously or not, was employing a bit of literary legerdemain – what Penn and Teller might call “misdirection.” He gives you lots of detail and maybe you don’t notice that he withholds anything that is crucial – anything that might prejudice you against the character. (You don’t like Presbyterians? Well, he’s no Presbyterian!) It’s fair to say that most, if not all, writers of mass-consumption worked a similar dodge. The radio programs and television shows and movies were populated by…well, Americans! Probably ate white bread. Probably went to church (though which church we didn’t have to know.) Probably voted. (But which lever they turned is really none of our concern.)

Comic books? Let’s see…there’s Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker and Tony Stark and Steve Rogers…Nope – not an ethnic name in a truckload. And none of these guys have lapel pins indicating political preference, either.

I can’t decide if this pop culture homogenization has been helpful or harmful to the general welfare. Maybe a bit of both? I have a hunch that its time is almost past, but that’s not today’s topic. Nor is Humptyglumf Day.

Dennis O’Neil is one of the top writer-editors in comics, having guided the careers of just about every superhero the world has ever heard of. He’s also a damn fine writer of TV. LB still remembers that time he and Denny collaborated, without ever knowing they were doing so. Or knowing each other either. Ah, the magic of TV! This post was first published in Denny’s column at ComicMix.