Do Writers Rooms Really Make TV “Better?”

Variety.Com, which as we all know is a totally unbiased source that we can trust with our very beings, brings us this investigative report:

americanhorrorby Debra Birnbaum

The writers’ room has become a staple of American television production. But look to our British friends across the pond, and they’ve got other ideas. Imagine: one writer, penning all the episodes of a show. No writers’ room. No shared concept. Just single vision, single author, executed from start to finish by the creator.

“Every writer would cravenly admit they would want to write their shows themselves,” says Steven Moffat, the famed British scribe with a long list of credits, including “Coupling,” “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock.”

Throughout his career, he’s worked on series with both production models. “The writers’ room came about because we have huge volumes of episodes to make.” It’s simply more practical, he says, for shows with long runs like “Doctor Who.”

But for shorter-run series, the Brits say the single-author strategy is more creatively satisfying. Which means it fits especially well in the miniseries category.

Noah Hawley pulled it off with FX’s “Fargo.” It’s his vision from start to finish. He had eight of the 10 episodes written before the show was even cast. And though he used a writers’ room and is paying homage to the Coen brothers, there’s no question it’s an auteur-like execution. (Writer Nic Pizzolatto went solo for “True Detective,” but whether that’s a miniseries is, well, another story.)

The Brits would approve.

Take BBC America’s “Luther,” as executed by Neil Cross. “Neil Cross pitched us ‘Luther’ as a big powerful detective where you would know the murderer right at the top of the show, you’d watch him battle his demons and the murderer, and then watch him bring him to justice,” says Kate Harwood, head of drama for the BBC, which produced “Luther,” now in its third season.

Read it all