facebook_pixel Press "Enter" to skip to content

Looking to start your TV writing journey?

Posts tagged as “Dollhouse”

Seven Years of TV Analysis

We’ve taken a long glance at a lot of TV shows over the past seven years.
In fact, I’m usually pretty vocal about shows I love, and shows I…do not.

Before the age of Ultron TV marathons and binge-watching had arrived, I pointed out “why mythological shows are often idolized.” I’d probably broaden the scope to “serialized shows” now, but most of my points still stand:

In marathon-like screenings, the mind is somewhat submissive to the story told and the episode. The brain is passive, not active. You don’t have time to really think about the many twists and turns since you’re watching them unfold. You’re “eating” away the episodes, not “digesting” them. Everything will probably seem to blend into a unified storyline instead of finite stories broadcast every week or so with hiatus lasting months in-between seasons. Watching the first three seasons of Battlestar back-to-back won’t be the same thing as having been there since 2003.
For one thing, you didn’t theorize during Season One or Season Two. That might not seem all that important, but not being able to think for several months or years (or even only days in the case of a marathon) about who the twelve Cylons are won’t make you aware of how preposterous the introduction of the Final Five during the show’s third Season is. If you care a little bit about a show, you’ll surely think about it, start asking yourself questions. Let’s be honest, we all have way too much time on our hands and we love to theorize. Shows such as BSG or Lost work because you can theorize about them all day long… Until you can’t due to a faulty mythology.
Turns out, when watching episodes back-to-back you don’t have months to think about “what’s in the Hatch” or anything else that deserves theorizing. You’re not expecting special answers either, so you rarely end up disappointed either.

Since we’re on the topic, I did expand in another article on my love-hate relationship with Battlestar Galactica (as the show concluded six years ago).
And speaking of finished shows–
There was this post on why Dollhouse might be renewed, and a counter-post on why Dollhouse would be canceled. Turns out I was right on both ends. It would get a second season, thanks to some of the elements I brought up, and then subsequently would get canned, again mostly due to the aforementioned reasons. Looking back, it’s interesting to see that even at the time I was alluding to the concept of “brand” for writers. Namely, Joss Whedon’s geek appeal. (Part of which would get him the Avengers gig later on.)

As I said previously, I often voice (or write) my opinion on shows, even if it’s a negative one. One such example (and disappointment) was with the series premiere of FlashForward. For over a year, I had hyped the show. I loved the script, Iloved the cast, I was anxious for the final result. Unfortunately, the finished product left a lot to be desired:

Overall, what worked on the page didn’t work on screen.
I don’t blame the writing though, I blame the plain directing and editing.
A two-hour premiere would probably have given enough time to develop both the story and the characters. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. Better luck next time.

Although more optimistic, Lordy wrote at the time about two cult-adjacent series in Better Off Ted and Medium.

In science-fiction show news, I expanded on the unoriginality of Fringe. First I tackled its resemblance to The X-Files, before comparing its alt-world dichotomy to that of Sliders.
And we shan’t forget Heroes, now incidentally coming back from the dead. During its third season, I explained why Heroes should not set an end date.

Haters gonna hate.

Case in point: my 2009 article on the heydeys of Mad Men, or as I called it, “Mad Men: demystifying the overhyped“.

When a single series occupies 80% of all writing nominations despite obvious worthy contenders, when Times Square dedicates a whole evening to said series’ season premiere, when virtually everyone declares it the best series of the year, no matter how good the show actually is, that’s Mad Men.
And Mad Men is being overhyped.

Finally, let’s transition to more positive thinking, and three of our biggest talking points over the past seven years: Lost, Star Trek, and Breaking Bad. Trek was more writing (and Terran)-related, the other two were about their end.
To celebrate all three, we dedicated for each an entire week of brand new in-depth articles. Kind of like what we’re doing now with this site, except with original content.

The first one was the end of Lost, and our Lost Week. On top of articles covering Lindelof/Cuse quotes, Lost parodies and the future of the brand, my main focus was on a big aspect of the show: how Lost revolutionized TV storytelling. One example were its use of flashforwards:

Flashforwards in Lost gave weight to something that was rarely used, or at least not for their sake, but just to give hints of the future. It was the ABC show that truly revealed the potential of such a storytelling technique. The series had showed again that audiences could follow simultaneously two very different timelines. Not since La Jetée have we had such a complex array of timelines, combining both analepses and prolepses. One could argue the writers are trying to catch the lightning in the bottle once more with this season’s flashsideways technique. But all they’re actually creating is a fake sense of nostalgia.

On September 2013, I decided to spec and release a pilot for a new Star Trek show (Terran). We already covered that aspect earlier in the week, which is why I wanted to bring up another post I did on the subject: “Why Star Trek?” — The State of an Enduring Franchise. Beyond my own spec experiment, it was a way to express why we needed (and still need) a new Star Trek series. Here’s a taste:

One of the most interesting trait of the genre has always been that it could serve as an echo of reality. And the world desperately needs a reflection of itself.
You could make a pretty long list of contemporary issues that are begging to be explored (surveillance, social class, role of government, etc.). These are issues that would still be prevalent within the Trek-verse. In fact, the franchise has always been great at taking on societal and moral issues throughout its series (some more contemporary than others).

Even more importantly, Star Trek endures because it always has been forward-looking.
Star Trek stands for hope. Reaching for the sky and going where no one has gone before. It is sending a positive outlook about people. A better humanity, united, and equal. We need Star Trek on TV to inspire society, but also a new generation, people growing up to be explorers in their fields. This is about believing in a better future and striving to better ourselves.

We need a new Star Trek series, not for the fans of the franchise, but for everybody else. We need it for the bigger picture.

What a rallying cry!

Last but certainly not least, we had the end of Breaking Bad, and our Breaking Bad Week. I’m actually even happier with the amount of great, thoughtful articles we did on the show. (Maybe I’ll edit a book with these fancy posts!)
I covered the amazing experimental storytelling of Breaking Bad:

The show took the time to breathe and embrace the real world around it, and feed the humanity of its characters. Consequences and repercussions mattered because of the time spent at building these relationships, this status quo being broken apart. Like a steady hand on the wheel, it knew where it was heading towards. It was spending its time on meaningful moments. Bad was about real emotions, real greed, real jealousy, real fear. All of it stemming from smaller scales. The series was not trying to milk these moments, it was trying to establish context. Even in the craziness of season five, you still had family moments and humorous moments, like Skinny Pete and Badger’s Star Trek conversation.

We talked about the realism of Breaking Bad:

The show was hyper-serialized, and given its time-frame (one year within the story), it couldn’t afford being “ripped from headlines” topical. Nonetheless, it was still relevant. We’ve already seen how the series embraced its everyday roots by showing the “moments between the moments”. And the show proved to be even more receptive to its cartel storylines. Most notably, in the second season, the now-iconic image of a drug informant getting beheaded (and later put on a tortoise). “Extreme” moments that are, actually, completely believable (and similarly happened later in real life). Another great example of an atypical sequence is Los Cuates de Sinaloa’s narcocorrido track inspired by Heisenberg in 2×07 (“Negro Y Azul”). Narcocorridos are traditional Mexican songs with lyrics usually inspired by illegal criminal activities, often cartel-related. Although not a music genre well-known in the States, it nonetheless cements his story within the “real world”.

We braced ourselves for the failings of Breaking Bad:

As a fervent viewer of the show since day one, that season two buildup was one of the biggest cock-teases in recent TV history. It wasn’t as bad as Lost’s smoke monster, or Battlestar Galactica’s Cylon plan, but for a season-long mystery, it was definitely a miniature version.
It may not play out the same now, as you binge-watch the show, but when it came to a weekly viewing, the resolution of such an extended teasing was nothing short of a slap in the face.

A little too harsh? Only time will tell.

And then we talked about the legacy of Breaking Bad, most notably its serialized binge-viewing:

With the advent of Netflix and other great streaming services, Breaking Bad was able to capitalize on its serialization where other shows had previously failed. Word-of-mouth coupled with amazing cliffhangers (i.e. the need to watch the next episode) cemented its online boom.
It started out as a niche show that caught on with the popular success only coming the last couple of seasons. It is without a doubt thanks to the unprecedented access to Breaking Bad’s previous seasons that viewers were able to not only catch up on the show but tune in live for the final episodes. Bad was the first drama to fully benefit first-hand from the one-click-away access to its serialized episodes. Everybody caught on just in time for the final season. With only a couple million viewers watching the series “live” during most of its run, it isn’t a stretch to believe that more people actually watched the show on Netflix than on AMC.

Lots and lots of shows. Lots and lots of great analysis.

I can’t wait to see what I’ve been up to.

The Hungry Hippos: New Outlets for Scripted Fare

Feeling a little down with the network TV landscape? Perhaps you are a writer with a terrific cable show written in spec, but for some reason, you feel that the cable channels can’t host such a daring vision? Well, fear not: since the TV landscape has gotten viciously competitive over the past few years, cable shows have gnawed on the ratings’ pie of the networks. It started in the summer, now it’s year-round. Sons of Anarchy besting the networks, the premiere of SyFy’s Stargate Universe crushing FOX’s Dollhouse….really, you name your example.

Success stories have duplicated for cable networks, who have thrived thanks to critically-loved scripted programming: FX, AMC, TNT, USA… And cable execs used this excellent track record to take bigger responsibilities (I’m looking at you, Kevin Reilly, formerly at FX, then at NBC and FOX).  So, we’re now gonna take a look at four of those fierce new guys in town, who have aggressively developped their dramas and comedies in the past 2 years. They are…

Cable’s Hungry Hippos

And we’re starting with the most recent newcomer:

Now, it’s a very recent premium channe that only has carriage deals with four cable operators so far: Verizon, Cox Communications, Mediacom and Charter Communications. Moreover, the official launch was last October, the day before Halloween. That didn’t prevent Mark Greenberg, formerly at Showtime and appointed president of the new venture, that unites Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM, from scaring up the competition early (see what I did there? You’d rather have not? Oh, OK.) through a development slate that already counts three intriguing projects.

Tough Trade takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, and centers on a family…rather, a dynasty of artists that are left on the verge of bankruptcy after decades of excess. Their only saving grace is the black sheep of the family, a former country artist turned alt-rock crooner (a la Chris Cornell maybe?). Lead role goes to Sam Shepard (The Pledge, Black Hawk Down), and True Blood writer Chris Offutt penned the pilot, which will be shepherded by Jenji Kohan from Weeds fame (and probably a favorite of Greenberg, we guess).

Second project was announced this week. This time, it’s shock jock extraordinaire Larry Charles (Borat, Brüno) who will direct and exec produce a half-hour comedy pilot called iCon. It will center on a scheming Silicon Valley titan that may (or may not….oh, who am I kidding) be loosely based on the life and career of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Here, the writer hired is unlikely, as it’s Dan Lyons, a Newsweek editor that has created a fake Steve Jobs blog and has even made a satirical book lampooning Jobs. Coincidentally, iCon is also the name of a bio book chronicling the rise of Jobs. According to Mike Fleming of Deadline, “Jobs and other titans will certainly inspire iCON at its inception, but the show will lampoon the larger hi-tech world”. iSkeptic.

The third one just was announced. It’s a miniseries based on Ayn Rand’s 1952 epic 750-page novel The Fountainhead. It is centered on the rivalry between two architects and the reporter that chronicles it in a thriving newspaper industry.

Belly prognosis: Great. The three projects developed show great originality: Tough Trade may show a behind-the-scenes look at the heart of country music, and the casting of Sam Shepard is intriguing. iCon has the potential on paper to be a meaner, nerdier The Office. Jury’s still out on The Fountainhead. But, being the direct lovechild of Hollywood studios, as opposed to its premium-cable opponents, Epix will rely on its limitless catalogue in case of failure.

Let’s switch to basic cable, and take a look at…

Owned in equal shares by Hearst and Disney, with a little NBC-Universal thrown into the mix, A&E has been developing dramas and scripted programming of its own for two years. It was, and still is, usually home to a lot of reality TV (Growing up Gotti, Intervention, Criss Angel Mindfreak, Dog the Bounty Hunter). The two first dramas on the air were The Cleaner, kind of a scripted version of Intervention, starring Benjamin Bratt and showrunned by Jonathan Prince (American Dreams). It lasted two seasons, but was cancelled at the end of its sophomore run. Ditto with The Beast, marketed as The Shield meets Wiseguy, and starring Patrick Swayze in his final performance. Due to his untimely cancer and death, the show was cancelled at the end of its first run.

But did those faux pas stop our Hungry Hippo Bob DiBitetto, president of A&E Networks? Hell no! If you took a look at the press release recapping their scripted development slate, last May, it was a catalogue of prestigious names. Kevin Costner! Jerry Bruckheimer! Anthony LaPaglia! Shawn Ryan!

10 months later, all those projects are dead and buried. It came down to two dramas: The Quickening, about, and I quote: “A bi-polar LAPD detective must wrestle with the fact that the medication she has been prescribed makes her “normal” but her disorder, with all the paranoia and risks it comes with, makes her extraordinary.” It was written by Jennifer Salt, formerly on the staff of Nip/Tuck. The other one was Sugarloaf, written by Clifton Campbell (formerly of Profiler and White Collar) and starring Matt Passmore (lead in season 2 of Australian mob drama Underbelly) and Kiele Sanchez (Nikki from Lost….was that a mean credit reminder?). This one is about a homicide cop wrongfully accused of having an affair with his Captain’s wife…and transferred to a small town in Florida. Crime-solver reluctantly transferred to the Sunshine State….sounds eerily similar to Burn Notice? Yep, and that’s also the one show who got picked up for 13 episodes this summer. Other than that? Nothing in sight.

Belly prognosis: Mild, or weak, depending on your optimism. The disappointing visibility in the ratings and the media of their dramas freezed the enthusiasm of our Hungry Hippo. After a flamboyant upfront in 2009, with many established names and interesting subjects, they apparently want to put a light Burn Notice-like on air and it appears they got rid of the rest of contenders. For the channel whose slogan is “Real Life. Drama.”, the speculation for the next May upfront might be a change of slogan: “Real Life. That’s enough.”

The premium pay-per-view channel has begun his development slate with a whisper. It was a series based on the Academy Award-winning drama Crash. The thing is, Dennis Hopper didn’t have enough star power, and was met with critical despise during the course of its two seasons. It changed showrunners, passing from Glen “The Shield” Mazzara to Ira Steven “The 4400” Behr, but no dice. Cancelled without even a soul to care. It’s not alone, either: barely anyone has heard of comedy Head Case, recently cancelled after 3 seasons.

But this misstep was corrected with fresh comedy series Party Down. Carried by a head writer coming off the heels of critical darling Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas, and a talented cast of comedians (Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Adam Scott), it posted good reviews (66 score on Metacritic, among other things), and the network liked it well enough to give another 10-episode season — I couldn’t find any info about the ratings, FYI. And it seems that Starz has found its first hit with Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the period drama starring Lucy Lawless, who averages between 850,000 and 1 million viewers every Friday. Plus, the full-frontal nudity and geysers of blood 300-style made it controversial, if not in the USA, at least in the UK, where a lobby of puritan media watchers, Media Watch UK, was trying to block it from airing. (It failed: British Bravo bought it, and has all the intentions of airing it.)

But it needed a seasoned exec, just like Epix, to take it to the next level. Enter Chris Albrecht, the fiery former HBO executive unceremoniously dumped from the pay-per-view giant after a dark story involving booze and affairs. From its first public appearence after his nomination late last year, at TCA, he understands that Starz needs to stand out from the crowd: “This is alchemy and we’re putting together our chemical formula so I’m a fan of all [Starz original] shows and they are distinct from other shows that are on other networks and they’re distinct from each other as well,” he said in this article. The development slate looks hectic, with another historical drama based on the legend of King Arthur, Camelot, slated to premiere mid-2011. Not to mention the Ridley Scott-produced Pillars of The Earth, a miniseries bought by Starz but independently financed and shot, and slated to premiere in July. It stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Allison Pill, all of whom had recent significant roles in past American TV shows: Kings, Eleventh Hour and In Treatment, respectively.

Belly prognosis: Great. Albrecht’s track record on HBO is unparallelled, and so far they have a strong interest in historical dramas based on key hero figures, but with a more violent and provocative twist. (Camelot is produced by the guys behind The Tudors, light on historical accuracy, but heavy on murders and humping.) On the comedy side, they can go with dark/existential comedy fairly well, since Gravity features characters that made suicide attempts, and still live to talk about it. But while pitching your show, don’t expect HBO-slick production values. For instance, Spartacus was critically mocked for his visual blood geysers, aping 300.

Part of the basic cable channels owned by Turner Entertainment, TBS has focused on off-network  comedy reruns and reality TV shows. But it has recently ramped up its original scripted development, and has a bonafide hit with Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne, and Meet The Browns, with more than 3 million viewers each week. It also broadcast 10 Items Or Less, now cancelled, and Friends-like comedy My Boys, that will be back for a fourth season this summer.

But it is featured there for its hourlong drama development, a novelty since its sister channel TNT has only hourlong dramas, and that was one of the ways you could differentiate their programming. (It also had Men Of A Certain Age, which you could classify as dramedy.) So far, four projects are in development.

Franklin and Bash stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (fresh off the cancellation of Raising the Bar for TNT) and Breckin Meyer as lawyers who win a case against an established law firm, and effectively take them down. They are then hired by the firm’s patriarch, played by Malcolm McDowell. Glory Daze can be described as Greek set in the 1980s, where a socially inept campus freshman (Kelly Blatz, coming from the Disney series Aaron Stone, where he played the lead character) joins the wildest fraternity on the campus. SNL alum Tim Meadows has been cast, along with Julianna Guill, who made an…um…appeareance in the latest Friday the 13th remake.

In Security centers on two sisters who manage a private security company previously run by their father, while, of course, balancing their problems in their family and personal life. Journeywoman of comedy Constance Zimmer has been cast in the project, who comes from Ric Swartzlander, writer on Gary Unmarried and previously on ABC comedy Rodney, and Peter Segal, director of the third Naked Gun movie and Get Smart. It’s also counting Chris Albrecht among its producers.

Finally, from the creator of Monk, Andy Brockman, comes Uncle Nigel, about a Philadelphia cop (Gary Cole) who constantly clashes with his nephew, a rookie in the same police department who never misses an occasion to screw up (role not-yet-cast).

Belly prognosis: Kind of bright, actually. TNT has an excellent track record of developing hit dramas, and the lack of significant original hits make this Hippo hungry. And also likely to give a lot of marketing push to its new dramas, who will be lighter than what you can find on TNT. The development slate looks diverse, with just about something for everybody, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Koonin, head of Turner channels, announces a new “drama” block on TBS for the fall.

Digestive thoughts: We’re looking at cable channels with very different backgrounds, so the chances of them succeeding in launching hit shows are very different. Epix looks the hungriest of them all, having everything to prove, but they also can raise awareness of their brand with their first projects. A&E apparently bit more than he could chew with its stillborn scripted development, and cancellations of its two dramas on-air. Unless next upfront looks as busy as last year drama-wise, I wouldn’t see a lot of future in bringing shows over to them, since they seem to do fine with reality/alternative programming anyway. Starz already has a controversial hit on their hands with Spartacus, but seems to struggle with bringing viewers to its comedies. The arrival of Chris Albrecht can bring the pay-per-view channel the prestige it needs, with many historical dramas to start. Oh, and it will please stockholders too. TBS has a very diverse development slate, but one that counts proven talent (Tim Meadows, Constance Zimmer, Gary Cole, and Andy Brockman on the producing side). A channel to be counted with if you have light, “escapist” entertainment in mind, in the everlasting words of Ben Silverman.

Do you think: why would he finish an epic story with a Ben Silverman quote? I answer: why not?

TV Fall '09: The Complete Review – What is up with the networks

Last year, we took a look at how all the major networks were trying to invest into cross-platform products and Internet-based entertainment (without much success).

This time around, we’re going to check if said major networks have any pulse left with their crazy fall slate changes and schedule moves.

The Network Effect: Between Déjà Vu and Madness

Changing cloned horses in midstream.

CBS’ “new” slate isn’t really all that new. They have about 15 returning shows (including the just-acquired Medium), 11 of which are at their fifth season or more. The least we can say is that the network likes to work with the old (including its main demographic, wink wink), and clearly doesn’t want to invest in original content. Out of the four new series premiering this fall on CBS, we have one spin-off, one medical drama, and a classic sitcom. It’s as if they are scared of fresh ideas.

Going where no network (with half a brain) has gone before.

The biggest ratings everyone is anxiously awaiting to see this year are the ones from Leno’s new 10PM show. We’ve already discussed in length last year (when it was announced) what the various implications such move had and will have on the television industry. There was also Silverman leaving his cushy NBC job last month. That was interesting.
Consequently, the peacock doesn’t have many fresh series this fall, barely three (including two medical shows). Community is probably the funniest new comedy this season, and surprisingly enough, in my mind, well promoted. We’ll see how it fairs under pressure as it will be against Survivor, FlashForward and Bones. This is tough competition to say the least.
And Heroes will probably fail yet again.

Congratulations, you’ve just found the F5 key.

Contrary to all the other networks, ABC brings in this fall an almost massive amount of new shows (count them, eight). Add to that those other three programs for mid-season and you’ve got yourself a pretty hefty slate.
What is interesting to see is that half of those shows are comedies. The Alphabet network is indeed launching this season their own little comedy night full of fresh series. It’s certainly a gamble, especially when you consider the competition: to name a few, So You Think You Can Dance, Glee, Criminal Minds, ands CSI: NY. At least half the sitcoms will probably get the axe, but I do think however that some of them might get better scores than the CBS comedies on at the same time.
We can also notice with this accumulation of series a trend opposite to last year’s. Indeed, with, at the time, literally a single fresh (now canceled) drama, ABC didn’t want to look towards the future and instead buried its head in the sand.
Last season I was talking about how:

ABC [is relying too much] on those 3 hits, [Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy], and I think that around 2010-2011, if they don’t have any new hit series, the network will be in a lot of troubles when said hits won’t be around anymore. The only fresh program this fall on ABC is Life on Mars, how original.

This year however, everything has changed. Eastwick is trying to get the Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives appeal while FlashForward has already been branded as the new Lost. V will probably struggle in the ratings when it takes the Shark Tank’s place in front of NCIS, The Biggest Loser and Hell’s Kitchen. Even if it’s a reliable alternative to all three shows, with a 3-part arc it’s as if even the creators know where the future is heading.
One thing we can say about ABC though is that, for once, it’s trying to relaunch itself.

Where laughter goes to die.

It’s a somewhat-surprising slate for FOX. For one it renewed Dollhouse. Who saw that one coming? That said, this season will be the last. Especially when you consider when the series is being broadcast (behind Brothers and ‘Til Death, on a Friday night, come on).
The network also seems to have a CBS vibe to it now with nine returning shows, and over half of them being in their fifth season (or more). As for their new programs, we have a third Seth MacFarlane production, as well as Brothers. That last one is so awful, it’s almost indescribable. Think of a multi-camera sitcom with all the funny sucked out of it. What’s even sadder is that the show has a more than decent cast, including the great CCH Pounder.
Anyways, unlike ABC they don’t have dying series on their hands (except 24), most of them can basically continue on forever (take a look at The Simpsons). So their risk factor is taken out of the equation.
To be continued (or canceled)…

Good ratings: They shall not pass!

With a few exceptions, The CW is basically keeping every show it has and giving them a maximum lifespan. They’re almost better at this than CBS with 80% of their series being over their fourth season.
The CW is also trying to bank on already-established genre/brands like 90210, Gossip Girl, and now both Melrose Place and The Vampire Diaries. Smallville on the other hand is almost dying of old age with its ninth season rearing its ugly head.
In short, the network is trying to repair their atrocious ratings by producing more of the same. That’s called a foolproof plan.

Because we blew all our money on TV pilots.

With about a gazillion upcoming projects, FX is trying to reinvigorate itself with fresh programming. Case in point this fall with two new comedies, Archer and the League, which will accompany Philadelphia’s fifth season. FX is kind of the HBO to AMC’s Showtime. A network with fading critical hits in desperate need of renewal.
We saw last month how FX doesn’t want to let its show die either. Nip/Tuck, despite a finished shoot, won’t have its series finale broadcast until mid-2011. Rescue Me will as well film its two final seasons back-to-back for a 9/11 homage broadcast during the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. By 2011, FX will only have a few shows left, such as Sons of Anarchy, and perhaps new series it’s creating at the moment.

It got so high; it just had to fall back down.

Not a lot of fresh content this fall given that most of its series have now changed to being Summer-based (Entourage premiered last year in early September for instance). I’m hoping Bored to Death does well as it both deserves it and is basically the only HBO show with fresh episodes (excluding Curb Your Enthusiasm). Another comedy, The Life and Times of Tim, has yet to return (hopefully before Christmas). Meanwhile, In Treatment and The N°1 Ladies’ Detective Agency are both on the bubble.
Like FX, HBO has a lot of projects on stand-by, including the long-awaited Game of Throne adaptation. Basically most of its fresh batch of episodes is scheduled to air only around mid-season, which almost allows Showtime free reign
over cable networks.

Pay close attention for we are about to be foolish.

Incidentally, Showtime itself should try looking into new series. Weeds will next year go into its sixth season, and Dexter is almost in its fifth. By all logic, one should be looking for fresh and exciting new programs.
However, earlier this year, Sho passed on four pilots with great potential (including a Matthew Perry/Peter Tolan comedy and a Tim Robbins drama). Pretty surprising choices to say the least. They’ll soon come a time when the cable network will have to reevaluate its slate of shows. It’s all a cycle.

Overall, it looks like most of networks do not want to change much, trying to rely on proven formulas as long as they hold.
The nets are either banking on the same types of shows they’ve been making for a decade, or doing very stupid decisions (I’m looking at you NBC).
Live and learn…