I generally pay as much attention to the broadcast network development season as I do to the baseball draft. Though the shows that actually survive development are much closer to airing chronologically than most baseball draftees are to the majors, the winnowing process is just as brutal in both cases. On average, a given network will hear 3-400 pitches a year, order scripts for 60-70 of them, make 8-12 pilots and put roughly between a half dozen and a dozen of them on the air. So I’ve usually found development not worth worrying about until shows are actually ordered to series and scheduled.
The last time HBO turned a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in Maine into a miniseries, it was 2005's "Empire Falls," which boasted a star-studded cast but was exactly the wrong length at four hours: too short to properly tell all of the books' stories and give the audience the necessary feeling of living among these characters, and much too long for the thin slice the filmmakers were able to carve out of the book.
HBO's new miniseries "Olive Kitteridge" (it debuts Sunday night at 9) is also adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in Maine, and also clocks in at four hours. And though I haven't read the Elizabeth Strout book on which it's based, it certainly feels like the same mistake has been made about its length.
A review of tonight's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" coming up just as soon as I accuse you of peacocking...
A review of tonight's "The Flash" coming up just as soon as I'm overdressed for trivia night...
We finally had our first network cancellation of the fall season last week, when ABC dropped the ax on "Manhattan Love Story." Had the Alphabet waited one more week, we'd have made it through the first season in a while where all the new fall shows got to debut before one was canceled. But that was not to be, and instead we have our final new network fall show (with plenty more on the bench for midseason, or whatever the broadcast nets are willing to call it these days) coming up this week, along with a new cable comedy. Both, oddly, feature Jack McGee in a supporting role (the result of cable and network shows often filming on different schedules), and that — along with the fact that I don't feel strongly about either one at this stage — is enough excuse to put them together in the same post for a few quick thoughts on both CBS' "The McCarthys" and USA's "Benched."
A review of tonight's "Gotham" coming up just as soon as I get tangled in some hussy's demon purse...
Last week on the podcast, Fienberg and I wondered what was taking so long for CBS to give full-season orders to "Scorpion" and "NCIS: New Orleans," given how well they had performed so far in this young season. ("Scorpion" in particular did very well last week recovering from a very poor lead-in from "The Millers" season premiere.) It appears CBS was simply waiting to get all its new drama ducks in a row, because tonight the network announced that all four of its newcomers — those two plus "Madam Secretary" and (yes) "Stalker" — had been given full-season orders.
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" won't be back on FXX until January — for the 10th season of the little homemade comedy that could — but I've got a special bonus dose of the Gang that will hopefully tide you over til then: the latest cinematic "Always Sunny" season trailer, titled "Blaze of Glory."
Happy Monday, boys and girls! Despite concern about business travel mucking with the schedule this week, we were able to record a Firewall & Iceberg Podcast that touched on three new comedy premieres this week, but which is mainly an excuse to dive deep on the "Boardwalk Empire" series finale, along with some thoughts on the series as a whole.
There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.
"Boardwalk Empire" has come to an end. As I've done after each previous season — and as I also did at the start of this final one, just because of the big time jump and the decision to end the show — I spoke with the show's creator Terence Winter about everything that went down, and how he arrived at the various fates for Nucky, Margaret, Chalky, and his other creations, in addition to how he intertwined them with the real-life stories of Lucky Luciano, Al Capone and company.
My finale review is here, and the Winter interview is coming up just as soon as I ask you an important question about Marlene Dietrich...