Four beloved, buzzy and award-winning television series air their final episodes this week so it seems only fitting we use this space to leave space for everyone to indulge in peak TV.
And say so long to:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Ted Lasso (Apple)
There is a lot of content out there, a word I always hesitate to use because it defines high bar creative endeavors such as these primarily as corporate assets.
I mean, it’s not as if many of the higher-ups at their aforementioned studios/platforms don’t ultimately think of them that way, when push comes to shove.
And God knows there has been a lot of pushing, not to mention shoving, in all directions lately.
Witness the current WGA strike and potential breaks with both the DGA (directors) and SAG (actors) as their agreements with the too many to name who now call themselves producers soon ends.
Yes, without platforms, networks and producers you don’t get the unprecedented access to these creative marvels. (Note: Though predictably none come from the Big Four networks).
Still, one wonders why it is so difficult for the powers-that-be to give just a little to support many of the first in line people who’ve made them billions.
All the creators are really asking for is a fair shake so writers, actors and directors in the future, who are not at the top of the food chain, can make a decent enough living to ply their craft and learn the ropes so they, too, can scale the heights with something as original, or more original, than those aforementioned series.
What will happen is anyone’s guess.
But chances are, left to their own devices, the creatives would come up with a more satisfying ending to this dilemma for their audiences than the producers.
Because if the latter group had their choice, the entire field will permanently remain wide open for Chatbot gpt and its ilk to be the principal creators of all we will watch with perhaps some side assists from human beings to fix the shortcomings in their stories.
I’m certainly not Zoltar, but it doesn’t take a clairvoyant genius with a turban and an earring to predict that the aforementioned method would ever produce anything as powerfully addicting in future moments in time as the series we are being forced to say goodbye to this week.
– Midge “Muriel” Maisel wouldn’t…have broad enough appeal! And why does she have to be sooooo Jewish? And isn’t period more expensive? Why couldn’t it take place today so young people could relate to it? At least she’d have a cell phone.
– There is no chance a character as wholly unsympathetic as Logan Roy could possibly sustain a multi-year run in an inside baseball series about corporate greed and the communications business in today’s world. Sorry. And with people who communicate in their own withholding language…please! Even if it could, to surround him with not one wholly sympathetic character the audience can relate to is to create economic suicide for us and our shareholders. Nothing computes – on ANY level.
– We do like the idea of taking a character our network first conceived to promote football and making him the lead in one of our shows. But the execution in this pilot script was suicidal. The guy’s a one-off moronic fairy tale of a man who’s Just. Not. Funny. We hire humans to humanize a person, not make him more like a chatbot creation. Dirty up Ted and give him a few more flaws, for goddamn’s sake. Throw in a little Logan Roy!
– While we sometimes think of our own actors as high-priced hit men (Note: And women, we don’t want to appear sexist), we believe sullying the representation of veterans worldwide by making this guy an aspiring actor will totally alienate red states. Are we saying military guys like these are creative snowflakes deep down?? Really? Plus, Barry is such a loser name. What about William? Or, um, Marshall? Or even….John!!
That’s an approximation of the conversations you’d get. And I’m being conservative, which rarely happens.
So while our current world, creative and elsewhere, is far from perfect, it did manage to give audiences who appreciate unique and eclectic storytelling a cross-section of unexpected and riveting representations of ourselves. Kudos to that. And to:
- The tortured violence of sweet, unlikely Barry.
- The relentless optimism of dumb as a fox Ted Lasso.
- The ugly, unvarnished self-reflective contempt of men, and certainly women, that is Logan Roy.
- The female empowered ambition and hilariously funny infectious energy, and yes, style, of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
They may all be made up, but none of them are artificial.
Millions of us believed every one of them each week we saw them. And look forward to more like, but unlike them, in the future.
“It’s A Long Way to Tipperary” – Cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show