Thursday, June 21, 2007

All In The Family

Life has been getting in the way the past couple of days, typically delaying the rewrite. This evening I put everything aside to work on it.

Evaluating the worth of every line of dialogue and description, paring and pruning and making adjustments, taking a break just now I checked to see how far I’d got and discovered I was only near the bottom of page four. Marvellous.

Last night I gave the first episode of Brothers & Sisters a shot. It’s certainly not my thing, and I’m not sure I’m in for the long haul, but the pedigree made it worth a look. With the lower case titles, Ken Olin an executive producer and director, and Olin’s wife, Patricia Wettig, in the cast all it did was make me realise how much I miss thirtysomething.

I remember waiting in the New Orleans Greyhound/Trailways station on Loyola Avenue for a bus to Texas, trying to watch the episode where Michael and Elliot attempt to take over DAA on one of those freaky black plastic chairs with a miniature TV set built into the armrest. Okay, that’s probably way too much information.

The thing with Brothers & Sisters is, if they’re just going to be kvetching around the kitchen table then it’s probably going to be too soapy for my liking. On a basic level, family drama can be great because it’s all about the secrets and the dirty little lies of people who don’t necessarily enjoy each other’s company and are only brought together by biology.

That said, there’s still got to be something more to such a show so it has a new angle. Perhaps the best dysfunctional drama of recent years was spy drama Alias, at least for the first couple of seasons before it lost the plot a little. Olin of course worked on that show, as did Brothers & Sisters co-exec producer Sarah Caplan.

John from Cincinnati has a very fresh angle. Still can’t figure it, but it certainly doesn’t stop my enjoyment of what is turning out to be a very engaging show. The credits are littered with writers and producers from previous Milch-produced shows. With Jim Beaver, Garret Dillahunt and an almost unrecognisable Dayton Callie, shipped in from Deadwood, the show just gets better.

I mean, how can you not enjoy a show where the titular character proudly announces: “I just took a dump a grown man would be proud of”? What I really want to know is: When does Ian McShane come calling?

Actually, while watching Brothers & Sisters I was interrupted by the old dear phoning up to shoot the breeze. She called just before the “Michael Gambon drama” started on Five. Afterwards I wondered what “Michael Gambon drama” she was talking about. Was that how The Daily Telegraph’s TV guide promoted Layer Cake? I wonder how long they stuck with it.


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