“Let us simply celebrate good television” and Bridgerton [Opinion]

“Let us simply celebrate good television” and Bridgerton [Opinion] by Dr. Rosanne Welch

Leave it to NPR to get it right, which is why I’m posting this piece they did on Bridgerton (Netflix), the new show executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and created for television by Chris Van Dusen from the romance book series by Julia Quinn.

See ‘Bridgerton’ Is A Delicious, Raunchy Tale Of One Very Hot Family

Far beyond explaining the show’s popularity, this article interested me because it understood instantly that what works best and most binge-ably about this show is that

“Let us simply celebrate good television, made by a shop run by a woman who loves good television and written by people who are experienced in television.”

Bridgerton and

In fact, I found one of the cleanest, clearest descriptions of the difference between movie screenplays and television screenplays while listening to this.

“Writing television requires writing to the rhythm of the episode, not just the season. An episode must have its own shape, its own rise and fall… Obviously, in a serialized story, one episode will not be complete on its own when it comes to plot, but it should work on its own structurally. It should have a beginning, middle, and end.”

You could spend a whole semester in a writing class and not yet be able to define it so cleanly – or create a piece that demonstrates having digested that delightfully delectable tidbit. 

I also appreciated the note about how we may think streaming services invented binge-watching but

“Remember, binge-watching really came of age with DVDs, which didn’t have the Netflixian boosts of the auto-play and the credits-skipping and the part where they almost bodily shove you from one episode to the next episode. If you watched 10 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD, it was because you affirmatively said yes, over and over.”

I would go so far as to say TV in general invented that because before streaming it had to make characters and stories so compelling you would remember to be in front of the TV set at the same time every week in order to keep up.

That’s quite a lot of television writing (and history) information to glean out of one short public radio piece. Kudos to NPR pop culture correspondent Linda Holmes. And because we learn so much from any writer’s origin story – don’t miss her story at the end of the online post:

“She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Her first novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over, will be published in the summer of 2019.”

Rosanne Welch serves as Executive Director of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Television credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Nightline and Touched by an Angel. Award-winning publications include When Women Wrote Hollywood, runner up for the Susan Koppelman Award for best edited book in feminist studies and Women in American History, named Outstanding Reference Source and added to the list of 2017’s Best Historical Materials, by the ALA.

Show Business: How to Pitch to Netflix, According to Christopher Mack, Streamer’s Creative Talent Director via Variety

How to Pitch to Netflix, According to Christopher Mack, Streamer’s Creative Talent Director via Variety

At Netflix, character is often more important than plot, said the company’s creative talent director Christopher Mack at CineGouna Bridge, the industry section of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival, on Monday during his “Pitch Realization Masterclass by Netflix.” But it’s not about making him or her likeable, as their transformation is key to the storytelling experience.

“This change is driving people to watch our content. Your job is to make it interesting and engaging. Think about Walter White,” said Mack, explaining how to successfully pitch new concepts to Netflix. “Viewers develop a relationship with the characters, their engagement depends on whether they relate to them or not. Otherwise they won’t care.”

Read How to Pitch to Netflix, According to Christopher Mack, Streamer’s Creative Talent Director via Variety

With Hannah Gadsby’s new special “Douglas”!

If you have Netflix, watch Hannah Gadsby’s new special “Douglas” (that’s her dog’s name) for the writing, the laughter, the catharsis – and the Louis CK joke.

When I was a kid, the general idea was ‘women weren’t funny and/or powerful enough to dominate an audience’ or they could only be funny if they made fun of their looks (Phyllis Diller) – which is something Gadsby tackled in her first show, Nanette. 

Words matter. Writing matters. Women writers matter.

With Hannah Gadsby's new special

If You Haven’t Watched Crip Camp…

If you haven’t watched Crip Camp on Netflix you haven’t heard of the amazing leader of the Disabled Rights Movement of the 1960s-1980s – Judy Heumann – or about the sit-ins she coordinated in San Francisco and D.C. – or about how the Black Panther’s brought food to them in their 23 day sit-in in San Francisco or how the machinists union rented trucks to drive them around D.C. since busses weren’t accessible (the thing they were demonstrating to change!). And Heumann arranged it all with the help of other kids she’d met at Camp Jened, a camp for kids with disabilities.

A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.

If You Haven't Watch Crip Camp...

It reminded me of the summer I spent as a counselor at a similar camp in Ohio – Camp Cheerful – during my college years.