Mob City is coming out December 4th on TNT. It’s a promising new periodic crime TV series (takes place during the 40′s and the 50′s) created by Frank Darabont who also created the hit TV series The Walking Dead.
Bryan Fuller’s shows are beautiful to look at and have a unique, very colorful, almost magical visual style; they are always surreal and dreamlike and often revolve around death. Fuller is quite obsessed with death, but come to think of it, who isn’t? His writing is sophisticated and he likes to examine all kinds of aspects of the human psyche.
In the world of David Milch’s shows there is a unique atmosphere, a certain feel, when you watch a scene from Deadwood for example, you can’t mistake it for any other show. His shows are smart and bring up interesting philosophical ideas and thoughts. His shows are slow moving, but that only helps to create the tense atmosphere he aspires for The characters in his shows are quite chatty, and the dialogue he writes for them is superb.
These two comic geniuses are the masters of uncomfortable comedy; the lead character in their shows is usually obnoxious and self-involved. The setting is often a workplace environment and they always manage to squeeze in some social commentary in their irreverent, politically incorrect way. They like to shoot their comedies in a mockumentary style and the dialogue from the minds of these two witty comedy writers is always razor sharp.
A romantic drama, an action series that revolves around espionage, a mystery series with supernatural elements, a sci-fi series about a mad scientist and a humorous action series about a married couple who are also secret agents…surprisingly so, the series J.J. Abrams created, despite being from several different genres, do have a few things in common like an impressive heroine, plot lines that deal with couple and family relations in an intelligent way and an impressive visual style.
In David Simon’s series there is a strong sense of realism which tends to indicate that life is far from being a picnic. There is an ensemble cast of characters however no character remains undeveloped. The dialogue is excellent and contributes a lot to creating the tense tone of his shows. Simon’s brilliant shows have a lot to say about American society – from urban decay to the role of mass media in contemporary life.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:
So, after looking at 5 of the best TV series creators today, we can more or less determine the secret formula to creating a hit TV series:
A cleverly written show that’s also gritty and stylized, it has to deal with psychological issues and the characters have to talk quite a lot. Does Mob City have what it takes in order for it to be a hit TV series? It’s definitely going to be gritty and stylized, if the characters will turn out to be troubled babblers with a smart thing to say once in a while, Mob City just might be the next hit!
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Technorati Tags: Bryan Fuller, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, David Milch, NYPD Blue, Deadwood, Luck, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, The Office, Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show, Life’s Too Short, J.J. Abrams, Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Undercovers, David Simon, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, Generation Kill, Treme, TV, TV Shows, Creators, Mob City, Frank Darabont
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This is an important month for Television, not only were the Emmy winners announced yesterday, but also many new fall shows are premiering on all of the major networks. I’ll start with my take on the Emmy’s, and then I’ll pick the 10 most promising new fall shows.
The Emmy’s: The Emmy winners were announced, and I really can’t say I trust or understand the people who choose the winners…I’ll start from the bad and end with Breaking Bad:
Modern Family won the award for best comedy series again (!), don’t they know there are other good comedies around? Louie for example. Modern Family is a nice sitcom, but it’s not a modern classic that deserves to win the Emmy 4 years in a row.
And now for the part in which I’ll try being positive on for size:
Claire Danes might be an obvious choice for the best dramatic actress award, but the reason that makes her such an obvious choice is that she’s so good. Jeff Daniels wasn’t an obvious choice for example, he was a bizarre one.
Anna Gun definitely deserved to win in the supporting actress in a drama category for her fantastic portrayal of Skyler White in Breaking Bad, and Bobby Cannavale‘s win was a pleasant surprise, he did a great job as Gyp Rosetti, probably the wackiest character ever seen in Boardwalk Empire, a worthy candidate to the fictional psychopaths hall of fame.
Lastly, congratulations to the Emmy decision makers, you saved yourselves from a major embarrassment when you gave the award for best drama series to Breaking Bad, what took you 5 years?! After 4 consecutive wins for Mad Men they gave the award to another excellent series – Homeland, and now Breaking Bad’s moment has arrived. Breaking Bad is\was the best TV series of 2013. While Breaking Bad finally got what was coming to it, a few modern classics never won the Emmy award for best dramatic series – Deadwood,House, Dexter (when it was still good, now it’s too late for that). I hope the same injustice won’t be made with 2 other great shows: Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.
Moving on to the new fall TV shows, there are many new promising TV series coming your way! Actually, there are so many new fall TV shows coming up, that I had a very hard time picking the 10 that I think are going to be the very best. Did I make the right choices? Only time will tell…Show some character and make sure you don’t miss out on anything worth watching! Here are my picks for the 10 most promising new TV shows:
10. Trophy Wife (Premieres 24.9 on CBS)
The what: A sitcom about a party girl who quite suddenly marries an older guy and finds herself dealing with his 2 overbearing ex-spouses and their mischievous children.
The what it’s like: The new Modern Family?
9. Ironside (Premieres 2.10 on NBC)
8. Dracula (Premieres 25.10 on NBC)
The what: A stylish looking series that tells the story of Dracula who comes to London under a false identity in order to exact revenge on those who betrayed him.
The what it’s like: The Count of Monte Cristo with sharper teeth.
7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Premieres 17.9 on Fox)
The what: A sitcom about an immature NYPD detective and his new strict boss.
6. Masters of Sex (Premieres 29.9 on Showtime)
The what: A drama about 2 groundbreaking researchers who examined human sexuality.
The what it’s like: Kinsey with more sex and nudity.
5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (Premieres 24.9 on ABC)
The what it’s like: The Avengers without the huge stars and the even bigger budget.
4. Hostages (Premieres 23.9 on CBS)
The what: A thriller about a surgeon who gets reluctantly involved in a political conspiracy when her family is taken hostage by a rogue FBI Agent.
3. Hello Ladies (Premieres 29.9 on HBO)
2. Almost Human (Premieres 4.11 on Fox)
1. Peaky Blinders (Premiered 12.9 on BBC Two)
The what: A gangster saga that takes place around 1919 and deals with an Irish gang and the tough law enforcer out to get them. It’s stylized, tense and atmospheric and if you’re into crime dramas you must see it.
Technorati Tags: Fall 2013, Emmy, Emmy’s, Academy, Boardwalk Empire, Best Actor, Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Series, Newsroom, Jeff Daniels, Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, Modern Family, Homeland, Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Trophy Wife, Shield, Marvel, Ironside, Peaky Blinders, Almost Human, TV, New shows, Dracula, Hostages, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
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Can you feel the heat? Summer has arrived and with it some very interesting TV shows. While you’re sitting in your home, letting the air condition cool you off, let us recommend you 5 new TV shows that look very promising and 5 returning ones that will make this summer even hotter than it already is:
Low Winter Sun is a remake of a British series titled likewise, and it stars the same impressive leading actor (Mark Strong). AMC’s most famous crime drama, Breaking Bad, is coming to an end real soon and Low Winter Sun might be a worthy crime drama to replace the masterful show. The series was adapted to U.S TV by Chris Mundy (writer in both Hell on Wheels and Criminal Minds) and premieres August 11th.
4. The Bridge
The original Danish\Swedish TV show “The Bridge” was amazing, the plot had many twists and turns, the 2 main characters were flawed in a way that made it easy to relate to them, and the show had its own atmosphere and style that distinguished it from any other similarly themed shows. As for the American remake, I can’t really say it’s just as good, but it’s definitely what you’d call quality TV. It manages to be quite close to the original (which is good) and also have its own thing going on; which is great and makes it a must see show as far as I’m concerned.
2. The Fall
The Fall is one of the best crime series to come out of Britain in recent years, The acting in this series is top notch (especially from blonde (!) Gillian Anderson), and also the writing and the directing, but the series’ secret weapon is its haunting score. The Fall is a cat & mouse/detective & killer series just like another new TV show, The Following, but it’s hard to explain how superior The Fall is in comparison to The Following…
1. Ray Donovan
Ray Donovan is one of the best American crime dramas in recent years (I still don’t feel confident enough to mention it in the same sentence with Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, or The Wire, but maybe that will change soon). It’s rough, clever and tense and benefits from great performances by Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight. The show’s creator\head writer – Ann Biderman (also created Southland) is a masterful storyteller and I highly recommend you tune in every week and watch!
5. Suits (2011)
4. Luther (2010)
Other good shows that I neglected to mention in my post (or did I?): Under the Dome (Not close to being the new Lost, but still has its moments), Axe Cop (offbeat animated comedy from Fox), Strike Back (4th season begins August 9th), The White Queen (great…for fans of period costume dramas) and In the Flesh (if you saw The Walking Dead and World War Z but feel there aren’t enough zombies in your life).
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Winter is the coldest season of the year, a time during which we especially need good TV shows to keep us warm. Many new TV series we had high hopes for were released, only to leave us disappointed: The Firm isn’t nearly as good as the movie on which it is based, Napoleon Dynamite and Unsupervised are both terribly unfunny, The River is ridiculous, House of Lies is Californication for the poor, and The Finder is nice, but not nice enough to make us want to find it on TV every week. Luckily there were some other excellent winter TV shows that were worth our time. Here are 10 great new winter TV shows you should at least check out before winter leaves us and makes way for spring:
1. Black Mirror
It’s Like: How TV Ruined Your Life
If you haven’t seen Black Mirror, you must. It’s a masterpiece comprised out of 3 non-related 1 hour episodes (the episodes are only related in the sense that they all deal with the power of the media and the effect technology has on our lives.) It manages to be shocking in a time when it is almost impossible to shock. Charlie Brooker, the genius who created this thought provoking series said in an interview that there might be a second season coming to the British Channel 4; I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Lilyhammer is the first Netflix original series. It is a co-production of Netflix with a Norwegian production company. The series takes place in Norway, where Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano (played by Steve Van Zandt – Silvio Dante from The Sopranos) was relocated by the witness protection program. Frank asked to be relocated there after he watched Lillehammer (Frank calls it Lilyhammer by mistake) in the Winter Olympics in 1994 and was enchanted by it. The reality doesn’t really match his expectations and now Frank (Whose name was changed by the FBI to Giovanni Henriksen) has to deal with his new fish out water situation. This offbeat series that swept Norway is funny and very fun, and the snowy Norwegian landscapes are beautiful.
Luck isn’t really that much like The Sopranos, but whenever there is a new HBO crime drama with a high production value the comparisons are inevitable. Luck is slow, atmospheric, and very dialogue based. After 3 episodes I know it’s a good one, but I still don’t know how good exactly. With Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina and Michael Gambon (he’ll arrive in later episodes as a rival to Dustin Hoffman’s character) the potential is very much there.
4. The Straits
It’s Like: (Not really) The Sopranos on a tropical island
This Australian crime series offers violence, dark humor and absolutely beautiful scenery. Brian Cox leads the series portraying Harry, the cruel and tough head of the family (and the family business which is smuggling drugs and other illegal stuff). Harry tells his 3 sons that he’s getting too old for this s**t and wants to pass on the reins of the business to the son that will prove himself worthy. Will it create a Shakespearean rivalry between the brothers? After Underbelly and Animal Kingdom, The Straits is the next great Aussie crime drama.
It’s Like: A better adaptation than the one with Ethan Hawke
After watching the 1998 version with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow I thought it was a very good adaptation, even if it wasn’t very loyal to the book. Now, after watching the three part BBC mini-series with Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch and Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham I can say my standards were low. This version is highly stylized, atmospheric and captivating and feels much more loyal to the source material.
The concept of a mute child (by choice?) who does the narration for the series is intriguing and also a bit weird. Fox’s Touch is a world spanning and surprisingly uplifting series about a child who has a supernatural ability to predict the future. It’s very far from Kiefer Sutherland’s previous TV role in 24, but I’m not sure it’s not as good as the action series was. Tim Kring, creator of Touch is known most of all for another TV series he created – Heroes. We hope Touch would continue matching the quality of Heroes season 1 and not the quality of Heroes seasons 2, 3 and 4.
It’s Like: The previous This Is England‘s (movie and series)
After the very successful movie This Is England (2006) and the critically acclaimed TV series This Is England 86′, Shane Meadows concludes his trilogy with the three part series This Is England 88′. Just like the previous two parts in the trilogy, 88′ is also emotional, bleak, rough and disturbing, and yet, also very moving. The 3rd entry in the franchise maintained a harsh feeling of realism, and had very strong performances from its ensemble cast.
It’s Like: Talking Funny
Showtime’s talk show series is great for everybody who likes comedy, and who doesn’t like comedy? The host David Steinberg talks to one or two greats from the world of comedy every week (Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Larry David, Steve Carell and Don Rickles will all appear on the show). Steinberg does a great job as the host/interviewer, not because he’s charismatic or asks difficult questions (he’s not and he doesn’t), but because he just lets his guests speak, and all of them have a lot to say.
9. Inside Men
It’s Like: Inside Man
This tense four part BBC series has everything a heist thriller needs: It revolves cleverly around universal themes of greed, morality and temptation, it’s full of mind bending twists and most important of all, it has men wearing scary masks. Inside Men is slow paced but very gripping.
J.J Abrams‘ new show isn’t nearly as good as Lost, but it’s still mysterious, mind bending and suspenseful. The show has a lot of potential as the cliche’ goes, but it could have done a much better job in casting its leads: The policewoman is a bit pale and looks like a Barbie doll, Jorge Garcia will always be Hurley to me, and Sam Neill is surprisingly not convincing as the mysterious Emerson Hauser. Despite the fact that it didn’t really earn the critics consensus, Alcatraz brings very good numbers to its network (Fox).
Other notable new winter TV series:
1. Mr. D (He looks like a Canadian Will Ferrell and acts like a Canadian Michael Scott). 2. Luxury Comedy (Weirdest sketch comedy series you’ve ever seen). 3. Smash (for fans of musicals), 4.House of Lies (Californication for the poor is still better than many other shows) and 5. The Finder (It’s interesting to see that Michael Clark Duncan can fit into a small screen).
Technorati Tags: TV, shows, series, The Firm, Napoleon Dynamite, The River, House of Lies, Californication, The Finder, Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, Channel 4, Lilyhammer, Silvio Dante, The Sopranos, Netflix, original series, Steve Van Zandt, Luck, HBO, crime drama, Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina and Michael Gambon, The Straits, Australian crime series, Brian Cox, Great Expectations, Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, BBC mini-series, Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, Touch, The Dead Zone, Hereafter, Kiefer Sutherland, Tim Kring, Heroes, This Is England, Inside Comedy, Talking Funny, David Steinberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Larry David, Steve Carell, Don Rickles, Inside Men, Inside Man, Alcatraz, Shutter Island, Lost, Prison Break, The X-Files, J.J Abrams, Jorge Garcia, Fox Network, Mr. D, Will Ferrell, Michael Scott, Luxury Comedy, Smash, The Finder, Michael Clark Duncan
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After sixty years in hibernation, the TV guide is finally awakening to innovation. The static grid of shows and airing times that granny loved getting in the mail each week is crumbling under the strain of hundreds of linear channels, DVR, VOD and over-the-top internet streaming services and a new generation of consumers who expect a fast, personalized discovery experience. Providers can feel the winds of change brewing and are investing top talent to develop the next generation of guides. The following are 10 challenges and opportunities the industry must master if it wants to continue to keep customers happy.
1) The Couch Potato is Here to Stay
This is not an insult, simply a fact. When we sit down in front of the TV we want to watch something good and we expect it to be easy to find. After all, we’re not in the mood to work. Users want the act of finding something to watch to be as effortless and enjoyable as watching it is.
2) The Paradox of Choice Requires Personalization
Too much choice is overwhelming and is a barrier to consumption. The guide must give quality, personalized recommendations to help users overcome the fear of regret and so the guide becomes your best salesperson.
3) Content Selection is Meaning Driven
What do you want to know about a movie before you decide to watch it? Basic metadata isn’t much help. A rich, human description of the mood, style and plot elements gives us a real feeling for the movie and allows us to overcome the fear of regret and decide if we want to see it.
4) Future-proof the guide for an on-demand world
On-demand video is growing fast and now is the time to future-proof the guide. Service providers that don’t move quickly are at risk of choking future consumption with an antiquated guide.
5) Building Trust Between Man and Machine
Trust is what fuels recommendations to spur action. How can humans learn to trust machine-made recommendations? A discovery engine must be able to explain, in human terms, everything it does.
6) There is No Such Thing as ‘Average Taste’
Our tastes are as distinct and varied as we are. Sometimes I enjoy a witty humorous movie about couple relations, other times I’m in the mood for stylized, exciting movies about space travel and saving the world with androids and alien. You can’t average out things like ‘aliens’ and ‘couple relations’ to get a mathematical estimation of my taste. Yet this is exactly what most so-called ‘personalized discovery’ engines do; bunch everything a user likes together. If we are going to deliver a truly personalized experience that will help consumers find content they will enjoy, first we must recognize that each individual is unique and his or her tastes include several distinct types of content.
7) Keeping Content Fresh is a Challenge
Movies and TV are special, that’s why we love them so much. But that’s also why finding and choosing the right content is such a difficult process. We expect endless fresh programming, to fit our specific preferences and to match the exact mood we’re in at that moment. If the guide fails to lead users quickly to content that suits their taste and mood, they will blame the provider and come to the conclusion that there is ‘nothing good to watch’.
8) Humans seek meaning, not data
We have all been trained by web browsers to think in keywords, but human communication is more than a collection of key words wound into a Boolean string. Just try asking Google to recommend a ‘ feel good witty movie about couple relations’ – you won’t get useful results. The next generation of guides needs to speak in casual human language and deliver relevant and accurate results.
9) ‘Lingua Franca’ of Video Content
The only way guides will be able to communicate with users in a meaningful language is by adopting a normalized unified language or ‘Lingua Franca’ for describing entertainment content. This Lingua Franca will allow the breadth of entertainment content to be described in a single descriptive language irrespective of the producer, director or script writers. From the consumer perspective, all content can be understood in the same natural metaphor.
10) Separating the Social Wheat from the Chafe
Our entire industry seems caught up in the latest Social TV buzz. All the tweets, updates, ‘likes’ and ‘+’s have created massive amounts of TV and movie related social media data. But this kind of random chatter doesn’t drive consumption and it doesn’t enhance the television experience. Why? Because most of your friends don’t share your taste in TV and movies. If Social TV is going to truly enhance the discovery experience, we must be able to identify those few friends that have similar tastes and use them as a source of high quality social recommendations. THAT is social TV.
*An abbreviated version of this article first appeared in Multichannel Magazine
Technorati Tags: Next Generation TV Guide, Next Generation, TV Guide, Social TV, DVR, VOD, Linear channels, on demand, personalized discovery, personalized tv, couch potato, paradox of choice, content, video content, TV, movies, future proof, on-demand, recommendations, movie recommendations, Lingua Franca, Yosi Glick, Jinni, discovery engine
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