Remember when the idea for Better Call Saul first floated around in television production gossip, and it was conceived as a half-hour comedy? There has been a lot of controversy over the new rules for category eligibility at the Emmys, with Shameless making it into Comedy despite its hour-long runtime and decidedly serious worldview, and Orange Is The New Black finally shifting over to compete in its rightful category as a Drama. I had a screenwriting professor who worked in Los Angeles throughout the 90s and 00s, and was still livid that Ally McBeal got to compete as a comedy when it was an hour-long dramedy that had no business going up against sitcoms.
Those are all semantic arguments about categorizing shows when there’s a lot of mutability. But imagining a world where Better Call Saul isn’t 45 minutes of deliberate, enthralling dramatic irony, holding a hopeful carrot out in front of Jimmy when the audience knows there’s a banana peel waiting to catch his foot, makes me shudder with would’ve been lost.
The cold open to “RICO” is one of my favorites so far this season, because it succinctly encapsulates the futile tragedy of James McGill. Better Call Saul eluded to the fact that Jimmy worked in the HHM mailroom, but here it’s on full display, as he cheerfully delivers mail to everyone around the office, with the added bonus that he knows pretty much everyone’s name. But the reason the show ventures to this moment in McGill history is because it’s the day Jimmy believed his life would change: when he passes the bar and becomes a lawyer in the state of New Mexico. Read the rest
One of Breaking Bad's finest characters gets an episode in the spotlight
The task set before Better Call Saul is impossibly daunting. Can it join Breaking Bad in the pantheon of great TV?
I interviewed my friends Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, the creators and executive producers of the USA Network television series Necessary Roughness. It's a drama about a psychologist who works with pro football players. Tomorrow night is the first of a two-part story about a gay football player who wants to publicly come out. Craig and Liz did a lot of research to present a plausible scenario for how such an event might play out.
To date, no active pro basketball, football, baseball, or hockey player has ever said they're gay (a very few retired pro athletes have come out).
Necessary Roughness schedule and past episodes Read the rest
It wouldn't be a Boy Meets World sequel series without the titular "boy," so it was reassuring news to hear that said boy, Ben Savage, would be reprising his role as Cory Matthews in the Disney Channel's upcoming Girl Meets World pilot, about his character's fourteen-year-old daughter. He won't be alone, either -- he'll be joined by Danielle Fishel, who played his TV wife Topanga Lawrence. Really, it would have been downright stupid to do a show about Cory and Topanga's kids without the original actors (though Disney definitely still would have made it without them).
My first thought upon hearing this news was "Yay!" My second thought was "Aren't they, like, 23? A little young to have a teenage kid." After a quick Wikipedia check, I was clearly mistaken. When they got married on Boy Meets World in 2000, Cory and Topanga were in college and could have been around eighteen or nineteen, putting them in their early thirties now, as well as their real-life counterparts. They'd be very young parents, for sure -- but it's 100 percent feasible. And it's not the young parenthood that's throwing me: it's realizing that Savage and Fishel did not inexplicably cease to age after the show ended and are, indeed, full-on grownup persons. Which means that since I'm the same age as they are, I must be a full-on grownup person, too. And there's your (my) sobering, smacky-in-the-face entertainment news of the day.
Girl Meets World is, as of right now, just a pilot for a potential series, which will be told from the point of view of Cory and Topanga's daughter, Riley. Read the rest