The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
A funny, disturbing peek behind the scenes of network TV
A rare peek inside the warped world of television production, "The Perfect Pitch" reveals in chilling detail how the best and brightest creative minds must take their innovative, original ideas for new shows and run them through the gauntlet of "pitching" to fickle executives who have the ultimate power over TV life and death.
Narrated with wry humor by Andy Richter and Sarah Silverman, "The Perfect Pitch" takes viewers on a step-by-step process from idea to pitch to--occasionally--the production of a pilot episode. A phalanx of television's best and brightest, from "Freaks and Geeks" vet Judd Apatow to legends like Larry Gelbart and Sherwood Schwartz, spin great yarns about their experiences--and frustrations--creating some of the best-loved shows in TV history. The pitfalls of dealing with network executives are shown in great detail, from execs who simply don't want to try anything new/risky/interesting to execs who doze off or take phone calls in mid-pitch, to the unfortunate executive who took a meeting not knowing he had already been fired and that "the pitch didn't count." There's some sympathy for these execs, though, whose careers hang by a thread and who often don't dare do anything other than rehash what's already been done ("Joey," anyone?)
Anyone interested in pursuing a career in television, especially fledgling writers and producers, would be well served by watching "The Perfect Pitch." It's a funny, harrowing primer in how to create for TV--and, more often, how not to.
Critics often bemoan TV's lack of innovation and creativity. Given the hilarious, sad, occasionally baffling true-life horror stories producers and writers tell in "The Perfect Pitch," it's a wonder anything good makes it to air at all.
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