Friday, April 3, 2009
The TV Set
How are television programs created? That is the question writer and director Jake Kasdan answers in his quirky film, The TV Set. Kasdan has written some decent comedies. The TV Set is pretty average in almost every aspect. But the film does provide some actual insight into the process of creating new television programs.
The TV Set begins with a silly set of graphics with captions that explain the process of and statistics associated with pilot television programs. After watching the close to boring presentation, we are introduced to a character, Zach Harper (Fran Kranz). Zach seems like a likeable kid who has made the final cut to play the male lead in a television pilot called The Wexler Chronicles. As we follow Zach through the process, we eventually meet the creative mind behind the television pilot, Mike Klein (David Duchovny). Klein seems to be torn between navigating his pilot through the gauntlet to prime time and maintaining his creative integrity. The process appears to be a minefield of obstacles.
The biggest obstacle is Lenny (Sigourney Weaver). Lenny has the power to pull the plug on Klein's project. Lenny also had lots of ideas...often in direct conflict to the creative process that Klein does not want to relinquish. But money talks. Klein's young actors also present challenges as they appear to change during the filming process. The female lead, Laurel Simon (Lindsay Sloane), somehow manages to stay grounded while Zach appears to spin out of control. Balancing the chemistry of the players with the whims of the cameramen, director and everyone else even remotely involved in the process provides an interesting foundation for the plot.
The writing wasn't bad, but I didn't consider The TV Set to be tremendously interesting. The concept was different and provided some good comical moments. However, the plot was often easy to predict and at times tedious. For a comedy, the film seemed a bit on the dry side. The characters were interesting and fairly well developed for a comedy. The dialogue was equally intersting. But the framework provided for these otherwise decent traits was lacking. The plot was thin and predictable.
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