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  • We all know Emmy’s favorite shows, but take a look at these less familiar TV gems

    L.A. Times Envelope5/26/18

    An Emmy nomination can’t be in the cards for every great TV series; there’s just too much good stuff out there. But if you’re looking to juice up your viewing experience, try adding one or two of these all but hidden programming gems suggested by The Envelope’s writers. And, hey, who knows, maybe Emmy will look their way this year as well.

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  • ‘The Americans’ stars reflect on the series’ end and the new demonization of Russians

    L.A. Times Envelope5/24/18

    When “The Americans” was first being developed as an FX series, there was one potential hitch in telling a story about a suburban couple in the 1980s who actually were embedded KGB agents: Post-Cold War Russians didn’t scare us anymore.

    “People were wondering whether Russians were a credible enemy in a work of fiction when we started,” says creator Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent who has worked side-by-side with executive producer Joel Fields on the show, which wraps up next week after six seasons with a surprising finale.

    Oh, how things have changed since 2013, when “Americans” first premiered, turning into a bona-fide critical hit for FX thanks in part to its strong cast (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), 1980s retro looks (and disguises), sophisticated writing and flawed, complex characters — whose main goal was to undermine U.S. interests.

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  • Reboot mania gives the television landscape a sense of déjà vu

    L.A. Times Envelope5/24/18

    TV programming has fallen into a time warp. “Roseanne,” “One Day at a Time,” “Will & Grace,” “Star Trek,” “The X-Files,” “Twin Peaks.” It’s difficult to figure out which decade you’re in.

    Every major broadcast network (and other original content providers such as Netflix) has been peering into TV’s past and declaring canceled shows not just worthy of preservation — but resurrection. Revivals, reinventions and reboots of all of those classic shows listed above have begun populating the airwaves with more on the way, including “Murphy Brown” and “Cagney & Lacey.”

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  • Men as second fiddles to the women? Sure, why not, say these ‘Mrs. Maisel’ actors

    L.A. Times Envelope - 5/18/18

    Here’s a twist: The marvelousness of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is pretty much reserved for the women on the show. Fortunately, three-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, who plays the title character’s dad, Abe, and Michael Zegen, who plays her wayward husband, Joel, are delighted to make hay from the back seat as the women drive the plot surrounding the Mrs. in question (Rachel Brosnahan), a 1950s housewife who, when ditched by her husband, decides to become a stand-up comic.

    Shalhoub and Zegen sat down with The Envelope at Bond 45 in New York City to discuss what makes them laugh – and the importance of heads being blown off.

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  • Saying goodbye: ‘Orphan Black’ explored identity and the freedom to pursue it

    L.A. Times Envelope - 5/18/18

    “Orphan Black” may be – to the uneducated eye – just “that show about clones.”

    But during its five-season run on BBC America, “Orphan Black,” which began its final episodes just after Emmy eligibility last summer, was actually about much more, focusing on themes of identity and body autonomy led by a tour-de-force, Emmy-winning performance from star Tatiana Maslany, who played no fewer than 12 clones during the series.

    And as it turns out, when creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett first formulated the germ of the idea for the show in 2001, all they knew they had was a wicked opening scene: a young woman briefly sees her doppelganger, who promptly walks in front of an oncoming train and dies. The surviving woman – a grifter and con artist – assumes the woman’s identity, which leads her down a dark, conspiracy-laden rabbit hole.

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  • How the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are changing the TV landscape

    L.A. Times Envelope - 5/17/18

    Nine months ago, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements changed the narrative arc in the U.S. First, scores of women (and some men) spoke up about serial sexual abusers and harassers in front of and behind Hollywood cameras. Then the women-centric series “Big Little Lies” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” won big at the Golden Globes and Emmys. And more recently, HBO equalized pay for men and women, and “The Crown” agreed to pay its male and female leads equally. Floodgates had been thrown open.

    All of which is laudable, but thus far another area of potential change is just awakening. TV has long been understood to both reflect and shape real-life perceptions and narratives – so just how will the actual stories being written change in the wake of #MeToo and Time’s Up?

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  • Here are 5 of the best karaoke songs of all time

    Today.com - 4/30/18

    Karaoke: a word that strikes joy and terror equally in people’s hearts. It can wake the rock star within, make loved ones cringe, and cause people to hide under the table for fear of getting dragged up onstage.

    But picking the right song is just as important as being able to sing it. “A great karaoke song must have three components,” said David Jacobson, founder and CEO of live entertainment provider TrivWorks.

    “One, the entire audience — not just the performer — must know it,” he said. “Two, it must be a fun or interesting song — upbeat is great, but it doesn’t have to be. And three, it must resonate emotionally with those in the room — preferably by evoking joy, laughter or what takes us nostalgically back to our youth.”

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  • ‘Grease’ turns 40! 7 things even the hopelessly devoted might not know

    Today.com - 4/23/18

    In 1978, “Grease” was the word — and even today, we still can’t get enough of the story of two star-crossed 1950s high school sweethearts, Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John).

    Director Randal Kleiser, who’s now working on a virtual reality series called “Defrost,” told TODAY that nobody really thought people would be as hopelessly devoted to the film (which was based on a popular Broadway musical) as they became. He shared seven tidbits with us about the surprise-hit film.

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  • Cabot is back! Stephanie March returns to ‘Law & Order: SVU’

    Today.com - 4/13/18

    It wasn’t hard to get Stephanie March to return to “Law & Order: SVU” — all it took was a simple message from star Mariska Hargitay.

    “I hadn’t read the script or seen the episode when she texted me and said, ‘Would you be interested in coming back?’ and I said, ‘Why not?'” March told TODAY Friday. “There’s no downside to play a role I’ve always loved.”

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  • MIPTV 2018: Hiatus in U.S. Series Poses Challenge for Overseas Buyers

    Variety - 4/08/18

    When you live in an era of 450-plus scripted television shows available from traditional over-the-air networks and streaming services, it’s hard to imagine a problem stemming from so many quality choices. Prestige series with feature-sized budgets are creating some of the most innovative, deep-think, small-screen content we’ve ever seen in the U.S.

    But if you’re an international buyer, the side effects of top-quality U.S. television often come with a downside that can be summed up in one word: hiatus.

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