Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some of the Most Amazing Writers

Lately it has struck me how incredible the writing is for many TV shows. Often, it's nothing short of brilliant, and like novels there are some shows where the writers excel at certain areas (plot, dialogue, storytelling, characterization) and there are some where the focus is obviously in a different place.

There are shows where the focus is on the twists, turns and surprises in the plot. Some of those that jump immediately to my mind are Lost, Heroes and Alias.

Others are focused on dialogue and character. The most obvious of these to me is Friends or perhaps The Office.

Other writers are excellent at dragging us into a foreign environment and making us experience it with them. Grey's Anatomy, 24, and Lie To Me are good examples. Every time I watch an episode I'm convinced I'd fit in perfectly in the O.R., the FBI, or that I'd be excellent at reading peoples' faces. (Just make sure no one hands me a scalpel)

The one I saw last night, Glee, was unlike anything I've seen lately. It brought on such intense nostalgia that my husband told my I'm not allowed to watch it in bed anymore. Apparently it's difficult to sleep when the person next to you is singing along with the TV.

Who knew?

What are your favorite shows? What do you enjoy the most about the way they are written?


  1. Normally, when I watch TV, I switch off, and don't really pay attention to how it's written. In fact, the only show I've watched where I was focussing on the writing was a crime show, The Strip, but that was becuase it was painfully unrealistic in the characters feelings.

    BTW, you wrote O.R in the post. Did you mean E.R.?

  2. I watch way too much TV and find it's a real learning experience when it comes to both good and bad storytelling and characterization. I'm loving Castle this season as well as Brothers and Sisters. I'll admit to being a bit of a reality TV junkie, so there's no story there!

  3. Hmmm if it's good TV, my writer brain turns off (except the occasional "I wish I'd written that line). If it's badly written, acted, etc. though, I am the most vocal critic.

    I will say there are shows that some people love, which I just don't find appealing. I can usually identify what they love about it, but I dissect those shows mercilessly, searching for both what does and doesn't work. Consider the energy expended doing so, however, unless forced, I don't watch the show often LOL.

  4. little scribbler - I meant O.R. as in Operating Room, because on Grey's Anatomy, they are surgeons.

    Amy - Yeah, I like some reality TV. One of my favorite people on Idol this year was Norman Gentle. I loved him, and who would have written him into a show? That's one of the funnest things about reality TV. :)

    selestial - I know exactly what you mean, every episode of Lost, I fight with myself about whether I can really like a show that I've watched for so many seasons and still know almost nothing about what is happening. lol

  5. House is my favorite show. So many times I am impressed by the writing and dialogue, and I also feel like I am right there with the characters

  6. Megan - I LOVE HOUSE! Isn't he just the most incredible, dynamic character. Who else could the viewers love in spite of all of his NUMEROUS flaws? It is truly impressive.

  7. I love LOST, I think the story telling is amazing. I also love How I met your mother. They way they put the stories together are great comedy.

  8. Oh, I almost watched GLEE and did not - maybe I should have!

    I used to love Frasier and thought the writing smart and crisp!

  9. I'm also a big fan of House. Some of my new faves are The Mentalist and Castle. I love when the writers can make the characters breezy and full of quips and savvy. I love drama and humor mixed.

  10. Me no have TV. Kinda limits my responses to this post. Not to mention a great many conversations in the OR where I work.

    (thought I'd slip that last bit in and see if it made you jealous)

  11. Patti - I've heard good things about How I Met Your Mother. Maybe I should check it out. :)

    Kat - You missed out. Go. Download. Be free! :D

    Lotusgirl - Any friend of House is a friend of mine. ;)

    Ray - The... OR... We should hang out more.

  12. I like strong character/dialogue writers. Joss Whedon is amazing in that he can mingle horror, comedy and tragedy in the same sentences so that you are surprised that you're laughing. I just discovered how phenomenal Supernatural is -- I adore Dean and his dialogue particularly the brother bantering is well done. Chuck is another strong comedy/drama mixture that is very telling in the dialogue and character interactions.