Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Bottle Show


2009 hasn’t been the worst year of my life by any measure, but it’s been filled with enough disappointment, frustration and petty annoyances to cover an entire decade. I’m tellin’ ya, I already have a couple bottles of Baby Duck on ice to boot this puppy out the door with all the ceremony it deserves.

But there were some high points, even the worst years have ‘em, and I thought I’d share those as my final post of the decade.

Almost every writer who has toiled on a television series has been confronted at one point or another by something called a “Bottle show”. It’s a term that comes from some line producer’s ambition to find an episode so cheap or quick to produce you could literally shoot it in a bottle and is sometimes the result of too many real bottles being emptied around the production office after one crisis or another.

Basically, the concept is --- write a show that will use clips from past episodes to tell a story while the current episode unfolds in a bar, an elevator or the cubicle where somebody is writing a letter to mom. Anything that will only use minimal cast and time to accomplish.

I always hated bottle shows. But you had to admit that they got you back on budget, on schedule, past the date when the leading lady was no longer infectious or out the door for an early haitus.

Some of the things I’ve written here and your responses to them have been among the high points of 2009 for me. Which might tell you more about my life than I’d like to be public knowledge.

Be that as it may, here’s my own selection of what I thought the Legion said best in 2009. If you get bored over the next couple of days or will be, like me, so hung over you’re not capable of much else, I hope you’ll find one or two you haven’t read or feel you might like to read again.

All the best in 2010 when I’ll be back doing some more. It’ll take more than what 2009 threw to shut me up.

Best of “The Legion of Decency”, If I do say so myself

Oh, and if you have any others, send a comment and I’ll add them to the list…

January 2009 - A Desperate Lack of X-Ray Vision

Technically this three part series, Pt.1, Pt. 2 and Pt.3 began in 2008 as an overview of why Canadian TV had become as screwed up as it has. Who knew 12 months ago that the issues would remain unaddressed a full year later.

March 2009 – Shamelessly Entertaining

Or – why can’t we make movies people enjoy?

April 2009 – Clever Girl

How writers are sometimes not as smart as we think we are.

May 2009 – You Can’t Handle The Truth

Because, well admit it, you can’t.

June 2009 – The New Drive-In

One of Television’s possible futures.

June 2009 – Mexicans in Sweaters

Politically incorrect Canadian television history.

August 2009 – Unnecessary Roughness

How Football went to the Dogs.

September 2009 – Without Stories

Why stories are important.

September 2009 – Stop Making Sense

How we lost it at the movies.

October 2009 – The Hole in Daddy’s Arm

More on why TV here just isn’t getting any better.

November 2009 – A Tale of Two Business Models

Please stop me before I have to write about Canadian TV again!

If once through the above was enough for you, my thanks for continuing to come back to the Legion and have a safe and Happy New Year!

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