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May 16 2011

Fourteen prominent showrunners discuss their influences. Today's top show runners talk about their influences and inspirations. Not surprisingly, several mention Buffy.

ETA: The specific pages the references are on slide #6 (Shonda Rhimes) and #10 (Craig Thomas).

The main Buffy references are slide #6 (Shonda Rhimes) and #10 (Craig Thomas). Might've missed a passing reference or two.

Edit: Typo. I swear, I read it twice! >.<

[ edited by cabri on 2011-05-16 17:15 ]
Thanks, cabri! I was in the process of adding that info, and was just realizing that I thought there were more than that, when a second read told me I had imagined it.
A bit like the series of interviews that Jeffrey Berman did a couple of years ago, including one with Joss himself.
And Charlie Brooker interviewed some top UK writers for Screenwipe.
Part 1
and how TV works

Writers becoming more famous and identifiable can only be a good thing. Hopefully this will spread to movies and (gradually) improve the way writers are treated.
So OMWF influenced Shonda doing her musical for Grey's?
I did'nt saw it, but a lot of that show fans here said that it was a terrible episode.

I remember Judd Winnick saying that Buffy was his main model to write Juniper Lee.
Interesting that the guys from HIMYM seem to be big Buffy fans. Wonder if that played into Alyson's casting on the show at all?

Really interesting article - love getting a peek into the brains behind so many great shows.
Great read!(Thanks for the link k8cre8 wouldn't have wanted to miss this.)

It's interesting that Robert King mentions The West Wing as the show that made him want to do TV, as, at it's best The Good Wife tends to remind me of it - also "You can always create more plot; you canít create more audience" is a lovely philosophy for a showrunner.

Also I love the idea of a "charity for raising awareness among the poor about not calling non-French sparkling wine Champagne." I guess I really ought to try watching 30 Rock sometime.
sarahb, the Lily and Marshall relationship is based on one of the creators of HIMYM and his wife. They are both huge Buffy fans and his wife only agreed to her life being made into a sitcom if she was played by Alyson. So to answer your question: Absolutely.
So OMWF influenced Shonda doing her musical for Grey's?
I did'nt saw it, but a lot of that show fans here said that it was a terrible episode.


I loved the episode. It was no OMWF, sure, but I thought it was pretty good.


Interesting article, it was a good read.
I really like Dan Harmon's idea of having a website with all pilots and have people vote on their favorites. Doubt it would ever happen, but I like the thought.
I'm amused at Harmon's suggestion but it's totally daft. We'd get a bunch of niche fan groups stuffing the ballot and then bitching when the shows got cancelled because no one else watched them. That happens already, so why bother with the build up of a "vote"?
Agreed, I like the sentiment but the internet is a bad place. There's a glint of an idea there though - I'd love to be able to see all of the pilots that didn't make it. I fear something like that would never happen due to twisty copyright, but if that wasn't the case it'd be a decent way to get revenue you otherwise might not have. Lotsa people wanting to see DEK's Wondy, for instance. (Of course, these things could just be put up onto iTunes too).
Have a feeling if Rob Thomas, JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Russell T. Davies were interviewed, we'd have gotten a lot more Buffy mentions...
How would these niche groups control this poll? Do you think they have websites members post links so they can overwhelm online polls to ensure their favorites might win? How horrible. I'm sure it would be awful if a group like that could determine who got funding for t.v. shows. No perpetually mistreated yet brilliant creators would ever get new shows if the INTERNET could vote.
They do, but it's passion more than anything. The difference with showing pilots would be that things would be more objective - people would be familiar with certain writers and actors but could easily be disappointed with a pilot due to lack of fandom. If it worked that way, ironically, I seriously doubt Community (or Chuck) would have ever gotten to air. We would end up with lots of adapations and spinoffs for built-in audiences.

If an idea of that could reach the wider public - a show at the beginning of every season announcing the pilots, or just a few trailers (watch full ep online!) w/ a 'Press Red!' button to vote, then things could change - but people still like their procedurals and singing competitions no matter what.

There's no real logic, because then you can't really gain audiences and if you're doing super well, you'd still have to cancel things to spice it up. The current system is flawed, but any other way just has too many holes to even think about!
Giveaway a free pilot DVD with something like 'Entertainment Weekly' or 'TV Guide' maybe ? The more you got it out to the general public the more the results would avoid skewing due to "dedication". Alternatively you could just arrange it so that online ballot stuffing was avoided/reduced (it's hard but not impossible though the trade-off is difficulty in voting which might be self-defeating since only the "dedicated" might bother).

To me the point is, it or something similar might be worth a shot, trying it once doesn't oblige the studios/networks to do it in perpetuity, success/failure is fairly easy to measure and it's not like it'd be a total break from the existing (broken, wasteful) model. Not changing because change is hard is why, after the recent referendum, we in the UK still have the worst electoral system possible rather than the Alternative Vote (which is the second worst ;).

(don't get me wrong, I don't see it happening but not because it's impossible to implement)

We would end up with lots of adapations and spinoffs for built-in audiences.

Unlike now you mean Jaymii *cough* 3 (+ ?) Law and Orders, 3 CSIs, 2 NCISs, a 'Bones' spin-off, a "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off etc. ?

... also "You can always create more plot; you canít create more audience" is a lovely philosophy for a showrunner.

This is often a sign of great TV IMO - burning through plot is a statement of intent and confidence in your premise, gives me warm fuzzies when I see it. Course, slow burns can be great too ('Rubicon' or 'Game of Thrones' for instance - though I suppose GoT is more "lots of fast burns in small amounts").
I don't think Rob Thomas ever watched much of Buffy bonzob. At least he hadn't back 6 years ago, when he was writting Veronica Mars (link). However, I certainly would have loved it if he'd been included.

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-05-17 15:32 ]
Vince Gilligan
The X-Filesíquirkiest, most earthbound writer
Actually, I'd say that honor goes to Darin Morgan.
More then? Conversely, it could mean that adaptions don't get made. I don't care for the LotR films but I don't remember hearing much love for the project when it was initially announced. Hmm. CBS is not the type of network that would be up for this thing anyway - I could only foresee Syfy, FOX and perhaps NBC mixing things up if they wanted to.

Also, Angel.
More then?

Well, if that's what most people want to see then yeah, that's what's going to happen. It's always been an open question to me whether Joss' stuff really does have mass market appeal and it's only the much bemoaned lack of publicity/mismanaged launches/network interference etc. that causes his stuff not to be a big hit OR whether it just doesn't actually appeal to that many people. At least this way we'd know I suppose.

(though i'd have in mind a more granular vote where the networks might consider demographics etc. when deciding whether to greenlight - so a pilot could have relatively low numbers but the right sort of numbers, 18-34 ABC1s or whatever, and still get the go ahead. To relate it to what I said before, it doesn't have to be a strict first-past-the-post voting system)
Ha, more spin-offs and adaptions. Sorry about that. :)

And indeed, a complete ratings overhaul would be remarkable.
Imo, the main problem with Internet voting is that most of the "regular TV viewers" won't show up. Lots of people only have time in their lives for a handful of shows that they are highly dedicated to, or they live busy lives, work hard and then turn on the TV to programs that (some will readily admit) don't force them to think. If a fair portion of American Network viewers are people who specifically tune into programs because they are not challenged, then I would greatly question how motivated those people would be to watch pilots and then vote on them. We would wind up with a very skewed self-selecting sample that might have some accuracy in predicting which shows have the potential to become cult favorites, but I think that that would be the best that we might hope for.

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