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Entries in Blueprints (41)

Friday
Sep142018

Blueprints: "The Assassination of Gianni Versace"

We’re less than one week away from the Emmys. For the last time, Jorge takes a look into the scripts for episodes of major contenders before the ceremony.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace was a big departure from the first season of American Crime Story in many ways. First of all, it is told in reverse. It opens with the titular murder of the fashion designer, and goes backwards into the other three murders that Andrew Cunanan committed, and traces back his childhood and upbringing. The show is less a legal procedural like O.J. and more a psychological dive into the mind of a broken man, and the emotional ramifications of his actions. The two seasons have completely different visual and narrative styles. They are written by different people. They are linked only by the series title after the colon.

Writer Tim Robb Smith uses Andrew’s story to make a larger comment about, among many other things, fame, self-hatred and the trauma of the closet...

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Thursday
Sep062018

Blueprints: "Black Mirror: U.S.S. Callister"

Jorge continues to look into the Emmy nominees before the show on September 17th.

WARNING! Spoilers below for the Black Mirror episode "U.S.S. Callister"!

Black Mirror has to operate as an individual, stand-alone story in every episode. As an anthology series, there’s no cast of characters to follow through long arcs, no stories to pick up from, no built-in mythology or tone. In a way, this is incredibly freeing, as they can experiment as much as possible since he only thing that ties the episodes together is a theme. But being basically TV movies (which is what they submit themselves as with the Emmys), they also have to to the groundwork for the audience every time.

And it’s not simple groundwork. Black Mirror revolves around the dangers, consequences, benefits and untapped potential of technology. Elaborate worlds, complex gadgets, and characters living in somewhat alternate universes are built into its fabric. It’s always part of the journey to discover what terrifying side of our screen devices they’ll explore...

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Thursday
Aug302018

Blueprints: "The Crown"

Jorge continues to look into the pilot episodes of the Best Series contenders before the Emmys on Sept 17th

When we discuss pilot episodes, we often talk about the importance of introducing the world and the characters for the first time to an audience: the opening shot of an episode, their first line of dialogue, or how the characters are described when they appear on screen. First impressions are crucial.

However, the final image of a pilot is arguably just as important as the first one. It is the thing that will grasp the audience’s attention for the last time and make them want to tune in to the next episode (or not).  It is also often the moment that sets up the story arc for the rest of the series and offers a glimpse of where the main storyline will lead...

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Friday
Aug242018

Blueprints: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

As we approach the Emmys, Jorge is looking at the pilot episodes of Best Series contenders. 

Amy Sherman-Palladino made a name for herself with dialogue. Best known as the creator of Gilmore Girls, but also behind the one-season wonder Bunheads, her newest series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows a 1950s housewife who finds refuge in standup comedy after her husband leaves her. The delightfully twee vintage setting and the world of verbose comedy sets and big performer personalities is a perfect fit for her now immediately recognizable patter-chatter, all anchored by a revelatory performance from Rachel Brosnahan. 

Let’s take a look at the climax of the pilot episode: Midge’s drunken, cathartic stand-up set. How she slowly wins the audience. How it escalates on the page. How the endless sentences, tangents, and colorful adjectives create explosive tension...

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Thursday
Aug162018

Blueprints: "The Americans"

Jorge continues to look at the pilot episodes for the Best Series contenders of this year’s Emmys. 

The Americans did a lot of things at once. It was a spy show, a family drama, a heavy exploration of the human psyche, a look into a broken marriage, and a workplace series, all neatly tied into one disguise-heavy package. That multi-tasking is what made it one of the greatest shows in the so-called New Golden Age of Television. 

The series premiered in 2013, and ended this spring after six seasons, so the pilot may be a bit removed from our collective memories. But let’s take a look at the very first sequence of the entire show, anyway. It immersed us immediately in the world of these people, no explanations given, and put us on high gear from the get-go...

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Thursday
Aug092018

Blueprints: "GLOW"

As we steamroll towards Emmy season, Jorge will be diving into the pilot episodes for some of the Best Series nominees from now until the ceremony on September 17. This week, he steps into the ring for some gorgeous lady wrestling…

If a TV show has the Jenji Kohan seal (either as a creator or as an executive producer), there are several things you can expect from it: biting satire that effortlessly moves from dark comedy to emotional drama, a focus on female stories, and large ensembles.

GLOW, Netflix’s second big collaboration with Kohan after Orange Is the New Black (though here only in a producer capacity) is a perfect embodiment of these traits. Let’s take a look at how writer-creator’s for the hit comedy, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, introduce and establish the main characters that we will be following in this journey of self-empowerment and risky physical maneuvers...

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