January 7th, 2003

Enterprise Bridge

Pride in one's work, and the means to fulfill it

The Season 1 Babylon 5 DVD set has commentaries for two episodes out of 22. The Sopranos has three or four out of thirteen each season. I picked up Season 1 of The Shield today. All thirteen episodes have commentary. Creator-producer, directors, actors. They did a really nice job with this set.

The commentary talks a lot about the show's genesis and development. It paints an interesting picture... the production crew got their first choices in casting with no network interference. They've largely been left alone creatively. The cast and the directors all have wide experience, and they all express amazement at how much freedom the suits have granted the show.

I like this show a lot. I'm putting it in the same category as The Sopranos. We're now used to quality programming out of the premium channels--as such, they have the financial means to be innovative and take risks. The opinion is that F/X put slack in the leash because they have nothing to lose. They're a basic cable network, and a fairly young one. They can't really sink any lower, so why not shoot for the stars? I hope it's a sign of a trend. There's still a whole lot of crap on television, even with the premium networks breathing down the broadcast networks' necks. Television really does have great potential as a literary medium, it's just so infrequently fulfilled. If this is or becomes a trend, it may open the doors for people to tell interesting stories more than before, and I look forward to that.