Hidden Gem

by Alan Rapp on January 1, 2008

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The TV Set
  • IMDB: link

“I’m fucking freaked because this show, it’s not Shakespeare I know.  It’s not The Sopranos, but it’s my show and if I don’t worry about the content of my show, if I just sit back and let them turn it into another cannibalized piece of shit then I’m part of the problem.  I am the one who’s responsible for pumping shit into people’s living rooms.  I’m making the world more mediocre.”

the-tv-set-posterMike Klein (David Duchovny) should be on top of the world.  He and his wife (Justine Bateman) are expecting their first child and a television network is interested in this script for a new comedy based on the aftermath of his brother’s suicide.  So what’s the problem?  Well, this is Hollywood.

At every turn Mike is forced to make concessions to casting, shooting, and script which slowly chip away at the original premise until it is almost unrecognizable.  Here’s a great look at how talented people get roped into bad television shows, and how the power does not come from the actors, directors or writers, but the network.

Great performances abound here in this smartly worked script by Jake Kasdan.  Duchovny carries the film, but he has loads of help from the suits (Sigourney Weaver, Ioan Gruffudd), from his obfuscating assistant (Judy Greer), and the cast of the new show (Fran Kranz, Lindsay Sloan).  Gruffudd is especially good in with a character given a different perspective, but still forced to make uncomfortable compromises to get the job done.

This humorous look at the horror which is pilot season will make you wonder how anything good gets on television, and why anyone would be willing to deal with the hassles involved.  There are many memorable moments, from Duchovny’s speech above, to the Weaver’s increasingly inane notes about the show (“Does the brother have to commit suicide?”).  It doesn’t rank up among the year’s best films, but it’s a good time with many laughs and memorable moments, and it just might make you question picking up that TV remote after you’re done.

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