Thursday, January 7, 2010

Volume 3, Number 29: TV Show Ideas

(Note: I originally posted this entry to my Yahoo! GeoCities blog on September 27, 2008.)

About a year ago, in response to CBS' short-lived reality show, Kid Nation, I suggested that the premise would work a lot better if the ghost town were run by ex-cons. Ex-Con Nation is still a thought in my mind, but in the meantime, I've had a few other ideas for TV shows:

Hell's Kitchen: New England - For the past four years, Scott Liebfried has worked under Gordon Ramsay as the sous-chef overseeing the blue team in Hell's Kitchen. Now, Chef Liebfried returns to his old stomping grounds for his own Hell's Kitchen (he previously worked in Long Island, Boston, and Martha's Vineyard). He carries himself like a cop, treating his chefs like they came straight out of America's Dumbest Criminals. (note to mark: insert YouTube links in which Chef Liebfried rips into contestants) In fact, I'd even promote him as "America's Culinary Cop." Added twists: From time to time, Chef Liebfried will give a contestant the choice of either going to culinary school (but leaving the competition voluntarily), or staying in the competition (in which case Chef Liebfried will almost certainly not offer the scholarship again to that contestant). (This last bit is inspired by the part in season 3 where, after eliminating Julia, Chef Ramsay gave her a free ride to culinary school.) Finally, instead of "Fire" by the Ohio Players, the theme song will be "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix.

Tuned Out - You've seen all kinds of shows that do nothing but comment on celebrity news, pop culture, other TV shows, and the like--I Love the '70s/'80s/'90s, those top 20/50/100 countdown shows like you see on E! and VH1, and more. And you see the same people on them--comedians who don't have anything better going on (like Patrice O'Neal and the Sklar brothers) and celebrities who are between gigs (like Chris Jericho before he returned to the WWE). Why not put 13 of them in one house and see who's the best, and give them their own show? Now, British TV ubercynic Charlie Brooker (who has a show on the BBC called Screenwipe where he has all kinds of things to say about TV shows and commercials) has invited 13 such people to live a big house where they do nothing but watch TV and make all kinds of commentary on what they watch. At the end of every episode, Brooker will be in a room with 13 TV sets--one showing each of the contestants--and will tell them which ones will stay, until he gets to the one to be eliminated, at which point he says, "I'm sorry, you're Tuned Out," and picks up the remote corresponding to that set to switch it off. The winner--hopefully the one with the wit that is the quickest, most well-rounded, most acerbic, most creative and/or most original--gets to host his/her own show in which they get to comment on TV shows, pop culture, celebrity news, something along those lines.

New Wave Corporate Raiders - A group of ex-cons are sent back to the year 1982 to murder some Wall Street execs and take their places. But why, and who are they working for? Will they do what they're told? Is anyone going to find out about them, and if so, how? The series will serve as a thinly veiled attack on Corporate America and Wall Street and the practices they've employed since the days of Reagan.

The Kevin Fisher Times - This one, I've had on my mind for years. Set in the year 2002, it's about a newspaper columnist who finds himself trapped in a parallel universe. In this universe, the technology to travel between universes has existed since 1945 (courtesy of an accident that caused Flight 19 to disappear from our universe and appear in the parallel one). Global media corporations have control over the technology and will do anything and everything to prevent the government, intelligence agencies and the military from finding out about it. Why? Put bluntly, the marketplace of ideas is a gold mine. Media executives from this parallel universe also travel to ours in an effort to exchange ideas with their counterparts (for example, the film "The Terminator," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, is based on another film of the same title taking place in the parallel universe, except that it was made in 1978 and starred Jack Nicholson and Sissy Spacek).

Tooth and Nail - It's a sitcom about a dentist who sets up his office at some strip mall and falls in love with a manicurist who also has a shop in the very same strip mall. OK, it needs a boatload of work, but the idea came at a time when I wondered if TV shows weren't created with the title first and more important stuff like plotlines and characters second. Case in point #1: Neat & Tidy, a parody of action/adventure shows from around 1987 that got its title from its characters, Nick Neat and Tena Tidy. I kid you not. This short-lived syndicated series is now referred to in the Internet Movie Database as Adventures Beyond Belief. Case in point #2: In 1988, Mr. T used to have this syndicated action show. The producers of the show decided that both his character and the female lead character both have last names that start with T so the show could be called "T and T" in order to cash in on the name recognition Mr. T had.

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