TVWriter™’s Top Posts of the Week Ending June 19th


The posts TVWriter™ visitors clicked on most during the past week were:

Peggy Bechko Gives Us a Peek into the Writing Life

Herbie J Pilato: Remembering Elizabeth Montgomery’s magic appeal

LB: Here’s What’s Happening with the 2015 People’s Pilot

Peggy Bechko: Stuck in the Mud – The Bogged Down Writer

The WGA Wants Us to Listen to Its Podcasts

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

The Teleplay

The Logline



Peggy Bechko Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Herbie J Pilato has a Message for Former NBC Pages

There’s a reunion coming up! Check it out!

Herbie Pilato NBC Page Reunion Capture

Hoping to see a lot of old friends!

Herbie J Pilato: How “Star Trek: Next Gen” Changed Everything

star-trek-next-generationby Herbie J Pilato

Before Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in the fall of 1987, episodic TV shows had a beginning, middle and end; story-arcs over several episodes didn’t exist (beyond the daytime and primetime soaps), and “character development” was a periodic thing.

For the most part, there was only episodic TV shows, and there really was no such thing as a “procedural.”

What happened in that one-hour dramatic episode of yore (or even that half-hour episode comedic episode) stayed there, and did not continue on into any future episode, segment or storyline.

Oh, sure, there may have been a periodic mention here and a trifle mention in some future episode that contained a fly-by-night reference to a previous episode…but not on a regular basis.

Did it up the game?  Eh – it changed the game.

In my view, it made things less interesting, and it all happened in a very strange and gradual way.

Here’s how it all went down:

The entire world was anticipating Gene Roddenberry’s Next Generation.  Many original “Trekkers” (of which I am proud to call myself a member) were flipping our “Tribbles” upon first hearing the news of a new Star in the making.  For decades (at least two), we read books about the old show, be they in nonfiction or novel form; attended conventions, etc.

So when Next Gen was announced, the fans, the artistic community, the sci-fi/fantasy community, and Hollywood (all of which intermingled at certain points) were each and all in a tizzy.

And then the show debuted…and it looked great, if maybe a little odd to have such a senior, hairless character as the new captain of the Enterprise in the form of the soon-to-be-endearing-and-fully-appreciated-for-his-genius Patrick Stewart.

But something seemed not right.  Apparently, Next Gen was too much like The Original Series, as the 1966-1969 show has come to be known.  It also seemed like Next Gen was reworking Original episodes.

Still, the show became a massive hit….and it wasn’t even on a major prime-time network.  It came in through the backdoor via Paramount and a new syndicated network of TV stations across the country (Roddenberry didn’t want to go through the heck a major network like NBC had put him through the first time around).

So, for its second season, things started to change a little bit, even the cast (Gates McFadden left for one year, only to return the following third season).  And for some Trekkers, the show became less “campy,” and more “serious,” with the commencement of the “story-arc.”  That’s right…the “one-hour self-containment” episodes of the first season was no more.  Episodes would now end, but at the same time, linger.  Many times, the viewer was left hanging, or at least wondering as to what just happened.

Indeed…that happened on The Original Series, but mostly to other characters beyond the actual Enterprise crew.

On Next Gen, the viewers didn’t really have a pin-pointed take on what the regular crew members were feeling about what or who they just experienced.  Instead, everything became murky.

And as to a satisfying ending?   Very far and few between…with a heck of a lot less action and adventure to boot.

Instead, this new Trek became L.A. Law – in Space.  Everyone started talking and talking and talking – but no one really went anywhere.  And most of the episodes were “bottle shows,” taking place on the Enterprise…and not exploring any “strange new world” at all.

Whereas The Original Series lacked a regular dose of character development, Next Gen had too much of it.

The “A-Story” was the main story on The Original Series, while “The B Story” became the main story on Next Gen.

And it all kinda’sorta’ transpired because of producer Rick Berman.  Gene Roddenberry’s health was failing, and Berman took over the helm.

And Berman was, well, simply not as exciting or as inventive as Gene.  Yes, he brought a great deal to the Trek” world; but Roddenberry, he wasn’t.

The sense of true fantasy and imagination was gone.

And then….something VERY odd started to transpire all around the tube, beyond Next Gen, as if all of Hollywood was caught up in some kind of space vortex of its own:

The rest of the industry started doing the same thing, when it came to weekly series.

Even a family show like Life Goes On started to change.  For its first two seasons, the show (which debuted on ABC in the fall of 1989) was an episodic hour; for the last two years, its episodes commenced the “story-arc” way of doing things, continuing from one week to the next with the same storyline (until its cancellation in the spring of 1993).

In the meantime, other shows all over the map followed suit, seemingly through the back door, and maybe even on a subconscious level.

But either way, on every level, it happened.  The days were over for one-shot-story-episodes in dramatic television.

Was it a good thing?

For some, it was; for others, not so much.

Like everything else, it all depends on your P.O.V.

Whether you’re a writer, or a watcher.

Herbie J Pilato: The best thing you can do for your career is to live your life.

liveby Herbie J Pilato

Attachment to anything is never a good thing.

One of my favorite quotes to this regard is from the genius spirit of Confucius who has said, “Lose expectation; gain everything.”

And this may be applied to every aspect of life…and career and how, for a writer, both intertwine moreso than for other professionals (or for anyone at any level of employment).

You can’t wait for your career to flourish for you to begin your life…to find the perfect mate…to write the great American novel…or the great American TV script.

First, you must live the scripts of life to write them; for living is from where your great stories and dialogue stem.

But even just the experience of living fully adds to the writer’s talent – and the writer’s life.

For example, I served as primary caregiver for both my beautiful parents in their later years, and I came to better understand patience, and so much more.

And also, in the process of caring for them, I became a kinder, more understanding, compassionate person (or at least I think I have).

Yes, the stories they told me of their own lives remain precious memories for me, as well as an inspiration for essays, and novels, and scripts…and clearly, blog posts (like this one!).

But again, more than anything – the actual “relating” of my experience with them made me all the “richer” – beyond what any book royalty or script sale could provide.

So, you want to a professional writer?  First, be a personable human being.  Cherish your relationships.  Fill your life up with relationships.

It will all work out in the long run.  You’ll sell that book…attain that staff job on that TV series…and bring more “to the table” than you would have ever thought possible.

You will have your “dream job” – and your “dream life.”   Because, ultimately the two go hand-in-hand.

Many fail or burn-out in the entertainment industry because they lack the solid foundation of reality to help keep them grounded.

So, appreciate the simple things in life….go for an ice cream…take a walk on the beach…have coffee with your neighbors.

Don’t ignore your job or your talent or the time you need to invest in your career; but try not to focus only on these things.

Because the best thing you could really do for career – is to live your life.

Everything else will then fall into place.

And in doing so you will be happy, healthy and fully-prepared to make that acceptance speech when you win your first Emmy or Oscar for best screenplay or teleplay or story.

And you will also be able to sincerely thank the “little,” “big” and “in-between” legitimately beautiful people in your life who helped you along the way to that podium speech.

For as Billy Dee Williams told Diana Ross (if ever so melodramatically) in the classic 1972 feature film, “Mahagony”:

“Success ain’t nothin’….NOTHIN’…unless you got someone to share it with.”

Herbie J Pilato: Happy New Year! A Must-See for Fans of 60s TV!


by Herbie J Pilato

Some great dance compilations on YouTube:

Keep on Dancing – The Gentrys
Published on May 16, 2012

Compilation of 60’s TV shows with “Keep on Dancing” by The Gentrys (1965). Classic sixties television shows include:

The Andy Griffith Show (Don Knotts, Jim Nabors)
Get Smart (Don Adams, Barbara Feldon)
The Addams Family (Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy)
Bewitched (Elizabeth Montgomery)
I Dream of Jeannie (Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman)
Gilligan’s Island (Tina Louise, Alan Hale Jr)
The Beverly Hillbillies (Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas)
The Dick Van Dyke Show (Mary Tyler Moore)
Batman (Adam West, Jill St. John)
The Patty Duke Show
Gidget (Sally Field)
Here’s Lucy (Lucille Ball, Gale Gordon)
Mr. Ed (Alan Young)
The Man from UNCLE (David McCallum)
My Favorite Martian (Ray Walston, Bill Bixby)
Family Affair (Brian Keith, Kathy Garver)
The Munsters (Fred Gwynne)

A Classic 60’s TV Show Dance Party
Uploaded on Nov 19, 2011

Compilation of several classic 60’s television shows with Let’s Dance by Chris Montez(1962). The Sixties TV show clips include:

The Avengers (Diana Rigg, Patrick Macnee)
The Andy Griffith Show (Don Knotts)
The Addams Family (Carolyn Jones, John Astin)
The Dick Van Dyke Show (Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore)
Gomer Pyle USMC (Jim Nabors)
The Patty Duke Show (Patty Duke)
The Doris Day Show (Doris Day)
Gidget (Sally Field)
Batman (Adam West, Victor Buono, Ziva Rodann)
Bewitched (Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Joy Harmon)
Gilligan’s Island (Tina Louise, Bob Denver)
I Dream of Jeannie (Barbara Eden)
Mr. Ed (Alan Young)
The Beverly Hillbillies (Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer, Bea Benaderet, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs)
That Girl (Marlo Thomas, Slim Pickens