What’s Coming Next Season on HOMELAND?

The writing/acting honchos of – gulp – HOMELAND

Co-Creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon Talk HOMELAND, Evolving the Story by Christina Radish

The first season of the Showtime drama series Homeland was both critically acclaimed and a hit among viewers, leaving everyone intrigued to see what direction Season 2 would take. Having seen the compelling first episode back, premiering on September 30th, I can say that it’s well worth the wait. The series stars Claire DanesDamian LewisMorena BaccarinMandy Patinkinand David Harewood.

While at the Showtime portion of the TCA Press Tour, executive producers Alex Gansa andHoward Gordon talked about the evolution of the story for Season 2, how important it was for Carrie (Danes) to be elated to be back in the intelligence game, the experience of shooting in Israel, how reality does affect the storytelling, and how the show is ultimately the character study of a man (Lewis) very damaged by his experience as a prisoner of war and how that plays into his reintegration back into his life in America. Gordon also gave yet another update about the possibility of the 24 movie ever happening.

Question: How long did you guys work on coming up with the idea for getting Carrie (Claire Danes) back working with intelligence? Were there any ideas that you thought of, that didn’t actually work?

ALEX GANSA: I’d say we thought of a lot of things, before we settled on what we ultimately came up with. One of the bad ideas was Carrie and Virgil working as private investigators.

HOWARD GORDON: There were not that many. We knew we had to wind Carrie up and get her back in the saddle, but it’s not that simple. She assures them that she understands that this is, by no means, a permanent situation. There’s more to come, on that story.

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Writers! Talking!

We have absolutely no comments to make about this series. This isn’t because of the show but due to feelings generated by the title: HOMELAND as a word applied to our country strikes us as the worst sort of propaganda. It’s so horrifically totalitarian that it leaves us so freaked and shaky we can barely type.

LB Sees LEVERAGE Season 5 Episode 3

by Larry Brody

Something’s wrong here. It’s been wrong all season, but I brushed it aside. Now, though, I’m forced to face this unpleasant fact:

I love the LEVERAGE characters and their interaction. It used to be the main reason I watched the show. Now it’s the only reason because as far as the plots go – I don’t get ’em.

Specifically, I haven’t been able to follow the endings, to see how what I’ve seen on the screen in the last 10 minutes of the show has led to the resolution in the last two minutes. This week’s episode, “The First Contact Job,” took my problem to a new extreme. I have absolutely no idea what happened at the end even though I rolled the episode back and re-watched half a dozen times.

Nothing computes. I know what should have happened. I know what was intended to have happened. But the only way I can make the ending work is if I pretend those necessary ingredients were on the screen even though they weren’t.

Was it a big fail in the editing? Even bigger than usual? Or was it a script failure? Network notes about losing difficult complexity killing the crux of the scam? I have no way of knowing, but I do know this: Next week is LEVERAGE’s last chance to make me love it. I mean it this time.

Speaking of LEVERAGE, and of scam/heist shows in general, last night’s big fail also pointing out something else to me: In this, the Computer Era/Information Age, teams doing big cons and/or elaborate thefts simply aren’t needed anymore. All that’s been needed to solve any of the problems the LEVERAGE team has faced since its inception is:

The character called Hardison, played by Aldis Hodge.

He’s the computer genius, see, who provides the underpinning and special effects for everything Nate Ford/Timothy Hutton and Company do. Only – why? In the real world, if you had a guy who could change interweb reality the way Hardison can, he wouldn’t be just one of your guns – he’d be the whole armory.

With a few lines of code, this guy can bankrupt any corrupt business baddy and reward any needy victim. With a few more lines, he can undo any damage to any victim’s career and reputation and put the blame where it belongs: Yep, on the baddy again. He can even create computer orders that release innocents from jail, and make any Mr. Evil look like an escaped lifer who has to be picked up and locked up again…forever.

So why do it any other way?

DALLAS Showrunner Interview

If you think that the current version of once-mighty DALLAS is bland, wait till you see the kinds of questions showrunner Cynthia Cidre is asked in this article. If these are the concerns of our Mighty OldMedia critics, well, no wonder the real world has become so much like IDIOCRACY. (What’s IDIOCRACY? It behooves everyone to find out.)

The current iteration of DALLAS

Dallas‘ Exec Producer Talks About the Shocking Season Finale – by William Keck

J.R. didn’t get shot, but he may very well shoot himself when he finds out that a Barnes has once again infiltrated his family. And this time, that Barnes is carrying a set of Ewing heirs! That’s right, TNT’s Dallas relaunch concluded its first season with the stunning twist that Rebecca — Christopher’s estranged bride and the mother of his unborn twins — is actually the daughter of age-old Ewing nemesis, Cliff Barnes.

And that wasn’t the only cliffhanger fans are left to ponder until January, when the saga picks up with 15 new episodes. Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who managed to make the decades-old primetime soap water cooler fodder for a new generation, took time away from penning Season 2 to answer a few burning questions.

TV Guide Magazine: Having wrapped a successful first season, what do you feel worked and didn’t work in Dallas‘ first 10 hours?
Cynthia Cidre: I think we had a few too many hairpin turns, which are fun, but with the next 15 episodes I’d rather let some more emotional moments breathe. I was watching the deleted scenes in the DVD box we’re going to put out and there were some lovely scenes that I can’t believe we cut out [for time purposes].

TV Guide Magazine: I know you had to lose a sweet scene with J.R. and Sue Ellen dancing at the Ewing barbecue, and another with Sue Ellen and Cliff walking through downtown Dallas. What were some of your favorite moments that didn’t make it on screen?
Cidre: They were all emotional scenes; scenes where people were talking about feelings and were beautifully done. When your shows come in 10 minutes over, these are the scenes that go because you have to stick to the plot for the shows to make sense. So next season we will be writing scripts that are 10 pages shorter so we won’t have to cut out the fun flavor and humor.

TV Guide Magazine: And what worked particularly well that you plan to continue in Season 2?
Cidre: I’d like to have more music. And I personally love our [week-to-week] cliffhangers and whoppers. I think they are surprising people. I read some reactions to the finale and it seems like they didn’t see it coming.

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“I’d like to have more music?” Len Katzman (look him up after you learn about IDIOCRACY) is rolling/roiling/rumbling in his grave.

J.R.’s Current Boss – Cynthia Cidre

Salinger + Hemingway = Betrayal, Of Course


J.D. Salinger’s Letter To Ernest Hemingway – from Hello Goodbye Hello by Craig Brown

J.D. Salinger seeks out Ernest Hemingway
The Ritz Hotel, 15 place Vendôme, Paris
Late August 1944

The twenty-five-year-old Jerry Salinger is experiencing a terrible war. Of the 3,080 men of the 12th US Infantry who disembarked with him at Normandy on D-Day, only a third are still alive.

His regiment is the first to enter Paris. They are mobbed by happy crowds. Salinger’s job as an officer in the Counter-Intelligence Corps entails weeding out and interrogating Nazi collaborators. As they go through Paris, he and a fellow officer arrest a collaborator, but a crowd wrests their prisoner away and beats him to death.

Salinger has heard that Ernest Hemingway is in town. A writer himself, with a growing reputation for his short stories, he is determined to seek out America’s most famous living novelist. He feels sure he will find him at the Ritz, so he drives the jeep there. Sure enough, Hemingway is installed in the small bar, already bragging that he alone liberated Paris in general and the Ritz in particular.

To this latter claim, there is a slight smidgin of truth. “It was all he could talk about,” remembers a fellow member of the press corps. “It was more than just being the first American in Paris. He said, “I will be the first American at the Ritz. And I will liberate the Ritz.’” In fact, by the time he arrives, the Germans have already abandoned the hotel, and the manager has come out to welcome him, boasting, “We saved the Cheval Blanc!”

“Well, go get it,” snaps Hemingway, who then begins slugging it down. Hemingway proceeds to make the Ritz his home. From then on, he can’t be bothered to cover the liberation of Paris, though he lends his typewriter to someone who can. Instead, he spends most of his time drinking Perrier-Jouet in the bar.

Over brandy after lunch on liberation day, a female guest says she wants to go and watch the victory parade.

“What for?” says Hemingway. “Daughter, sit still and drink this good brandy. You can always see a parade, but you’ll never again lunch at the Ritz the day after Paris was liberated.”

As the days go by, he continues to hold court in the Ritz, boasting how many Germans he has killed, though no one with him can remember him killing a single one.

Upon Salinger’s arrival, Hemingway greets him like an old friend, saying that he recognises him from his photograph in Esquire and has read all his short stories. Does he have any new work with him? Salinger produces a recent copy of the Saturday Evening Post containing one of his stories. Hemingway reads it and congratulates him. The two writers sit and talk for hours. Salinger (who secretly prefers Fitzgerald’s writing) is pleasantly surprised by the difference between Hemingway’s public and private personas; he finds him “a really good guy.”

A few days later, Hemingway tells a friend about meeting “a kid in the 4th Division named Jerry Salinger.” He notes his disdain for the war, and his urge to write. He is also impressed by the way Salinger’s family continues to post him the New Yorker.
The two men never meet again, but they correspond. Hemingway is a generous mentor. “First you have a marvelous ear and you write tenderly and lovingly without getting wet… how happy it makes me to read the stories and what a god damned fine writer I think you are.”

The chumminess of their single meeting is captured in a letter Salinger writes to Hemingway the following year from the military hospital in Nuremberg where he is being treated for combat stress:

Nothing was wrong with me except that I’ve been in an almost constant state of despondency and I thought it would be good to talk to somebody sane. They asked me about my sex life (which couldn’t be normaler – gracious!) and about my childhood (Normal)… I’ve always liked the Army … There are very few arrests left to be made in our section. We’re now picking up children under ten if their attitudes are snotty. Gotta get those ole arrest forms up to Army, gotta fatten up the Report.

…I’ve written a couple more of my incestuous stories, and several poems, and part of a play. If I ever get out of the Army I might finish the play and invite Margaret O’Brien to play with me in it. With a crew-cut and a Max Factor dimple over my navel, I could play Holden Caulfield myself. I once gave a very sensitive performance as Raleigh in “Journey’s End.”

I’d give my right arm to get out of the Army, but not on a psychiatric, this-man-is-not-fit-for-the-Army-life ticket. I have a very sensitive novel in mind, and I won’t have the author called a jerk in 1950. I am a jerk, but the wrong people mustn’t know it.

I wish you’d drop me a line if you can manage it. Removed from this scene, is it much easier to think clearly? I mean with your work.

Around this time, Salinger experiences some sort of nervous break- down fuelled by the horrors he has endured. His biographer Ian Hamilton suggests his chummy letter to Hemingway cannot be taken at face value. It is, he believes, “almost manically cheerful.” He is probably right. Years later, Salinger tells his daughter: “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live.”

In Greenwich Village in 1946, Jerry Salinger has regained some of his old bravado. To his poker-playing friends he speaks disparagingly of many well-known writers, Hemingway among them. “In fact, he was quite convinced that no really good American writers existed after Melville – that is, until the advent of J.D. Salinger,” recalls one.

Hemingway, on the other hand, is happy to name Salinger one of his three favorite contemporary authors; when he dies, a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” is found in his library. He is neither the first writer with a disciple who turns against him, nor the last.

Via HuffingtonPost.Com

And people accuse TVWriter™ of being snarky? Craig Brown has us beat. In fact, he’s got his ‘tude down so brilliantly that we want to be his interns. Dood, you listening? Call us. Liberate us!

StoryBundle Looks Interesting

A good thing for readers, no doubt. And for writers? For new ones, yes. Another interesting way to get your work out there and have your eBooks discovered. What are we talking about? Here’s what the site itself has to say:

 StoryBundle is a way for people who love to read to discover quality indie books written by indie authors. You know how it’s always hard to find something good to read? StoryBundle hopes to solve that.

We take a handful of books—usually about five or so—and group them together to offer as a bundle. Then you, the reader, can take a look at the titles we’ve chosen and decide how much you’d like to pay. Think of us like a friend that scours independent books for undiscovered gems, then bundles these titles together for one low price that you decide. Yeah, we mean it; you get to set the price that you want to pay!

…There are a fixed set of books that we offer in a bundle, and each bundle is available only for a limited time. If you miss out on the bundle, you’ll have to buy the books individually from each author. We only have one bundle on sale at a time, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Again, one of the central concepts is that you get to decide how much each bundle is worth to you. Think each individual book in a bundle of five books is worth $2? That’s fine! Pay $10 and get five books! Only think they’re worth $1 because you’re not sure if you like a certain genre? That’s fine too. If you want to reward these authors and encourage more independent writers by giving a bit more, that’s fantastic as well. One reason we started StoryBundle is because indie authors need our support, and we want to do our part in showcasing awesome writers.

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This all sounds pretty cool, although if we signed up as buyers we’d probably choose to pay only pennies, if anything, because that’s how we roll we’re starving writers ourselves. Although if we stuck around we’d probably cough up a few more shekels because of, you know, that little thing our mothers gave us, i.e., “guilt.”

Which brings us to the most important bit for writers:

I’ve written a book! Can you feature my book in a future bundle?

We’re always in search of awesome indie books, so we’re interested in checking out your work. If you’re an author, email us at submissions@storybundle.com.

If we’d finished our book we’d definitely include StoryBundle among the places we annoyed with submissions. Since we haven’t, we’re hoping that one of you reading this will do it instead…and keep us posted on how it turns out.

Good luck!