Sunday, January 7, 2007

Good TV Writing

In my other life--or one of my other lives--I think I have four or five now--I write fiction and screenplays. So part of the purpose of this blog is to give me a reason to watch scads of TV and then write about it and hopefully learn by osmosis and discussion the hows and whys of good TV writing.

So I'm going to mention something I saw last night while catching up with Jericho. At the end of episode two, "Fallout," Hawkins is shown acquiring a piece of information via radio about the extent of the nuclear holocaust that has befallen the US. We don't know exactly what he's found out. But at the very end, Hawkins is shown in his house/fallout shelter in front of a large map of the US. He pulls out a red pin from a drawer and sticks it in Denver. Okay, we knew about Denver. Then he pulls out a pin and sticks it in Atlanta. We knew about Atlanta, too. Then...

A pin goes into Chicago. Then Philadelphia. Then a pin hovers over LA before moving down to stick into San Diego. Then the camera focuses solely on the drawer as Hawkins pulls out pin after pin...after pin...after pin...

That struck me as a really nice piece of writing. Some information given, some withheld--and in an arrestingly visual way that made us happy to go along with the reveal and the take away. And that's going into the mental file on Good TV Writing.

By the way, I'm watching this show via the full episode streaming video offered at CBS's Innertube. So far I'm pretty happy with the interface.

More on Jericho later.