The first season was released back in August, and I had a blast catching up with great characters like Michael and Melissa Steadman, Elliot Weston and Gary Shepherd. Season two hits DVD in January, thanks to the good folks at Shout! Factory, known for putting out great sets like the packed Freaks and Geeks collection and the recent Transformers "G1" collector's set.
Some people might only think of thirtysomething as "that '80s show about whiny yuppies," and that's fine. But the Emmy-award winning drama brings back a lot of great memories for me. As I mentioned before, I used to watch it with my mom, who I'm pretty sure related to Patricia Wettig's frustrated homemaker Nancy Weston and free spirit Melissa Steadman, played by Melanie Mayron. (As for my dad, I'm not ashamed to say that he's more of a Timothy Busfield type!)
I won't pretend that I understood the show's linking plots, hashed out by the awesome producing team of Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (My So-Called Life, Once and Again), but I still loved watching it. To me, thirtysomething was about a funny dude with a red beard creating commercials with his friend, and a bunch of sad ladies who were visited by a goofy cyclist with long hair. (I was nine. The other most sophisticated show I was watching at the time was ALF).
I'm looking forward to this. Quarterlife had its problems, but Herskovitz and Zwick are masters of nuanced character-centric drama. I was a teenager in the '90s; so believe me when I say that they helped paint an absorbing and realistic portrait of adolescence with My So-Called Life. For me, that show really captured the raw emotion, pointless anxiety and simple joy of being an American teenager at that time. (It also encouraged me to buy my first albums by The Lemonheads and Juliana Hatfield. Thanks TV!)
As I'm sure you've heard by now quarterlife was a huge failure on network television. Those of you who read my unfavorable review of the show last week know that I didn't see much of a future for the show anyway and yet, I feel that the show was still treated unfairly by the people in charge, i.e. NBC.
Producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz designed this show to appeal to a very specific audience, men and women in their mid-twenties who spend a lot of time online. Now, that may seem like a very small demographic if you're a 40-year-old TV addict like me. but I actually know people in their mid-twenties who don't watch network TV. One of my friends, who is chronically hip insists that the only time he watches network television is online or on DVD. Aside from making me feel very old, his revelation cleared up some things for me.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Herskovitz told an audience at Harvard Business School that after watching quarterlife on the big screen, he realized that the show about twentysomething angst should have never aired on NBC. In fact, within three minutes, he knew that the tight shots and intimate stories he and his partner Ed Zwick used were inappropriate for a broadcast network show; it might have worked better on cable, he thought, but not on NBC.
(S01E01) Generally, when I watch a new show, I try to give it the benefit of the doubt before I make a decision. First episodes of new shows are often full of bad choices. Poor casting, too much exposition, bad hair styles. all of which are usually remedied by the second episode. With that in mind, i have to say that I found the first ten minutes of quarterlife incredibly irritating. First of all, the title and premise of the show is insulting to me. I assume since Zwick and Herskovitz already did thirtysomething, they were hesitant to call this show twentysomething. Unfortunately, that's all the show is, a bunch of friends in their twenties, trying to make their mark.
Say what you will about My So-Called Life: It was a pivotal show in American TV History. Although it was canceled after only two years and 19 episodes, when MTV picked it up and began showing it round the clock, it acquired a cult following that keeps it resonant even today.
I mentioned last week, that I am a huge fan of Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (creators of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again), and I was eagerly anticipating the launch of their new webseries, quarterlife. Lots of people have talked about producing programming for the internet, but nobody has been able to launch a completely original successful series with mass appeal and excellent production value -- yet. So, I put a lot of faith behind the professional team of Herskovitz and Zwick, and applauded their bold experiment.
Unfortunately, their experiment, at least to me, went horribly wrong.
Luckily, Herskovitz and Zwick are back with a brand new series, called quarterlife. The series, however, will not currently be available on ABC or any other network. Herskovitz and Zwick are bringing this new series to life on the web. And in a recent L.A. Times item, Herskovitz explains why they've left traditional television behind.
Herskovitz believes "the business of television has become an exclusive club, closed to new members," which has some producers "turning to the internet to have a voice."
Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, who count Thirtysomething and My So Called Life among their credits, are getting ready to premiere their newest project, Quarterlife. This one is a little bit different though, as it's not another conventional TV show. Instead, Quarterlife is a web based, advertising supported, series that will air on Myspace. The episodes will be about eight minutes long and follow the lives of a group of college friends that have just recently graduated.
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