Posted by: kfugrip | October 21, 2007

One hundred two: The TV Set

I like films about filmmaking. I seek them out. Even if they are terrible, skin flicks, like this. The TV Set, written and directed by Jake Kasdan, is not one of those terrible films but it is about the world of network television by a guy who has had some experience in that arena.

The TV Set is about one pilot’s road through the studio machine and the people that work on it (writer, actors, executives).

What I liked: The world of compromise versus artistic achievement is interesting ground and the life of a pilot during pilot season lays it all out to funny effect. Sigorney Weaver is great in a scene stealing role as the executive who makes many of her decisions based on what her fourteen year old daughter thinks of pilots. Her speech about originality and how being too original is a problematic.

The entire network television situation is depressing and is covered in Kelly’s blog quite well. It’s disappointment after disappointment and there’s no end in sight. This movie feels like an acurate portrait of the process and it probably is because Jake Kasdan was one of the creative forces behind two fantastic, short-lived, TV shows, Freak and Geeks and Undeclared. Both of those shows were canceled, and the show-within-a-show will probably be canceled too, because the process killed most of what would have been interesting about it.

The casting process and the scenes of directing the pilot were some of the best moments in the film and felt accurate. My own directing experience was reflected in moments during these scenes (without studio input of course, because I’ve never been paid to direct anything). The long crane shot for the ‘act in’ was great.

What I didn’t like: It’s difficult to articulate why I rate this movie with it’s particular rating. I don’t think that it’s bad, but it was missing something. The lack of a focus on one character, because the film was really an ensemble piece, didn’t help. When a movie is about an entire group of people it should be focused on a larger issue, and this movie is, but it felt a bit scatterbrained at times. It was also too much of an insider movie, with jokes that wouldn’t be funny to many who don’t work in the business of TV/film. Take away my knowledge and entire performances aren’t funny anymore.

3 stars

Great poster though.




  1. you know, i gave this three stars as well and i don’t feel i can honestly raise that grade, however while i was telling people about it at work today i realized i was kinda raving about it. it’s kind of a hard one to pin down.

    i just remember being really disappointed when it was over, whether that was because it was so enjoyable to watch, or because i felt it was anticlimactic i’m not sure…

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