December 19, 2008

Crush Notification - Writer/Director/Producer Edition

I have a deep affinity for people who write smart, funny, intriguing and highly entertaining television. And when I find a show that particularly delights me, I tend to develop an instant crush on the person who created it and writes it.

A very short distance into the 2 season run of Sports Night, I became smitten with Aaron Sorkin and by the time he was knee deep in The West Wing I thought he'd be a life-long crush of mine. Unfortunately, it turns out he's pretty pleased with himself and he spent a good amount of energy killing dead everything I loved about The West Wing and then when he did Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, I tuned in because much as my crush had diminished, I still knew he was capable of greatness. In the case of Studio 60 though, he was mostly just capable of recycling stories and dialogue from other, superior shows. Crush officially dead.

That's really ok though because I have so many more Writer/Creator/Director/Producer crushes going on right now, that I don't really have room on the lineup for Sorkin.

Greg Berlanti - He won my heart first with his feature film The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy. It's a movie with a huge heart and a great affection for it's characters - flaws and all - and is a terrific depiction of friendship. It also stars Timothy Olyphant so, you know.... But what made me truly love Greg Berlanti was Everwood. That show proved that having heart and affection for flawed characters is what Berlanti does best and I will always love him for that. He also produced the first (and far superior) season of Dirty Sexy Money as well as producing and writing for Brothers & Sisters and Eli Stone. I don't watch either of those last two but critics I respect have praised them and so I'm inclined to believe that Berlanti remains a television genius. And in the spirit of full disclosure I will say that Greg Berlanti also worked on Dawson's Creek which was not a great show but he did good work during the 3rd and 4th seasons which were definitely the strongest that show had. And look how cute he is!

JJ Abrams - First he created Felicity which I loved for every second it was on television and which you all know I continue to watch often on DVD. Then he created Alias which I loved for every second it aired and am in the process of watching again on DVD right now (I just finished season three a couple of days ago and will settle in for season four this weekend). Then he created Lost which I loved the first season but I broke up with it after that because I just didn't have room in my life for the energy that show requires. But the consensus from the people who watch it seems to be that it's awesome and I'm disinclined to argue with them. Now he's created Fringe which I'm really enjoying on it's own merits as well as the huge points it gets from me for putting My Future Husband Josh Jackson back on my TV on a weekly basis. I'm not at all the target audience for his motion pictures but I know that every thing that JJ ever does will get at least a courtesy viewing from me, because he officially has a lifetime of goodwill built up here.

Lawrence Trilling - Larry is connected to JJ Abrams as my first exposure to him was through his work as a producer and director on Felicity and then Alias. He has also directed episodes of Scrubs, Popular, Roswell, Monk and Studio 60 and is a director and producer of Pushing Daisies which is...was a pure delight. He doesn't write much but he directs and produces great things.

(No picture of Lawrence Trilling on Google Images...what is up with that?)

Eric Kripke - He's a new crush and has only one show for which I love him, but it's a doozy. Supernatural. What he does with his imagination, two hot actors and a crew of geniuses (led by director/producer Kim Manners) in Vancouver, Canada is some of the most enjoyable television I watch.

Rob Thomas - Rob Thomas has a bit more on his resume that thrills me. He wrote a couple of decent first season eps of Dawson's Creek then wrote the movie Drive Me Crazy which I deeply love, and followed that up with the original Cupid which ABC killed pretty swiftly. Fortunately his next show was on UPN (and susequently the CW) where they didn't require the huge ratings that a larger net would. Thus was born one of my all-time favorite shows, Veronica Mars. It only lasted 3 years but it was one of the smartest, funniest, most interesting mystery series ever on TV. His work since then hasn't blown me away but he is considering doing a Veronica Mars movie so my hopes remain high for his future.

Joss Whedon - Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Complex stories about relationships and high school and young adulthood and being different and wanting acceptance and being strong and respecting yourself...told through the guise of a tiny girl whose destiny is to fight the demons and vampires who hope to take over the world, the vampire cursed with a soul to feel the shame and pain of his atrocities and atone for all eternity and their many loyal friends. I didn't watch Firefly and I'm not sure I'll watch Dollhouse but I loved his Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog web series and he was a contributing writer on Toy Story and even if he did nothing else his whole life - Buffy and Angel are enough. If you don't believe me, watch "Hush," "The Body," and "Once More With Feeling" from Buffy and "Smile Time" from Angel. Oh yeah, he was also an ardent fan of Veronica Mars and played a small part in a second season episode so he obviously has good taste in other people's shows too.

Josh Schwartz - The first season of The O.C., Josh Schwartz seemed like a total wunderkind - he was, like, 23 and had a seriously terrific hit show on the air. But then the quality of the show took a nose dive and I started to think that maybe he was a little less wunder and a little more kind. But he fixed what was wrong with the show and for it's fourth and final season, he actually improved upon what he'd originally done. Still, that wasn't enough to win my heart. Not until he returned to TV the following season with not one but two unbelievably good shows - Chuck and Gossip Girl. Neither has suffered from a sophomore slump in their second season and have, in fact, gotten better with every passing episode. Consider me officially crushed.

Jason Katims - He wrote for My So-Called Life. He wrote for Relativity. He created, wrote and produced Roswell (ok, it wasn't great, but I did like it). Now he writes, produces and occasionally directs Friday Night Lights. MSCL and FNL are two of the best shows of all time and two of my very favorites. He gets a free pass for the rest of his life on the strength of those and I will happily overlook the other total duds he's been involved with.

Peter Berg - I'll be honest, I had a crush on him as an actor after I saw him in Aspen Extreme and thought he made a really cute fuck-up. But he writes, directs and produces Friday Night Lights so he gets to be on this list too.

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