Have you ever come up with an idea for a television show that you're convinced would be a pretty good watch?
As a TV blogger, I spend most of my viewing life thinking about how shows are made, considering future storylines, and imagining ways to improve a particular programme. Occasionally, I come up with an original (well, almost original) idea for a show - and lately, I've been thinking about an idea for a local comedy series that I think might just work.
My fake show is called Hilarity Ensues*, and it's about a middle-aged man who writes in the Kiwi television industry; let's call him Chase R.R. Sorkelof. Chase is a producer and writer on a comedy sketch show (let's call it The Wanna-Jono Experience) that plays on Friday nights after one of this country's most popular shows (let's call it 168 Hours).
Sadly, The Wanna-Jono Experience is on the brink of cancellation: it's only managing to hold on to a tiny amount of the audience that tunes in for 168 Hours, the numbers are getting worse every week, viewers hate it, and critics (including vicious television blogger Phil Chrispott) are tearing it to pieces.
Even worse, the network has told Chase that unless the numbers improve, his show will be off the air in six weeks' time.
Unfortunately, Chase is in the middle of the worst bout of writer's block in his career. He couldn't write a funny sketch if his life depended on it. Every time he tries to write a sketch, he can only envision the audience laughing; he can't imagine the setup, the part that makes the audience laugh. (Hence the title of the show.)
Hilarity Ensues would be a six-episode show which follows Chase as he tried to get his mojo back, with each episode roughly covering a week, until the network decides whether to keep the show on the air in the season finale. Along the way, Chase finds himself in ridiculous situations and laughable scenarios that would be perfect fodder for the show, but he just doesn't see it. Maybe something happens that helps him get back on track - the introduction of a love interest or a new writing partner, perhaps.
On the other hand, maybe things go from bad to worse. I haven't planned that far ahead**. Either way, the clock is ticking down to that final episode, and the future of Chase's television career ...
Okay, it might not be the best idea for a television show ever. But doesn't it sound like the bare bones of a watchable show? I think Hilarity Ensues is already off to a better start than something like Whitney ("a couple think of increasingly disgusting jokes about their sex life") or Hot in Cleveland ("a group of middle-aged women objectify men with the help of Betty White's Baffling Popularity ... in Cleveland!").
I think it must be pretty common for viewers to come up with half-baked ideas for television shows - whether it's a comedy, a serious drama, or a trashy reality soap, we've all got ideas and strong imaginations. I can't be the only one who does this, right? So, I'm interested to hear what you think:
Have you ever come up with an idea for a television show that you think would be quite good? What was the show about? Did you ever think about taking your idea to someone who can get shows made? And would you tune in for an episode or two of Hilarity Ensues?
(*) Obviously, this idea is mine. I reserve all rights, or hold copyright, or whatever the technical jargon is that means "you can't use it, it's mine" - although, if you're a TV producer, I'd be happy to talk; just email me at the link below. Please? I have other ideas too! DON'T WALK AWAY FROM ME!!!
(**) Or have I ...?!
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Coming up in the next week ...
Hotel Inspector is back for a new series - One, Saturdays at 9.30pm
Gypsy Blood, a one-off gypsy special - One, Thursday at 8.30pm
Hart of Dixie, starring Rachel Bilson - TV2, Sundays at 5.30pm
Dogs in the City - TV3, Thursdays at 8.30pm
Would I Lie to You returns - TV3, Fridays at 9.30pm
Target, season finale - TV3, Tuesday at 8pm
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