Just as it stands to reason that a butcher might enjoy some seafood or even a salad after a long day’s work, comedy writers enjoy watching a good drama after a long day of making the comedic sausage, while drama writers dig them some comedy.
“I love watching dramas—I can’t get enough of the cable dramas,” says Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and most every other comedy that a ton of people watch.
He raves about Fargo, and Homeland, and The Americans, along with Netflix’s Daredevil, and in a nod to CBS, home to Lorre’s many comedies, The Good Wife.
The Walking Dead, meanwhile, is reserved for Lorre’s time on the treadmill. “So I can run from the zombies in my own little mind,” he explains.
He’s “always up for” Game of Thrones, while Better Call Saul is, simply, “brilliant.”
“Calling it television is almost too limiting--it’s just great storytelling,” says Lorre, who cops to being “in awe” of Saul/Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
Saul stablemate Turn: Washington’s Spies starts up a new season on AMC April 25, and showrunner Craig Silverstein likes unwinding to TV comedies after making that colonial spy drama come to life all day.
He singles out Amazon’s Catastrophe, currently battling Showtime’s Billions for the most consecutive appearances in The Watchman, along with short-lived laffer Togetherness.
“My wife and I were sad when we learned HBO canceled that,” says Silverstein.
The first two seasons of Turn are available on Netflix. Silverstein describes the new season as “one exciting spy game.” One highlight: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s cameo as a militia general in episode seven, sharing the scene with Benedict Arnold, and deftly uttering his line. The show is shot in Richmond, and the producers wanted to thank the state’s film and TV commission for their hospitality.
Season three sees that traitor Arnold turn toward the bad guys. Can any viewer born before, say, 1980 hear the name Benedict Arnold without thinking of poor Peter Brady and the school play about the American Revolution? The Watchman certainly can’t. Thank God Peter had Mom, Dad and Alice to talk him off the ledge.
Speaking of Alice, Freeform announced a late-night concept by that name at its Tribeca upfront presentation. The network describes Alice as a weekly half-hour variety show featuring short-form content. If uttering Freeform and Alice in the same breath sparks a modicum of déjà vu, this may be why: Alice, as in the Wonderland sprite, was actually considered for the new ABC Family name before Freeform won out.
And speaking of surreal wonderlands, Mr. Lorre is in Vegas this week to be inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. He says he’s flattered, but is taking the honor in stride. “If you pay too much attention to this kind of award,” says Lorre, “it could turn you into an a**hole.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.