Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Criticwire Survey: Directors Who Should (Have) Done TV

Q: After announcing  his retirement from the film business, Steven Soderbergh has segued neatly into a career in television, first with "Behind the Candelabra" and now "The Knick," the first of whose 10 episodes premieres on Friday. What film director, living or dead, would you like to see try her or his hand in the current TV environment?
I cannot help but think of the directors who have had a lot of trouble getting their projects made. Currently, I think of someone like Todd Solondz, who has made only a handful of films in the last 20 years, but all of which – even his worst films – are provocative and interesting. There have been a lot of television shows about poisonous effects of suburbia, but none of them are as harsh or daring as Solondz can make – and I would love to see him try. For the past, I would have loved to see John Cassavetes be given a TV show. Cassavetes could, given a TV show, make a large scale portrait of a marriage like A Woman Under the Influence, and then branch off into family dynamics like in Love Streams, male comradery a la Husbands, etc. He would have been a natural.

But I also feel the need to address what really is a lack of diversity among TV dramas - especially the high profile cable ones - all of which basically are about white men, so perhaps we should select a few directors who would do something different. Since his movie career has stalled in some ways, can I suggest Spike Lee as a natural to do episodic TV? Perhaps after all the negative publicity (largely unwarranted) that greeted Lynne Ramsay leaving her last movie, she could do something on TV as well?

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