Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Open Letter To AMC: You, Sirs, Are Many Days Late And Dollars Short...

Dear AMC Programming Department:

I love you guys; you know that. I love that you are set outside of Hollywood which makes you so much more willing to take a chance on what was once considered "counter" programming. I love that you are focused on story-telling and revealing rich, deep characters from all walks of life. I love that you seem willing to take a chance on slightly wacky, just a bit off-kilter programming (I mean, really, a meth-dealer as a hero? Who knew!?) and that you don't require a "name" to drive the audience in. But I admit that today, I don't quite get you.

Today I learned that you have greenlit a web series starring Cheri Oteri (yay!) about a slightly wacky, a bit off-kilter life coach (um what???). In fact, the exact summary of said project that came to me in a press release was that she "conduct[s sessions with celebrities] while being completely ill-equipped to deal with her own life."

Maybe because you are so far removed from the bustling saturation of Hollywood that you managed to miss Lisa Kudrow's web series ("Web Therapy") with the same premise.
I'll let that slide as it appears that reaction is much more common than not, even though the show was funny, clever, full of awesome cameos, and featured the snarky wit we have come to know and love and expect from Kudrow. But how could you overlook the similarities between it and Starz original comedy series Head Case, about a slightly wacky, maybe-more-than-just-a-bit off-kilter therapist, Dr. Elizabeth Goode?? Even if you claim Starz is too far to the left of your radar, that series ran for three seasons (staring on with shorts and graduating into half-hour) and featured some of the biggest names in the game today!

Head Case came first and it came best, featuring the completely fearless comedy stylings of Alexandra Wentworth and a colorful cast of characters that included a starf*cker receptionist, one-armed maintenance man, adulterous boyfriend in it only for the connections, and alcoholic parents who were quick to offer only insulting words.
I LOLed every episode and was ridiculously saddened to learn Starz had canceled it earlier this year. I don't know if you automatically assumed this left an opening for your copycat programming to be accepted, but it really seems like a poor business move on your part to release a series after two others with the same premise have already come and gone to moderate success.

I would say shame on you for trying to capitalize on someone else's original idea, but really all this leads me to believe is that you might be receptive of a series idea of my own-- one that Starz ironically passed on last year because it "was too similar to other programming [they] were already in the process of developing..."

Hmm, maybe I need to rethink how strong my stance on this is...

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