23rd Oct2014

‘Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Features: J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Ronald D. Moore, Damon Lindelof, Bill Prady, Hart Hanson, Jane Espenson, Jonathan Nolan | Written and Directed by Des Doyle


Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show is the first ever, feature length documentary film to highlight the fascinating world of U.S. television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These people are responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State’s biggest exports – television drama and comedy series. The film shows audiences the huge amount of work that goes into making sure their favourite TV series airs on time as well as the many challenges that showrunners have to overcome to make sure a new series makes it onto the schedules at all.

I watch a lot of television. Probably unhealthy amounts actually, but that isn’t important right now. The point I am trying to make is that when you watch a lot of television, especially good television, it is so easy to get caught up in the story, the action and the world that you forget that there is a small army of people working to get the show to your screens week after week. Showrunners takes you behind the scenes, following the people who control the day to day of making these shows work and putting them together. One of the cool things about this documentary is the interviews with big names such as Joss Whedon and J.J Abrams discussing what it is like to be a Showrunner and the trials and tribulations that come along with the job title.

You also get to see behind the scenes of television shows whilst they are being shot, such as Bones and House of Lies, interviews with actors and even trips to Comic Con. It is very easy to fanboy/girl as you see recognisable faces, locations and even scripts which are shown of all your favourite shows. But, it isn’t just an hour and a half of name-dropping and shiny shots. It was also a very interesting progression of how a television series goes from the writer’s room all the way up to the premier and all the issues that come along with that. Along with dealing with networks, money, actors and locations you also get to experience the emotional highs and lows which result from a series either succeeding or failing after months of work.

As you have probably gathered from my excited blabbering which makes up the majority of this review, I really enjoyed Showrunners. Sure it reeks of the standard documentary ‘I’m the best and my job is so extremely difficult, so love me’, but when these people are responsible for bringing so much awesome into our lives, it is hard not to. If you have any interest in television shows at all, whether it be as a viewer or even potential writer/actor/director, I suggest this documentary is a definite must-watch.

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show will be available to buy at showrunnersthemovie.com from October 31st and will be available on iTunes this November.


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