“You don’t want to be too original.”

I’ve told my wife many many times that I would have a threesome with two David Duchovnys, so maybe I went into this movie a little biased. But, Duchovnylust aside, The TV Set is a movie I think most people will have a good time with. Every year, Hollywood commissions hundreds of pilot scripts, only a small fraction of which ever get made. David Duchovny plays Mike Klein, a writer who’s finally been given a chance to get his show (about a man who goes back to his hometown after his brother commits suicide) on the air. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and that may be why Mike lets Lenny, a meddling TV executive played by Sigourney Weaver, to slowly dismantle his show until what’s left is almost unrecognizable from the original idea.

For a movie that received such little attention, The TV Set had a lot of star power attached to it. Those familiar with writer/director Jake Kasdan will recognize faces from his other films, Orange County and Walk Hard. The writing is tight and funny, and stays that way throughout. My main problem with the movie is that it’s about fifteen minutes too short, and ends in sort of weird spot. At 88 minutes, you feel almost like you’re watching an extended episode of The Larry Sanders Show (which was also blessed with the D Man (or the Double D, as I sometimes call him)).

DVD extras here are pretty standard fare, which wasn’t unexpected. There are a few commentaries with Kasdan, producers Judd Apatow and Aaron Ryder, and actors David Duchovny and Lindsay Sloan. If you’re like me and enjoy listening to the commentaries, you’ll enjoy listening to these commentaries! There’s also a short “making-of” featurette that’s not too bad. I always enjoy watching these, if only to get a glimpse into the whole creative process.

It’s no secret that studios will throw unbelievable amounts of money at showrunners for doing what they do. If it came down to it, I don’t know whether or not I’d be able to stand up for artistic integrity, or be “responsible for pumping shit into people’s living rooms”, as Mike puts it. I think Set is a fairly accurate portrayal of how things like this often play out.

Sadly, little gems like The TV Set often get passed over for movies that a) cost a lot more to make, or b) aren’t nearly as good. I cringe a little bit at the $20 price tag, but this one is definitely worth moving to the top of your Netflix queue (or whichever newfangled internet device you’re using). A-

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One response to ““You don’t want to be too original.”

  1. After seeing this movie, I too would have a Duchovny-wich with two David Duchovny’s.

    I was thinking, James, maybe you should grow your beard back out. Just a thought. No reason.

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