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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    TV Writer’s Strike Survival Guide

    On Nov. 5, the Writer’s Guild of America launched their first strike since 1988. Shows like The Daily Show with John Stewart and the Late Show with David Letterman immediately stopped production, and primetime network shows have been put in jeopardy if the strike is prolonged; the last strike lasted about five months, so it’s a serious possibility.

    But when television does eventually return, there is a huge cache of gems that should warrant your attention. Here are just a few:

    ‘Chuck’ (Mondays, 8p-9p on NBC)

    The best way to describe ‘Chuck’ is to picture ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ as a television show. ‘Chuck’ flawlessly combines action with comedy, and does a splendid job with character development. Zach Levi stars as Chuck Bartowski, a part time worker at the Best Buy rip-off, aptly titled Buy More. He has been exposed to all of the country’s biggest secrets after a friend sends him an email in a heroic and last-ditch effort, and now he and partners Sarah Walker from the CIA and John Casey from the NSA romp around trying to save the world from all kinds of evil. The show doesn’t try to be ’24’-esque in mimicking reality, but successfully combines just the right amount of reality and fiction.

    The strike’s impact: There are six scripts waiting in the wings for Chuck, giving producers-and viewers-a solid month before the show faces trouble.

    ‘House’ (Tuesdays, 9p-10p on Fox)

    In the hierarchy of medical shows, House ranks near the top in terms of seriousness; it’s well ahead of Scrubs (see below) and Grey’s Anatomy, but behind the likes of ER. And it ranks near, if not at, the top in terms of quality. Hugh Laurie is award-winningly good, and the show has managed to squeeze Kal Pen of Harold and Kumar fame into the script, adding to the already substantial comic relief. The hospital is plagued with more unpronounceable diseases than I ever knew existed, but the action and intrigue is more than captivating.

    The strike’s impact: House has five or six episodes on hold.

    NBC Thursdays (8:30p-10p)

    Rather than write separate entries for each show, I will cover 3 particular comedies with one fell swoop. First is ’30 Rock,’ Tina Fay’s follow-up to her ‘SNL’ career about her ‘SNL’ career. She plays the lead writer on a weekly sketch comedy show, with Alec Baldwin playing her overbearing and overtly republican boss. The show is comedic gold, and the acting is spot on. Following ’30 Rock’ is ‘The Office.’ It follows the antics of a dozen or so office workers for the fictitious paper company Dunder Mifflin, headed by the Scranton branch manager Michael Scott (Steve Carrell). Shot as a mockumentary, a lack of a soundtrack and well-timed pauses make ‘The Office’ unique and hilarious TV. And last is the veteran comedy series ‘Scrubs.’ The show is one part House, three parts Friends, combining a medical show with side-splitting humor. Zach Braff stars as J.D, a doctor who, with the help of an especially strong supporting cast, runs amuck in their hospital.

    The Strike’s impact: Production has been shut down on the show, but there are five unscreened episodes available to NBC. The Office may up their sick days sooner: NBC reports only 2 or 3 half-hour episodes that are ready. Scrubs, which is in its seventh and final season, has not released info about the number of episodes left.

    For additional coverage on the November sweeps season, and the effect that the strike will have, go to the Statesman website at www.sbstatesman.org.

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