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Inside The Writer's Studio – Netflix everything

5 min read

The current model of pitching TV shows is broken. Hoops have to be jumped through, Network executives need to be wined and dine and the CEO of your TV company isn’t going to pay top dollar when an eager writer has a show to pitch and will do anything to see it through. Even if you’re successful, the final product can be wildly different, something that Charlie Brooker illustrated all too clearly.

But then again, why bother with television? Digital is where it’s at baby! Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, original programming has resulted in some damn good television. Arrested Development returned, Star Wars got to conclude the Clone Wars and Kevin Spacey’s adaptation of the cult UK series House of Cards makes for some brilliant viewing that is devoid of network inteference.

So which dream show and actor would you love to see get handed a cheque for an unlimited budget? Here’s our top picks.



Netflix already has a set of comic book shows in development, that include Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. That’s a  smart move on the part of Disney, but I want to see a certain other vigilante return. I’m talking about the Punisher, hitting the streets of New York and cleaning up. The Punisher movie starring Thomas Jane was an underrated classic, hobbled by studio in-fighting, a slashed budget and only a few weeks with which to throw the movie together.

Despite all that, it was good fun, and I’d love to see an R-rated version of the franchise, where Jane takes on the likes of Barracuda, Irish mobs and the Kingpin of crime, in a series that has a definite beginning, middle and end? Don’t think that it could work? Well let me refresh your memory with this gem from a while back.



I would sacrifice all of Darryn’s internal organs to see Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson reprise their respective roles as Bill the Butcher  and Priest Vallon in a TV adaptation of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York on HBO. Yes, we already know the fate of these two characters, but their interaction is cut short fairly early on in the film (thanks to the violent battle between the two that opens the movie), but you just know that there’s a hell of lot of history between them to mine. So go back, show us how these rivals came to power, and the piles of bodies they probably left in their wake to get there.

And besides for just their personal history, New York in that era, with all it’s colorful gangs, immigrants and ramshackle city line, is just an incredibly interesting backdrop that could spawn so many memorable tales and characters. Think Boardwalk Empire but instead of tommy guns and suits, we’re talking cleavers and dock boots. It could be incredible.

My only concern would be whether the show’s budget and production department would be able to keep up with all the scenery that gets chewed by the two leads.



I want to see Christopher Walken in a  TV series. What the series would be probably doesn’t matter. Like James Spader has proven, put a serious calibre actor in a trainwreck and anything is possible. Now ideally I would like Walken to appear on one of the notorious channels, like HBO or Starz. But after the sad and under-appreciated demise of Luck, I’d rather he just go for a sure thing. Else we are doomed to a single season of his brilliance, only to have it jerked away from us. So what would Walken appear in? He’s a shoo-in for a lawyer or gangster show , but that’s too obvious. Maybe he can be in a hospital drama and be the creepy doctor who hangs around patients, telling them they are going to die. Or scaring the crap out of them as he methodically explains the surgery he is about to perform. Perhaps he needs a comedy – Hairspray shows that Walken has very broad talents. If we can take this fantasy all the way, I want a buddy cop show where Walken is the retired New York cop who for some reason teams up with a visiting British retired P.I., played by Michael Cane. And both have shotguns.


Bryan Cranston

Last week in our Top List Thursday I looked at how the small screen is attracting big-name movie stars faster than Chris Brown does restraining orders. I used the brilliant series True Detective staring Woody Harrelson and Mathew MacConaughey as my example so I think my pitch today isn’t THAT unrealistic… Well, maybe a tad. If I was given a blank cheque and the rights to any story I’d want to see Bryan Cranston as Rick Deckard in a Blade Runner series. I cannot think of anyone else that would pull off a future detective that is angry at the world and angrier at his toaster (sorry Cylons).

Cranston, known famously for his role in Breaking Bad could easily portray a cop capable of bending the rules to the point of snapping in a future dystopia controlled by mega corporations. That, coupled with his confused feelings of what it means to ‘be’ would have me hooked. Another series I would love to see him in is Max Max. Portraying a much older and if possible more cynical Max Rockatansky his unassuming rage would work well with a ‘now you underestimate me, now you are dead’ attitude. The only problem is he would have to constantly apply SF 100 sunscreen to his shiny noggin.

Last Updated: March 25, 2014


  1. I loved Tom Jane as The Punisher. The Dirty Laundry short he did is awesome.

    If I could get a proper Dune TV series I would be over the moon.


  2. James Francis

    March 25, 2014 at 15:41

    You had me at “Blade Runner”.


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