Typing Faster

May 26, 2009

Suggested Specs: May 2009

Filed under: Specs — petertypingfaster @ 12:18 pm

After suggesting some guidelines for how to choose what spec to write, I figured that today I’d come up with a list of shows that might be worth speccing. This is based on information gleaned from industry folks, news sources and my own experience reading samples while working in development. It is far from comprehensive, and if anyone has any other suggestions, comments or disagrees with any of my choices drop a line in the comments and I’ll do my best to incorporate your views. Maybe. If I agree with them.

Without further ado, on to the list!

Good Comedy Specs

Big Bang Theory
Solid comedy. Very traditional. Gets big numbers for CBS. Will most likely be around for a while. Relatively new, so not too many people have specced (though it’s breaking out now, so that’s probably not that accurate anymore).

How I Met Your Mother
Smaller numbers than Big Bang Theory, but still going strong for CBS. Been around a little longer, so more specs floating around. Lot of people really love this show, so readers should recognize it.

Two and a Half Men
Again, another solid comedy from CBS. Has been around for a while, so getting a little long in the tooth, but still doing respectable numbers. Very traditional.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
If you’re looking for something a little edgier this is a good option.
Suggested by Tommy Gushue

Good comedy specs that are hard to write

The Office
Little edgier than the CBS comedies. Has been around for a while, and has a huge following, so lots of Office specs floating around. Very hard to stand out of the pack with this spec.

30 Rock
Great comedy, lots of fans, lots of specs floating around. One of the hardest specs to get right because the rules are always changing. Only tackle if you’re ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you can nail it.

Flight of the Conchords
I initially left this off the list because of how difficult it would be to write. You’d have to incorporate original songs that suited the show, no small feat, but if you manage to pull it off you’d have a spec that would get you lots and lots of work. Only if you’re ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you can nail it.
Suggested by Tommy Gushue

Dark Horse Comedy Specs

Better Off Ted
Just finished first season on ABC. Might be a bit new to spec, but it’s pretty darn funny, and has a pickup for next season. Tough call.

Party Down
Freshman comedy on Starz. Lots of great buzz around it. It’s an industry show, so a lot of Hollywood types have heard about it and like it (or so I hear). Simple, consistent format makes it an easier spec than most.

Entourage
Very popular spec, but getting quite long in the tooth.

Comedy Specs to stay away from

The Simpsons
I know you love it, but do yourself a favor and don’t do it.

Anything Cancelled
For obvious reasons.

Good Drama Specs – Procedural

The Mentalist
Freshman show from CBS, but the only break out hit of the season. Solid procedural, episode format, rules and tone were consistent throughout the season. Should be around for a while. Probably a solid choice.

Numb3rs
Another solid procedural from CBS. Has been around for a while, so might be towards the end of its shelf-life. Has flown largely under the radar though, so a good spec in that regard (people aren’t over saturated by specs).

House
Still a great show, and still getting solid ratings. Dr. House is a really fun character to write for. Show has a consistent formula to follow. Only do this if you’re ABSOLUTELY SURE you can pull the medicine off.
People have pointed out that this show is getting a little old, and a lot of House specs are floating around. That’s true, but I think that the versatility of this spec still makes it worth considering.

Bones
Another solid procedural choice. Nice blend of drama and humor. Still mostly under the radar, so probably not a huge amount of competition.

The Closer
Solid choice for a cable spec. Has been fairly consistent in the ratings. Solid creatively.

Saving Grace
Another solid cable choice. Grace Hanadarko would be a fun character to write for.

Good Drama Specs – Serialized

Keep in mind that serialized shows are much harder to spec. Choose to spec these at your own risk.

Breaking Bad
AMC’s other show. Very strong creatively. Not as heavily serialized as some shows, but still quite serialized. Would be an interesting choice.

Mad Men
AMC’s premiere show. Has a lot of passionate fans. Very serialized. Only tackle if you’re ABSOLUTELY SURE you can pull off the time period. It’ll take research!

True Blood
Highly serialized. Always fun to write about vampires. Probably going to be a lot of True Blood specs floating around in the coming years. Has a guaranteed order for the next few seasons, so will be around for a while.

Dexter
I forgot to add Dexter the first time around, much to my dismay, but it’s a great choice for a serialized, cable spec. The show’s changed a fair bit over its three seasons, so make sure you’re up to date!
Suggested by Tommy Gushue

Dark Horse Drama Specs

Brothers & Sisters
Highly serialized. Has flown under the radar a bit. Good spec if you can pull it off.

Sons of Anarchy
Blend of episodic and serialized. First season was a little uneven, but has a second season pick up. Definitely flying under the radar. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m working on a SoA spec at the moment.

Castle
Solid freshman procedural. Stars Nathan Fillion who’d be fun to write for. Only has a 13 episode pick up for next season, and the ratings were decent but not great, so longevity is a question.
Suggested by Tommy Gushue

Drama Specs to stay away from

Private Practice
Grey’s Anatomy spin off. Ratings have been shaky. Highly serialized. Probably not a great idea to spec.

Grey’s Anatomy
Long in the tooth. A lot of specs already floating around. Has gone down hill creatively the last couple of years. Highly serialized. Probably not a great idea to spec.

Lost
Highly serialized, and they’ve set a definite end date next year. Do yourself a favor and don’t bother.

Any of the CSI Franchise
Their time is done. Let them die in peace.

Anything Cancelled
For obvious reasons.

That’s it for my recommendations. If anyone disagrees, or has other suggestions, please feel free to drop a line in the comments and I’ll do my best to incorporate your suggestions into the post.

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1 Comment »

  1. Great list Peter! You should post this on Ink 😉

    Comment by Brandon — May 26, 2009 @ 12:37 pm


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