My buddy John Doyle calls the other day. Sounded dreadful. Just back from Ireland and sick as a dog. Needs a favor: can I fill in for him as an interviewer at the Playback Innovations Forum?
Which brings us to this Tuesday at 1:20 at the Jane Mallett Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto, where I will be quizzing Dexter creator James Manos, Jr (below). The dude won an Emmy for writing one of the best scripts for The Sopranos (“College,” where the hunter becomes the hunted as Tony dodges a hit man) before moving on to supervise The Shield and now Dexter. That is three of the best cable dramas ever in an era of great cable dramas.
Having been down to the set of Dexter in L.A. at the Sunset Gower studios, I’m looking forward to chatting with Manos. Dexter is in its third season and I’m already hearing from friends who think Jimmy Smits is wrecking the show. These cable dramas set the bar so high in their first seasons (think Mad Men, Californication) that everything that comes afterwards seems somewhat same old or anticlimactic. It is a tough business, this cranking out great drama.
I’ll be asking Manos about that challenge as well as keeping a show fresh that seems to only have one possible ending–the dude gets caught.
If you had a chance to ask Manos a question, what would you throw at him? Would love to walk into that session armed with some TVFMF comments, so all you smarty-pants TV types out there, comment away. Then come down to the session Tuesday, where Emmy-nominated Mad Men writer Robin Veith and Flashpoint co-executive producer and Gemini Award-winning screenwriter Tassie Cameron are also sharing their insights. There’s more information about this inaugural Playback Innovations Forum here.

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