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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, September 23

TV Pilots

Of the new tv shows this season, The Good Place looks like a good place to start. Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Michael (Ted Danson) star in what might be the oddest plot concept of all time. Eleanor has been killed in a bizarre accident involving shopping carts and finds herself in The Good Place instead of the . . . you know, The Bad Place. She’s always been a selfish hedonist in her short time on earth. It’s only through a mistake made by Michael, the architect of this village in the good place, that Eleanor winds up there. Michael is working on his first assignment building this strange heavenly village and is unaware of his mistake. All the inhabitants of this place are united with their “soul mates,” Eleanore’s being Chidi (William Jackson Harper), a black professor of ethics. When he finds out about the mistake, it’s his problem to make her a less selfish, more deserving person for the good place. Good luck with that, Chidi. This one looks like a winner—very funny with totally unpredictable plot lines.

Another new one, almost exactly the opposite of The Good Place, is This Is Us, and it too looks like a winner. We are told in the opening shot that everyone shares a birthday with nearly two million people. The idea of shared birthdays introduces us to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Mike Ventimiglia), who are about to have triplets. I realize that carrying triplets can be a load, but Rebecca has to have the largest belly bump bump bump I’ve ever seen. It’s Jack’s 36th birthday. Okay, that’s one plot line. Next, we meet Kate (Chrissy Mitz), a 36-year-old who is big-time overweight, and her twin brother Kevin (Justin Hartley), an actor on a tv comedy called Man Ny, both of whom are having their 36th birthday. Kevin has just quit the show because it’s not real or meaningful enough for him. The fourth plot line involves Randall (Sterling K. Brown), a highly successful black entrepreneur who has gone on-line to find the father who had abandoned him at a fire station 36 years earlier. And there you have the plot setup—thirty-six years, four people all of whom born on the same day in 1980. The four plot lines develop: Kate meets another overweight fellow at a self-help group meeting for fatties wanting to lose a lot of weight, with a potential romance in the future; Randall finds his father, who is dying, and invites him to meet his grandchildren; Kevin has jeopardized his acting career and doesn’t know what the future holds for him; and Rebecca and Jack are rushing to the hospital to have their three children delivered. What is the connection between these people? That’s what will make this show a success.

Two others of which I’m not yet sure, Pitch and Bull. Pitch has a young lady, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunsbury), trying to make it into the big-leagues as a pitcher with the San Diego Padres. Sports films about golf and baseball are always plagued with the problem of making the star look realistically athletic enough to convince the viewer that they can actually play golf or baseball. Kevin Costner just barely made it in Tin Cup, although his golf form was still a bit suspect. And Randy Quaid in Dead Solid Perfect was reasonably close to portraying a PGA golfer, but only because he was actually a low-handicap golfer. But then there was that perfectly awful film with Matt Damon trying to portray a real golfer in The Legend of Bagger Vance. He stunk as did the film. Pitch has a double problem—how to make Ginny Baker actually look like a potential big-league pitcher, and how to generate any interesting stories about her attempts to make it. I’ll wait to see where it goes before I decide to keep it or abandon it.

Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull in the new series Bull might be able to pull it off. My wife and I both loved him in NCIS and will continue to love him in Bull. My problem is that I hate the idea that juries can be manipulated by people like Dr. Bull into granting guilty or not guilty verdicts, based not on the evidence but on the ways jury advisers, Like Jason Bull, might persuade them to vote. I’ll reserve my final judgement about Bull until I see how it shows his abilities to sway juries for good verdicts instead of simply guilty or not guilty verdicts.

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Any comments? Write me at jertrav33@aol.com