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My friend Dan Harmon talks about his break out television show Community at the AV Club. Here are a few choice bits:

On Laugh Tracked Multicamera Shows:

“I think that hearing people laugh at the end of a long, hard day, if you cut that out of your life… Some of us can afford to do that because our jobs aren’t as hard. And we get to think about TV for a living. We want more of a challenge. We value the TV actively, ever so slightly asking us to do a little bit of the work in our head. And I don’t want to slip into bagging on it like it’s a base craft, because obviously the good stuff is satisfying, richly satisfying to everybody. Smart people, dumb people, who cares. You’re going to catch more brains with this sort of thing that fundamentally has that going for it. It just makes people comfortable. Single-camera suggests to people that you’re a fly on the wall. You’re floating around in space; you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled for story and lessons and things. I wish there was a bigger secret to it, but I think we just like to howl at the moon with a hundred of our pack. “

On Writing Romance and Audience Expectations:

“I think that the audience is very, very picky about what they’re being fed. They don’t want to feel like you think they’re stupid and I think they feel like you think they’re stupid when you suggest to them that this is romantic, this person and this person are destined to be together and you think that’s cute. You’re inviting them to go, ‘No, I don’t think it’s cute.’”

On 30 Rock:

“I love 30 Rock.”

On the Fourth Wall:

“The fourth wall cannot be broken in my mind. I have a real sensitivity to that. People feel like it’s the opposite, that it’s constantly caressing it and punching it, challenging it and stuff, but it really couldn’t be more the opposite. I really believe that you need some pop-culture referencing and some little bit of, “Wow this is really sort of coming together like TV shows do” in order for modern audiences to actually believe what’s happening is happening, because that’s how you and I would react if we were in those situations. We would not just go, ‘Oh good, I’m glad we all worked this out in 20 minutes through a succession of Joseph Campbell steps.’”

Top 10 Books

1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
3. Dune by Frank Herbert
4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
5. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov   
6. The Stand by Stephen King      
7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury   
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
10. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Top 10 TV shows

1. Firefly
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. The X-Files
4. Heroes
5. Stargate: SG-1
6. Doctor Who
7. Star Trek: The Next Generation
8. Babylon 5
9. Star Trek
10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Fox announced this week that Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and JJ Abrams’ Fringe will be six minutes longer per episode. This is part of the “Remote-Free TV” movement.

To counteract TiVo, Fox is attempting to free their viewers from their remote controls for both new shows next season with the announcement that the entire season of each series will run “with limited commercial interruption.” The ads that will remain will come in packets of three. Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori is fairly open about the reasons behind the change:

[We're giving viewers] less reason… to grab the remote and change the channel… We need to give viewers new reasons to come to network TV. [Also, it] gives extra attention to the show, and helps series when they go to DVD, foreign and syndication.

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