• R, 1 hr. 29 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Jake Kasdan
    In Theaters:
    Apr 6, 2007 Wide
    On DVD:
    Sep 25, 2007
  • ThinkFilm

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The TV Set Reviews

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LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

March 9, 2010
"A place where dreams are canceled"

The story of a TV pilot as it goes through the Network TV process of casting, production and finally airing.

REVIEW
Jake Kasdan's satire, "The TV Set", is a pitch perfect , dead-on depiction of the myopic vision of American television which has become a vast wasteland of so-called 'reality' shows and mean-spirited game shows when in essence, the true pillars of its foundation, the scripted format is on the wane. Never before has a sharp-edged black comedy been needed to poke at the underbelly of the medium than now. The filmmaker cut his teeth on TV including the much critically lauded, hastily dispatched "Freaks & Geeks, that his insider voice is on full display for biting the hand that fed him and for rubbing its ilk in the mess its created.

Kasdan layers everything with a touch of stinging wit, caustic dialogue, and unbelievable accuracy of how some people truly are so incredibly dense to the matters of the creative process it's a true wonder how the hell they got so far (let alone dressed themselves in the morning and made the effort at a daily life!) Duchovny's Mike Klein, behind a thatch of itchy/scratchy beard as a mask of indifference to what is thrown at him knowing ultimately he will have to acquiesce at basically every power play and sign his soul away to get his baby on the air; truly soul-crushing to watch one's lifetime dream become a living nightmare. While not a classic like "The Player" or even "Network" the film works on its own merits by not caving in to be likable either; Lenny wouldn't have it any other way.
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2008
Duchevny is just fine in this role, but Sigorney steals every single scene she's in, getting almost all the laughs in the film.
This is well trodden ground, and while it does a reasonable job (recalling the hilarious, short lived, tv show "Action"), I felt that the guy cast as the male lead in the tv show was just as over the top as his acting ablility was supposed to be - which was distracting and caused the film to lose momentum and direction. Yes, the guy was supposed to be a moron, but the film shouldn't have been about him, except as a gentle nudge at what the creator (Duchevny) had to deal with. The way in which he hit on his co-star was weak and unnesessary - right out of comedy script 101. Were we supposed to laugh there? Gee, wasn't he "zanny". Nope.

Too bad, as there were some tightly written moments, and as absurd as Sigorney's charactor was, she's such a consumate actress that you believed that she believed every word.
RCCLBC
RCCLBC

Super Reviewer

August 22, 2008
I great idea, great cast, just not very well executed.

To those of us who feel like network TV is (for the most part) SHIT...this will seem like a very tame (sometimes ammusing) attempt to point out why network TV is so bad. It could have been done in a much more effective and "biting" sort of manner.

To those who enjoy their reality TV and mundane, cookie-cutter sit-coms, it will mean nothing.

I was left feeling that perhaps this film was a victim of the very subject matter they were meant to be parodying.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2007
One bright star each for Ioan Gruffudd and Judy Greer. In an otherwise plodding look at the compromising of principles in the battle for TV network success, these two actors stand a cut above a very mediocre attempt at telling us something we all already know.
William G

Super Reviewer

March 23, 2007
Amusing satire of television industry simmers instead of stings.
kylemydude
kylemydude

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2007
Wow, this film is severly underrated. Such a spot-on depiction of the television industry. I really felt for and related to Duchovny in a way similar to the way I related to Nicolas Cage playing Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation, which this film is somewhat similar too with the preservation of purity and an artist's vision. Kasdan's best work to date.
Laurence C

Super Reviewer

June 18, 2009
Equal parts funny and alarming, Jake Kasdan's The TV Set hits all the right bases with its one-two punch of merciless writing and across-the-board terrific acting. It's actually much more than just a sharp satire of the dynamics of a television network-- it's a story about the everlasting tug o' war between art and commerce, and it speaks about the poor ones lost in-between that try to keep their integrity intact but still have to put food on their tables.

At only 87 minutes, Kasdan is still able to develop surprisingly well a good number of his characters while moving things forward at a good pace. His stage direction feels spontaneous but is nevertheless full of well-executed crowd scenes (his finale is a definite winner), and he is able to obtain the most exquisite reaction shots possible. It's notable that the cast he has to work with is extremely gifted (the Duchovny-Weaver-Gruffud central triangle is simply perfect, and the supporting performers do them justice), but it's been quite a while since I saw a director framing his players with the right amount of confidence and communicated apprehension. Plus, the dialogue is just so damn great, and it feels so true coming out of these actor's mouths.

Not that The TV Set is gifted with a particularly articulate cinematic language, nor that it avoids all shortcuts a subject like this one might present. But it's full of jokes that range from ha-ha funny to WOW ARE YOU SERIOUS, and it's short enough that you actually feel you might have taken thirty more minutes once it's done. It's a shame this Judd Apatow-produced picture got overlooked during its theatrical release (maybe it was positioned as some potential Oscar grabber and didn't land properly?), but I'll take this very, very good project over most of the boring awards bait films around any day.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

June 8, 2008
It's okay but I honestly remember nothing about this movie.
Chosen 7

Super Reviewer

November 5, 2007
Good satire on how some crappy TV shows get on the air.
Marion R

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2008
It's the story you are told if you ever want to become a writer in Hollywood. People will alway ruin your work. I had fun watching the movie, but somehow it doesn't seem like a complete story.
November 8, 2008
Been a while since I've seen a movie that's made me laugh while I was genuinely furious at the situation and characters on screen.
November 24, 2012
This film is sneaky funny. Good satire about pilot season in the tv business as well as speaking to the idea of so many wanting to change an individual's vision.
November 2, 2008
Gave this a re-watch after picking up a cheap copy at Big Lots recently, it holds up pretty well. This actually makes me want to re-watch The Player for a Hollywood-themed double feature.

Briskly paced and quick witted tale of a writer's frustrating journey from a script to a finished pilot that's not quite what he envisioned, but seems to find an audience.

Well worth a look, give it a rental.
April 3, 2007
A mild little comedy/drama about a man trying to get a television show off the ground. Makes some very good points about the state of television and entertainment today, although it's not a deep probing look at it by any means. Sigourney Weaver and Judy Greer are both extremely funny in their roles as they both try to make their terrible suggestions sound like they could actually make sense. This movie feels very honest and open and yet somehow hopeful about the entertainment business. I'm not sure I'll remember it for a long time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
rinkadink
March 25, 2009
Nice comedy...I have no negative opinions!! And of course I always love Ioan Gruffudd ;) Nice accent haha
allefra25
January 25, 2009
It wasn't that funny, but it was still enjoyable as a look at a writer's struggle to get his show picked up. I felt bad for him, though - they screwed up his show horrendously.
MichelleasaurusRex
August 1, 2008
Good movie. Had a good story. Movie was very entertaining. Sucked how they changed thats guys story for the show.
kylomufachi
July 11, 2008
Funny and truthful. Resently dealing with something of the sort. David does great, I like him a lot I have come to realize.
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