The inevitability of artistic compromise in the face of bottom-line chasing execs isn’t exactly unmined satiric territory, but that doesn’t stop Jake Kasdan from throwing himself whole-hog into another retread of The Player, albeit one that benefits from its appropriately TV-style small scale. Kasdan’s reasons for devoting his time to such a bitter pill are undoubtedly his own past experiences in dealing with chowder-headed network bigwigs and having to watch projects close to his heart go through the gristmill so as to appeal to an increasingly infantilized TV audience. For sure, the usual parade of sharp-tuned comic actors and a healthy dose of insidery sniping help make The TV Set‘s fleet eighty-something minutes flash by in a wink (or is it a wince?), but as with most Hollywood-based cautionary tales of selling out, this doesn’t seem to be much of a battle between true art and commerce; it’s hard to believe that the Ed-like series pilot being pitched and shuttled into pre- and post-production by David Duchovny’s harried, hairy writer Mike Klein originated as some sort of groundbreaking gem. Without a real sense of the show within the show, anonymously titled “The Wexler Chronicles” (starring the puppetoon-ish white-guy mugging of lead actor Zach Harper, played by the skillfully unwatchable Fran Kranz), The TV Set glides along like a particularly superficial yet adept episode of The Larry Sanders Show.
The TV Set
The TV Set
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