Monday, April 10, 2017

The Writer's Strike- Still Wreaking Havoc on "Friday Night Lights" Almost 10 Years Later

With the WGA once again on the verge of a strike, I thought it was time to take a look back at the Writer’s Strike that shook Hollywood and we are still feeling it’s repercussions almost 10 years later. The write’s strike that lasted from November 5, 2007- February 12, 2008 shut down production across the film and televisions industries. While I don’t actually remember the strike affecting my television viewing (because I think in 2007 all I watched was Oprah, ANTM, and Amazing Race) but just recently the writer’s strike has once again made its presence known. With the increase of online streaming services, we can still feel the repercussions of the strike almost ten years later- which is exactly what happened to me during a recent binge session of Friday Night Lights. The strike hit 15 episodes into the second season out of the 22 episodes that had been ordered for that year. I would argue that the effects of the strike were even more jarring now, because I had no idea what caused this huge gap in the narrative or what the hell had happened to any of the characters. The season just stopped; mid-plotline, mid-cliff hanger, mid-season. I could not wrap my head around why this had happened. I was (surprisingly) really getting into the show and to have the rug pulled out like that was disorienting, confusing sand upsetting. Because, unlike during the actual strike when the show was off the air for almost a year, with Netflix I had 12 seconds and no warning that everything would be different. In the attempt to cover up the fact that we had missed the entire back-half of the season the writers gave us a longer “previously on” at the beginning of the third season- but the way so many important plots and issues were sped through or forgotten all together (hello, did everyone forget about Landry and Tara covering up that murder?!) the effect was possibly even more confusing and jarring than if they had not said anything at all. Apparently, I am not the only one still reeling from the last strike either so we had all better prepare as the industry gears up for another potential strike with strike authorization voting set to begin April 18th.

Check out this article on Entertainment Weekly about the lasting effects of the last strike:

And the latest information about the potential 2017 strike from Deadline Hollywood from April 7:

1 comment:

  1. Writer's Strikes are so interesting to me, from a labor rights perspective. You can't really hire scabs or people desperate for work into the writing industry-- T.V. writing for a show especially-- because it's way too skilled, way too specialized in that show for just anyone to be trained in a matter of days as a replacement. It's a strike against a huge industry (entertainment has massive amount money and power) On top of that, writer's strikes can fundamentally change people's daily schedules (ie: my binge of BoJack Horseman is stalled) but it's luckily not something that stops people from living (ie: if nurses go on strike, or doctors go on strike, lots of people are screwed). So I think TV will just do what it did years ago--try to find cheap ways to stop hiring talented writers by producing reality shows and whatnot. And it's interesting to see how TV writing will change given that U.S. labor in general is now facing a deregulation and thus right-lacking labor change right now.