Sundance has been making strides in scripted television with series like Rectify and Top Of The Lake, but Friday night also brings back a charming little interview show they have — sort of a perfect Friday night show, actually.
The Writers' Room, hosted by Jim Rash (a screenwriter who's also on NBC's Community) features friendly, sometimes giggly chats with groups of writers and sometimes stars from different TV shows. The second season premiere concerns Scandal, which just wrapped up its third season on ABC. Creator Shonda Rhimes, who also created Grey's Anatomy, is one of the most powerful showrunners on TV — perhaps the most powerful in broadcast TV, alongside King Of Procedurals Dick Wolf.
This breezy little half-hour is a chance to hear her, some of the other writers, and star Kerry Washington chatter amiably about how the show operates, how they write it, and what it feels like to make something that's such a phenomenon. And yes, the scene with you-know-who and the wrists? It's in there.
Rhimes is surprisingly frank about some aspects of her show. She recalls sending an e-mail to her writers between the short first season and the beginning of the second, asking them to pitch her some idea, any idea, about a character who was thus far not fleshed out in the slightest. Rash asks whether she got back any ideas that were "insane," and writer Jenna Bans says, "They were all insane." Someone else chimes in that the character "was the Lindbergh baby for a hot minute." He's kidding ... maybe?
Future episodes will cover the writers' rooms of shows including Sons Of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, and The Good Wife.