Well, PBS is planning a ten-episode run of a new Car Talk animated sitcom. I have some grave reservations.
Let me put my cards on the table: if you know me, you know I love Car Talk. It's the biggest weekend show in public radio, and for good reason. I think Tom & Ray Magliozzi are the most charming guys on the radio. I have been listening to their show since I can remember, and it remains one of my all-time faves.
That having been said: what the fuck is up with this PBS sitcom? This article in the public media newspaper Current and this one in Fortune (?) have the details.
Some disturbing elements:
* According to Current, the writing staff (of three, apparently) is composed of Car Talk's producer, Car Talk's web producer, and a guy who wrote a cartoon show called "Duck Dodgers." Maybe the show will be dramatizations of email forwards? That's most of the "original comedy" on the radio show.
* Imagine this on the posters: "From the director of "Ferngully!"
* Not to mention, "From the producer of Billy Joel: Live From Long Island!"
Now, I am not willing to blame any of this on any of the Car Talk team. Tom & Ray, as I have mentioned, are Real American Heroes. I met Doug Berman once and he seemed nice and smart to me.
But give me a break, here.
PBS is going to do comedy, and this is how they're going to do it? With three writers and a PBS special producer? Really?
If HBO and F/X and even AMC can produce great TV shows that aren't based on 150 year old books, PBS can too, but this kind of baloney isn't how you produce great TV shows.
This is why Ira Glass is working for Showtime.