Weekly Watchlist

Study-worthy films and TV shows to inspire you


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About the Watchlist

The Weekly Watchlist highlights study-worthy films & shows available on cable or streaming that offer important screenwriting lessons or that can serve as models for your own project.

Week of October 2

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (Netflix)

Week of September 25

Father Stu (Netflix)

Week of September 18

Lou (Netflix)


Archive

THEME: The ways that films and shows can establish their target audience right from the opening hook.

LOTR: RINGS OF POWER (Prime)

WHY WATCH: Sometimes it’s good to watch a buzz show just to see what’s going on in the industry–even if it’s a misfire. Best for non-purists with a lot of patience.

DON’T LISTEN (Netflix)

WHY WATCH: For the way it foreshadows the fatalistic tone of the film and sets up what turns out to be a compelling, if bleak, mystery/horror.

CARRIE (Kanopy) Leaving Soon

WHY WATCH: For the way the opening signals that this is more than just a typical horror film, but rather a complex character study. Gets better every time.

RELATED ARTICLE:
‘The Rings Of Power’ Has Inexplicably Terrible Writing
https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2022/09/18/the-rings-of-power-has-inexplicably-terrible-writing


THEME: Films that explore moral and ethical dilemmas.
All three are leaving streaming soon. Catch them while you can.

WHIPLASH (HBO Max)

WHY WATCH: For the memorable conflict that gives J.K. Simmons and Miles Penn a true chance to shine.

NIGHTCRAWLER (Netflix)

WHY WATCH: For the unflinching look at the world of tabloid photographers and the most effective midpoint twist in years.

PRISONERS (Hulu)

WHY WATCH: For its understated approach to a life-alternating situation and its mastery of moral dilemmas.


THEME: Horror and dark fables that have effective bittersweet endings.

THE LEGEND OF THE SCARECROW (YouTube)

WHY WATCH: For its slow burn horror that brilliantly uses ordinary objects as key clues to the mystery.

MAGIC
(Hulu)

WHY WATCH: For its elevated psychological horror and a script by famed screenwriter William Goldman.

THE ORPHANGE
(Kanopy)

WHY WATCH: For its simple and effective message that turns a tragedy into something uplifting.

THEME: Predator versus Prey. But who’s the predator and who’s the prey? Watch to see how the roles change from beginning to end.

WHATEVER HAPPEND TO BABY JANE? (TCM)

WHY WATCH: For its high tension and suspense in an isolated setting, and its shocking character reveals.

PREY
(Hulu)

WHY WATCH: For its strong traditional structure and contemporary updating of the Predator franchise.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (TCM)

WHY WATCH: For its sustained tone of humor amidst constant conflict and threats of violence.

THEME: TV series that are focused on protagonists taking on challenges without fully understanding what they are facing

OUTER RANGE (Amazon Prime)

WHY WATCH: For its unusual concept, plot, and masterful timing of its reveals.

THE OFFER (Paramount+)

WHY WATCH: For its wealth of screenwriting wisdom and pitching tips.

NIGHT SKY (Amazon Prime)

WHY WATCH: For its handling of gried and loss through symbolism.


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