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NBC's Newest Drama Series Comes From a Bianculli - But Don 't Look At Me
January 9, 2020  | By David Bianculli  | 24 comments

I’m not reviewing what I consider tomorrow’s best TV show, but I have a good excuse. In fact, I have a great excuse. It was co-written, and co-developed and executive produced, by my son, Mark…

Talk about proud. So, for a few paragraphs here, I will.

Mark was born in 1984 – the same year as Miami Vice, two years before The Singing Detective, and six years before Twin Peaks. As a teenager, he inhaled The West Wing, adored Stanley Kubrick, and long harbored ambitions to create movies and TV shows.

“No offense, dad,” he said casually at a young age, “but when I grow up, I want to be a real writer.”

He wrote his first original script in 1999, at age 15. I made him autograph it. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles in 2007, working jobs as an assistant to agents and writers until he got his own agent and began selling scripts – some as movies, some for TV. A few were shot as ABC pilots, but not picked up.

But now, 2020 begins with two TV series destined to become Ready for Prime Time Players.

Friday night at 8 ET, NBC premieres Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, which Mark and his TV writing partner, VJ Boyd, developed for television. They’re also executive producers and co-wrote the teleplay. And what I can’t say on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, for obvious reasons of perceived conflict, I can say here as both TV critic and admiring parent: the premiere episode of Lincoln Rhyme, the only one I’ve seen, is very, very good. I try to convey the appropriate enthusiasm on today’s Best TV Tomorrow YouTube video, which we’ve just posted.

I’ve yet to see Mark’s next effort, which was produced prior to him making Lincoln Rhyme. He was “only” a staff writer on that one – but what a staff, and, potentially, what a show. Hunters, which premieres Feb. 21, comes from Jordan Peele’s production company, is about Nazi hunters in 1970s New York, and stars, in his first regular TV series role, Al Pacino.

Al Pacino.

Imagine, if you will, how happy I am for my son, and how proud. Not “proud-ish,” as he once dismissed my initial reactions to his early rough drafts. Before he started writing scripts, Mark even spent a small period writing for us here at TV Worth Watching, with a blog title of his own invention: The Son Also Criticizes.


And before now, I conclude this blog by wondering, has there ever been a TV writer-producer who was the child of a TV critic?

The closest parallel I can think of, I guess, is former New York Times drama critic Frank Rich, whose later writings about politics and entertainment covered a lot of TV stuff. His talented son, Simon Rich, wrote for Saturday Night Live, then created the inventive and very funny comedy series Man Seeking Woman.

And Frank Rich’s son, like mine, was born in 1984. Good vintage for TV writers…

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Hi, David! Good to hear about your son. He was an outstanding student in my film history class @ 2006. But don't worry, i like you too!
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