Ben and I watch quite a bit of TV and we struggle to find well-written shows. Writing is so important it can really make or break a series. As people who make videos/films ourselves, we take a particular interest in well-written TV (or in this case web TV) and there are a couple shows I love so much I think they bear mentioning here.
The Booth at the End is one of those (rare) awesome and extremely well written shows.
It is a two season (so far) web series created by Chris Kubasik (an outstanding writer who has also written other fantastic things including several RPGs – holy crap we want to play with him) and I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s one of my favourite shows of all time. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now and I am not sure I have seen anything better written in all my show-watching days.
The Booth at the End takes place entirely in a booth in a diner and revolves around the stories of multiple people who want things. The premise is wonderfully simple, yet extraordinarily complex. Because the whole show is entirely focused on conversations between ‘The Man’ (the person who essentially grants wishes to people who perform seemingly random tasks) and the people who desire things, it allows for a wonderfully intimate, psychologically intense story.
I also posit that this conversational storytelling style format allows for a fascinating psychological effect. I recently read an article about the effects of reading fiction on the brain. It indicates that the effect of reading stimulates the same parts of the brain that would activate as if you were doing the thing you were reading about. For example, reading words related to smell would activate the olfactory cortex. So essentially, if you read it, your brain thinks you’re doing it or at least responds as though you were.
So I believe there is a similar effect at play here, due to the fact that The Booth at the End is based entirely on characters telling stories. Now I don’t have the ability to scientifically test this theory, but (if not actually activating the areas of the brain related to the stories being told) we are at the very least invited, through this format, to use our imaginations. With this show we’re not being spoon fed images, we’re being forced to think and imagine and filter the stories through our own brains.
The Booth at the End is deeply moving, makes us question and allows us a space to think through our own choices and their consequences. And for a web series, that’s pretty impressive.
As a writer, I have only a handful of writers I am completely impressed by and Chris Kubasik is definitely one of them. If I can come even remotely close to the quality of writing in The Booth at the End at some point in my career, I will have created something amazing.
So here’s to you Chris. You’ve made an outstanding piece of art and I hope you keep making it. I’m dying to know what happens next and that’s not something I can say about very many things.
And to all of you out there who haven’t watched The Booth at the End. Do so now.