Back To The Backlot

One thing I probably should have added in my earlier post on recycled TV sets is that TV shows (and movies) are even more famous for recycling outdoor backlot locations. As a commenter pointed out, the Desperate Housewives neighbourhood is a spot on the Universal backlot that has been used for many movies and shows; Wisteria Lane is in the same neighbourhood as The Beaver. And until it was damaged in last year’s fire at Universal, the building shown above kept popping up over and over:  sometimes a courthouse, sometimes a school, sometimes a mansion. 

 Lee Goldberg recently pointed out that many current Warner Brothers shows share the WB backlot, one of the oldest and most used (Warner Brothers was the first big studio to embrace TV production, so its backlot has been used for Western towns and neighbourhoods since the mid-’50s). He wonders if the increase in backlot shooting as opposed to location shooting has something to do with the tightening budgets. It may be that; it may also be that with the increase in special effects and other expensive gimmicks in TV shows, it makes more sense to shoot as much as possible on studio facilities, where it’s easier to control the lighting, effects and other shooting conditions. Some studios probably regret having sold off or repurposed their backlot property years ago, back when it was thought that audiences didn’t want to see the same houses and trees over and over. Turns out we don’t mind at all.

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