What SCA Is Watching

Joshua Toro '24

Joshua Toro '24

MFA Production

Hello, SCA Community! My name is Joshua Toro, and I’m an MFA candidate entering my final year of the Peter Stark Producing Program. During my time at USC, I’ve participated in Warner Bros. Discovery’s Early Career Bootcamp and worked at TV departments all around town, including the Sundance Institute, CAA, and A24. Of all I’ve watched this year, the following series epitomize the stories I aspire to get made:

1. Succession (2018–2023): Jesse Armstrong wrote one of the all-time best Black Mirror episodes, “The Entire History of You,” so it’s no surprise Succession has emerged as a cinematic masterpiece. Although the show’s writing has myriad strengths, I find the nimbleness and subtlety of its satire most striking. Nowhere is this more evident than S2’s “Tern Haven”—a superbly understated roast of my alma mater, and yet, an episode that’s accessible to anyone without a connection to the Ivy League.

2. Barry (2018–2023): Post-pandemic Barry has a flavor distinct from pre-pandemic Barry: it’s darker, it’s more mocking, and it’s more surreal. As someone with roots in the theatre, I appreciate that S3’s final episode finds inspiration for that surrealism in the last act of Our Town (a play that Sally directs in the series finale!). But that’s getting a bit in the weeds. At the macro level, I was impressed by S4’s ability to simultaneously critique the entertainment industry and the criminal justice system —imbuing the show with a potent dramatic argument.

3. Better Call Saul (2015–2022): Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould might just be the greatest showrunners of all time. At the very least, they are among a rare breed of “zero-waste storytellers”—writers with a knack for repurposing the most seemingly trivial details into story-significant events. With Better Call Saul, Gilligan and Gould have managed to craft a prequel series that enriches and recontextualizes the events of its source series (Breaking Bad)—something I’ve never seen done before in TV. I could talk about this show for hours—if you’re a fan, email me.