The mockumentary is a beloved comedy sub-genre, perhaps best exemplified by movies such as "Best in Show," "This is Spinal Tap," and "Drop Dead Gorgeous." The mockumentary is also used in TV as well, most notably by shows such as "The Office" and "Parks and Rec." This approach to storytelling is great for humor, but also packs a surprising amount of emotional resonance, thanks to techniques like "secretly" filming a couple from across a parking lot.
With "The Office" ending and "Parks and Rec" likely to be canceled after this season, the TV landscape is in need of another mockumentary comedy to steal the hearts of viewers. Here are some ideas for settings that would be great for a mockumentary-style TV series.
"Thank You For Smoking: The Series"
The "Thank You For Smoking" movie starring Aaron Eckhart wasn't a mockumentary. However, a faux-documentary about a team of lawyers who work for the pro-tobacco lobby could be pretty funny. It would certainly be a black comedy, but it has great potential. And like the paper company in "The Office," the tobacco industry is a dying business model. Hey, there have been worse ideas for a TV show inspired by a movie (Like "The Firm.")
It's probably asking too much for Joss Whedon's upcoming Marvel-verse series to get the mockumentary treatment. It's too bad: Whedon's a gifted comedic writer, and there are plenty of opportunities for some wacky antics from the employees of S.H.I.E.L.D. who aren't superheroes. Filming the show mockumentary-style would actually be a smart way to get around audience expectations for big special effects in a world populated by superheroes. At the very least, someone should get the ball rolling on an affectionate parody of Whedon's upcoming series: a send-up of superhero comics set in a hum-drum office workplace would make for a great mockumentary.
The "Paranormal Activity' series of movies have made a killing at the box office, and they are super cheap to make. A mockumentary that puts a comedic spin on the haunted house genre would be a gold mine. Alternatively, the mockumentary could follow the lives of the film crew shooting one of these spooky films.
"An Inside Look at the White House"
True, there's already a White House comedy on the air (Josh Gad's "1600 Penn.") But early reviews have been lukewarm, and the show may not be long for the world. Taking a mockumentary approach to the world of the White House would be a ton of fun, particularly if the first family were on the outskirts of the action.