Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Storyteller is a lukewarm exploration of a hot issue: TV violence. Martin Balsam plays a successful television writer who pens a tale in which one of the characters commits arson. A young and impressionable boy watches this TV drama--and shortly afterward dies in a fire of his own making. The boy's attorney, in concert with several politicians and "clean TV" advocates, holds Balsam's script responsible for the tragedy. As he works on his upcoming court appearance with a young attorney, Balsam does an inventory on his career, digging out every script he's ever written. Has he engendered violence as has been charged, or is he simply a working writer who gives audiences what they want? The Storyteller never really answers this question; the viewer is left to weigh the pros and cons of the issue right along with the perplexed Balsam. Made for TV, The Storyteller is a surprisingly toothless effort from the otherwise reliable writing team of Richard Levinson and William Link. Perhaps the authors were too close to the issue at hand (they'd been accused of fostering violence themselves from time to time) to give the subject the incisive treatment it deserved.
accusation, boy, child, death, fire, mother, problems, responsibility, school, son, teenagers, television, veteran [military], violence, writing