Why We Love An Underdog: Stephen J. Cannell
Stephen J. Cannell: writer, show creator (The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, The Greatest American Hero), and dyslexic. School was always rough for him, but that didn't stop him from a career as a scribe:
And as for how his dyslexia affected his writing:
"I always kind of viewed myself as a underdog because of my learning difficulties. I always viewed myself as somebody who had to try a little harder and go the extra mile to even be average because of my learning disability. So that kind of character always appealed to me. And as a dramatist, I’d much rather write David than Goliath - it’s much more fun to write the guy with the slingshot than the Giant. I always felt the flaws in a character were more interesting than the strengths. When I would work on characters I would always start with his flaws… so I ended up writing a lot of underdogs and loners and iconoclasts, and people who were basically taking on the system that was bigger and stronger than them and trying to prevail despite it."
Think Jim Rockford, B.A. Baracus and Murdock, Tom Hanson, Ralph Hinkley… It's their flaws that make these characters human, relatable, and memorable decades after their TV shows were canceled.
Thanks for all the "Davids," Stephen.
- Adrienne Faillace