Premiering Jan. 9, the new Showtime comedy series "Episodes" is a hilariously clever, incisive satire about Hollywood, telling the story of what happens when a husband and wife team of British writers sell their U.K. sitcom about a portly, 60-ish boarding school headmaster to a U.S. TV network — and, to their horror, see it changed into a show about a hockey coach, starring "Friends" alum Matt LeBlanc, playing an obnoxious, exaggerated version of himself. A Showtime-BBC co-production, it followed green guidelines set forth at a BBC-organized Sustainable Production Forum and implemented by Hat Trick Productions in London.
Specifically, these eco-practices included the use of double-sided scripts, recycled paper and e-mail for communication; using washable plates, cups and cutlery; making use of public transportation and car pooling; keeping flights to a minimum; setting computers, printers and copiers to energy-saving mode and encouraging users to turn them off when not in use; unplugging other idle electronics, and turning off lights during breaks. Power came from local sources to reduce the use of generators, and used and secondhand costumes were rented where possible. Props, costumes and batteries were recycled, and the use of bottled water was limited.
In addition to recycling or properly disposing of all paper, glass, plastic and metal waste, toner cartridges, and electronic waste and equipment, the production office employed presence-detection lighting, reduced-flush toilets, shut down photocopiers nightly and set air conditioners to shut off automatically four times a day, reducing energy usage by 25 percent. Staffers were required to attend an orientation about reducing energy consumption to ensure that everyone was on board with the policies. According to Hat Trick's Director of Production Laura Djanogly, this is just the beginning. "We also plan to sign up to use the new BBC-developed 'Albert' Production Carbon Calculator when it's rolled out to independent production companies later this year," she says. They should be in place by the time "Episodes" gears up for a second season.