Characters Don’t

I’m always amazed when I read books and watch television at the grand scope of the lives of the characters that I become entranced with. Tally Youngblood stops a war and causes the mind rain in the Uglies Series. Joan and Sherlock of Elementary spend their time detonating small bombs and putting away bad guys.

When I put my kindle down and turn off the TV the only thing that awaits me is a pile of dirty dishes and a message from a friend asking if I want to hang out later. What will be my grand moment? Graduating college? Seems a bit trite compared to solving crime or saving the world.

The only times we ever see characters in fiction doing the normal, boring, everyday chores we are constantly bogged down by is at the very beginning or end of scenes. Before or after the more important and vital portions of the story are mentioned.

Just for today, let’s take a moment to imagine them being done by the main characters from some favorite TV shows.

Leslie Knope looking for a parking space.
Alicia Floric washing dirty dishes.
Abed Nadir taking out the trash.
Patrick Jane going to the grocery store.
The Doctor checking the mail.
Will MacAvoy watering plants.
Any of the Downton Abbey characters watching TV.

These people’s lives seem richer and fuller than ours, simply because they’ve cut these parts out. I’m not saying that we should change the way these things are made. More that we should imagine our lives with all these parts cut out. Yes, we have to dust the furniture, and cook meals for ourselves, but if our lives were as fantastical as those of the character we love? We would still have to do those things, we would only be so much more focused on the fun, romantic, or adventurous portions of our lives that we wouldn’t even notice the mundane background tasks.

 

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My Year in Television 2013

As we near the end of the year I like to reflect on all the things I watched over the course of the year.  Warning: this is a LOOOONG post.  I watch a lot of TV.  I find that it’s good for me to keep track of things and when I’ve watched them, but just know that it’s kind of a lot.

I spent most of January and February at home in San Francisco, and took over the DVR as much as I could. I continued watching Elementary and Once Upon A Time, as well as being supremely excited about Community‘s return in February.

There are a handful of shows that overlap between what I like to watch and what my parents watch. We would watch Downton Abbey the night it aired, and we began House of Cards together. I also watched some of the shows my parents watched such as American Pickers and American Restoration. I left would leave whenever they started up Dog the Bounty Hunter. I have to draw the line somewhere.

During the day I would watch DVDs and Netflix. I finished Band of Brothers and re-watched Luther to prepare for my semester. I watched Leverage episodes as in order as I could find them. I wrote about Angel on the blog and got really into web series. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and a handful of others.

In March I moved to LA in a strange housing situation, and set all my usual recordings. I watched Doctor Who and saw a few episodes of Orphan Black that were fantastic. I wrote a spec of Luther that was the most complete script I’ve ever written. I’m proud of it, but I’m not sure it’s something that I’ll be able to use in the future.

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I spent most of April waiting for a phone call that never came. I watched documentaries on Netflix and rented DVDs from the library. Most notably I rented Roots and got through at least half of the series. In finished House of Cards and joined the rest of those who finished but didn’t want to spoil anyone else. With no word from school and no reason to stay in my weird housing set up I went back to San Francisco at the end of the month.

At home I dove back into my old routine of watching TV with my parents. I got back into shows that I had taken a long break on. I returned to my first television love, CSI and started watching Major Crimes when it returned in June. When I watched by myself I watched episode after episode of The Good Guys, finishing the entire series in record time.

June also saw the release of Much Ado About Nothing, which I first saw at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I know it’s technically not TV, but anything Joss Whedon feels TV-esque to me, and the cast is full of my favorite Whedon TV people, so I’m going to say it half-counts. Also half counting would be web series. I’m never quite sure where to put them, but over the summer I watched Welcome to Sanditon and An Autobiography of Jane Eyre.

In July I returned to LA just in time to start my summer semester in LA. I was a bit slow to set up internet access and TV, but when I finally did I pulled together all the recordings I could ever want. In between classes I watched Major Crimes, King and Maxwell, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Camp. I happened upon a Blue Ray of The Newsroom and watched the entire first season quickly in order to prepare for season two which happened to fall within my HBO free trial.

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Through my class, I found myself at San Diego Comic Con without much of a plan at all. I was woefully under prepared, but managed to make the best I could of the one day I had. I wandered the expo hall in awe and waited in line to see the Once Upon A Time pirate ship. I went to a panel for Husbands, the web series I was a PA for last year and got a chance to talk with a few of the people I had connected with there. All in all a good, if a little overwhelming, day.

As the summer ended I said good-bye to all my summer favorites, and geared up for premiere season. While a friend of mine was in town we went to see a taping of Mom, a new show because we both love Allison Janney. It was fun to be in the audience (I think it was the 4th episode), but neither of us fell in love with the show. Certainly something I would do again, and a great idea for people who are visiting from out of town.

In September I started online classes and internships and a whole slew of new shows. I watched or recorded everything. NCIS, Elementary, CSI, Parks and Rec, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon A Time, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist on the returning side. I started watching Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Trophy Wife, and The Crazy Ones of new shows. I’ve stuck with most of these to varying degrees. While all of the ones listed are still being recorded, there are a few I’m woefully behind on.


There were two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the season, but I wound up recording on a whim and then LOVING. The first is Sleepy Hollow, which I recorded because it was mentioned at one of my internships and wound up completely blowing me away. Now that I look back I vaguely remember seeing some Sleepy Hollow things at Comic Con, but think that it wouldn’t be for me. WRONG! I also wound up recording Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I was recording Dads. While I’m not a fan of Dads, I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As the semester got started I returned to Leverage and started Orange is the New Black. I watched movies and TV pilots for my internships and fell behind on a lot of current TV. November brought on the 300th episode of CSI, and the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. Thanksgiving rolled right into December and the live Sound of Music production. I have mixed feelings on the event, but do hope that the fantastic ratings will encourage networks to do similar things in the future.

As the year comes to an end I will be watching the Bonnie and Clyde mini-series, and tuning in for the mid-season finales of the shows listed above. I’ve finally caught up on a few and will continue to watch as the new year begins. While TV is on a break, I’ll be finishing shows that I can catch on Netflix including Leverage and Orange is the New Black.

This year has been full of great TV shows, and I’m excited for the year to come. What shows did you watch this year? Any favorites I’m missing?

May Sweeps Review 2013

As the season and series finales are coming to an end and summer reality shows begin to roll in, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts.  Overall I can’t think of any finales I watched that were disappointing.  Confusing, yes; disappointing, no.  In fact, it was a great showing of plot and character.

In general, the finales that I watched or heard about fell into one of two categories: “Where do they go from here?” or “I see what you did there.”  Neither is better or worse, and both versions make me eager for September to come.

On the “Where do they go from here?” side fall Community, NCIS, Elementary, The Middle, and Bones.  All have been renewed, and Community only just.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen now, I almost feel like the show has written itself into a corner, but at the same time I know that they’ll find a way back.

But honestly, now that Jeff is graduated what happens to the study group?  How are they going to top Sherlock naming a bee after Watson?  The whole Moriarty plot in fact, was so stunningly brilliant that I’m at a loss for what happens next.  The entire NCIS team just quit.  Seriously, how does the show continue from here? (this is also what I said after Gibbs ‘retired’ in season five-ish)  What will The Middle look like without Axel?

Conversely on the “I see what you did there.” side are Once Upon a Time, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, and Modern Family.  For these I can see pretty well what they’ve set up to continue, and while I like that I have an idea of what’s coming, I know it will all turn itself on it’s head and I can’t wait.

Because that twist at the end of The Good Wife: killer.  I’m so excited to see how that works.  And I like the new goal they’ve set for Once Upon A Time, the show works much better when they have a clear goal.  They’re not going to all get back home until the series finale, but that’s okay.  Oh Henry!

What finales did you see?  Do they fall into one of the categories I saw?

Bird-sized Thoughts at Mid-season

To use a fandom term, I have so many feels on the mid-season offerings that I don’t quite know what to do with myself.  Instead of rambling on about how life of a television season has changed, I thought I would keep it short and sweet.  Relatively speaking.

Sunday
Downton Abbey: *incoherent screaming* *laughs hysterically at the Dowger Countess* *cries for Edith*
Once Upon A Time: I have recently become aware of “Captain Swan”.  While I’m thrilled, I must say that I see a horrid missed opportunity to call a pairing Swank.
Girls: The return of sex, drugs, and middle upper class elitism.  This time with Donald Glover.
The Mentalist: How many “Red” title variations can we have?  It’s becoming a test of indurance.  A very entertaining test of indurance.

Monday
Bones: Renewed for season 9 and going strong!  How’s that for a show I questioned the premise of at the onset?  Pretty darn good.
The Carrie Diaries: Why is everyone obsessed with having a teen version of everything? Was I the only one watching “adult” TV as a teen?
Castle: Someone told me the other day that I look like Castle’s daughter.  Apparently I can only cos-play people who are fictionally related to Nathan Fillion.

Tuesday
NCIS: Raising the bar on procedural crime dramas.  Ten seasons strong.
NCIS:LA: Every time I see it I love it, but it has yet to make it on to my DVR.
The Following: I persoanlly have 3 degrees to Kevin Bacon already, what of that will change upon watching this show?
New Girl: The “new” jobless Jess is much more relateable.  Also, Jess and Nick are my Ross and Rachel.
Go On: *is impressed that they’ve gotten this concept to last*

Wednesday
The Middle: Everything about these kids is fascinating to me.  You know Eden Sher (Sue) is my age right?
The Neighbors: This show is a bit too… alien for me.
Suburgatory: Alan Tudyk! She has a new Surface Tablet!  And that’s about all I got.  I can’t watch this show without haunting day-mares about my time in the suburbs.
Whitney: Well it’s…. nope, I can’t.
Criminal Minds: Drowning in water is boring.  Let’s drown them in lye.  Then we can drink their blood.  <– what I imagine their writers room is like.
Supernatural: I haven’t even seen this show and I want an Impalla.  What’s that, they don’t have the Impalla anymore?  Seriously dudes?

Thursday
Zero Hour: Intriguing.
Elementary: The most perfect un-pairing I’ve ever seen; Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller consistently blow me away.
Community: February 7th actually being October 19th means that my mom doesn’t get a birthday.  That gives me more time to knit, so I’m excited.  Also just excited.
1600 Penn: What, Josiah Bartlett wasn’t funny enough for you?
Glee: I hear good things, and how can the people be wrong?  Especially when they let Leverage win best drama.  *cries over Leverage*

Friday
Fringe: I’m worried about human!September.  What happens if they DON’T save the world?
Grimm: I may start watching this when I start going through Fringe withdrawal.

What shows did I miss?  What is your Twitter-sized thoughts on the mid-season lineup?

My Year in Television

I considered a summary of just the season so far (starting in August/September/October), but realized that since I’ve been going on about the new format that television has taken of not having a strict season, I figured it would be more with the times to do an overview of the whole year.  This one may be a bit long, so I apologize in advance.

I started the year in a downtown apartment with glorious cable access including BBC America, and all the cable channels a girl could ever dream of.  My roommate and I would record everything on out DVR and then watch shows together.  Comedies like Modern Family, and The Middle; New Girl and Psych.

Watching things together made sure that I was caught up with everything that was going on in the world of sitcoms and dramadies.  We also watched all the BBC shows we could manage to record.  Doctor Who and The Hour being two of my favorites.  I would also watch anything with Chef Gordon Ramsey (and still will) which for the winter slump mostly includes Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

When my shows started up again I watched Once Upon A Time, Fringe, and Chuck, which I had caught up with again for it’s final season.  A bit into the semester I watched Downton Abbey as it premiered as PBS’s masterpiece series, loving every minute of it.

In fact, I loved it so much that I incorporated it into a ten page paper about how historical fiction is more a reflection of our times than the times it portrays  using Downton Abbey as a case study.  In another class I worked on a Once Upon A Time spec script that will likely never see more than my parent’s living room.  I got an A, and my mom displays it proudly, but the material was outdated as soon as I was finished with the outline.

Through school I was introduced to Husbands the Series, season one of which I gobbled up in a few hours.  As Chuck ended I turned to web series such as Husbands and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to keep me afloat before finals season struck.

When it did I was awash in emotion.  Saddness over Sherlock, questions for Fringe and Once, shock over NCIS which i had only watched a handful of episodes of all season.

Once the shock wore off I dove into summer television with a vengeance.  The full arsenal of Ramsey shows were family entertainment.  MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, and the new Hotel Hell.  I also powered through the final season of Buffy the Vamipre Slayer, finishing what wound up being a nearly ten year watching in progress.  I had a lot to say about it.  Yeah.

Meanwhile, a friend gave me a call asking me if I was free to be somebody’s coffee bitch in LA.  Let me check m–YES.  The experience not only gave me a chance to talk with some awesome people, it also gave me a whole list of things to watch as the summer continued.

But there was no time for that as I began a period of travel induced, television watching stasis.  While I watched no TV for nearly seven weeks I did manage to catch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Berlin, and then the closing two weeks later in Rome.  The trip also included breaking into Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Once More, With Feeling songs often, which was quite amusing to Germans who only understood half the words I sang.

Upon my return I set myself up with very basic cable (without recording!) and settled in for premiere season.  In the process I accidentally watched the summer finale for Leverage while waiting for the premieres of Fringe and Once Upon A Time.  I tried a handful of new shows including 666 Park Avenue, Revolution, Last Resort, and Elementary, but Elementary was the only one that stuck.  I haven’t missed an episode.

I trooped over to a friends building to watch Doctor Who and try out Copper (didn’t stick, but I plan to try again).  I waited patiently for Community to return (still waiting).  I worked through Angel quickly with minimal emotional breakdown and sat down loyally to watch my three loyal shows (Once, Elementary, and Fringe) live due to lack of recording.  Awesome.

As the year ends I am beginning a regemene of British shows and random mini series.  I watched Neverland in a weekend, and have Luther, Copper, The Hour, Downton, and a few others on my list (any suggestions?).  Granted I seem to be ignoring the list for a borrowed copy of Band of Brothers and Lost Girl on Netflix.  Hmm.  This year has been filled with wonderful television and I couldn’t be more excited to see what 2013 has to bring.

Those Effing Hipsters (the weekend in Boston)

It seems that Boston brings out the hipster in me.  Jojo has been telling me for weeks how all her friends claim she’s a hipster and she vehemently denys it.  Granted, according to the hipster code, true hipsters claim not to be hipsters, so maybe she is one.  Either way, we spent at least one very hipster day in Boston.

On Friday we went to Goodwill to see if we could find dishes to stock Emma’s dorm room, then the largest vintage store I’ve ever seen that also included a costume shop.  So much fun.  Then we doubled back and hit up a space themed vegetarian diner.  It felt like a scene out of Portlandia.

Day two involved the Museum of Fine Art, meeting a bunch of Jojo’s friends, Bananagrams, Quincy Market, Newbury Comics, and Community.  I love how TV is a universal language even when talking to a bunch of Engineering students (before you ask, I’m the black sheep, not her).

Sunday was mostly just hanging out until I had to leave.  I even got some work done.  Not much, but still.

The biggest feeling that I have from this trip is that you could not pay me to relive freshmen year.  It was fun at the time, but hanging out with freshmen all weekend was a bit of an eye opener that I really don’t need to do that again.  I think perhaps I had an oddball freshmen year, but that doesn’t mean I’m down for a re-do.

It did make me wonder though, does Grad school have the same year of awkward or does everyone understand that you’ve done it once  and you don’t need to go through it again?  Due to recent discoveries Grad school was thrown out as an idea, but if that means re-doing freshmen year, I’m out.

A note: the above picture is one of the five that I was able to take before my camera crapped out on me.  I ordered a charger off the internet but it hasn’t come yet.  #imwating