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?

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How Old Am I?

In September I turned 22. It’s starting to be about time that I “act my age”, but in all honesty, I’m never sure what that is exactly. Biologically or mentally? And if the later than by what set of actions are we measuring my mental age? My schedule? Financial stability? Hobbies and interests? Because I’m still not sure how to answer that question.

I have the imagination of a six year old, always wandering off and drifting to make-believe lands where I fight off pretend beasts and strange foes. Sometimes it’s just this world, but instead of being me I’m the size of a mouse and I’m sneaking around like in The Borrowers. Sometimes I run away to Hogwarts.

My taste in computer games hasn’t aged since I was about 11. My sister and I used to play Nancy Drew games together, but now she plays too quickly for me. When I try to catch up I play for hours, forgetting to eat and staying up until the wee hours.

I’ve been reading the same type of YA books since I was allowed to go to the YA section of the library at around 13. I love the new releases and can’t wait for the movie versions of The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent. I eat these books for breakfast, quickly devouring entire novels in a day. Nearly every night is stay-up-as-long-as-you-want-as-long-as-you’re-reading day (a sometimes tradition from my childhood).

Perhaps because of these late nights my reaction to my alarm clock has been the same since 16. “Oh please, no, just 10 more minutes.” Which inevitably turns to 30.

One thing that’s probably just about on par is my style (or possibly lack thereof). Half my wardrobe is nice clothes my parents bought me and the other half is full of random items from Target, Goodwill, and online deals that has the distinct possibility of falling apart sooner rather than later.

When I go to a party I’m in my mid-thirties. There are shots and dancing and staying up until 5am all around me. I drink wine and fall asleep on the couch at 1. My friends jokingly say that the party doesn’t start until I fall asleep on the couch. They’re right and they have the pictures to prove it. Parties are fun for a while, but they mess up my routine of waking up (30 minutes after my alarm) and getting things done. There are errands to run and schoolwork to be done, why should I mess with that routine?

A friend of mine tells me that my taste in television is in line with a middle aged woman. I can’t disagree. I watch CSI, The Mentalist, and The Good Wife, all of which I can discuss with my mom. In my deference I also watch Awkward and Adventure Time, but most of my favorites skew towards an older audience.

Similarly I never really did find my own taste in music. As a kid, my parents introduced me to Joe Jackson, Miles Davis, and Van Morrison. I’ve pretty much stuck with that. Other things in my music library include LOTS of showtunes and a smattering of worship music, but overall I would have more to talk about music-wise with a 52-year-old than I do with most 22-year-olds.

At night I am starting to go to bed earlier and earlier. Last week I started to fade out at 8:30. Most nights I make it to 10 or 10:30, but in a dream world I would probably go to bed at 9. I’m not sure exactly, but I think that’s around the time my grandma goes to bed, so I don’t know what that makes me.

This Has Been: November 2013

November has been a strange month. It was filled with internship days and get togethers, just as I expected, but also with less writing and goal getting than I had hoped. I know that my time has been full in these past few weeks, but as I sit down to write this I’m hard-pressed to figure out what it has been so full with. Though I suppose reading has been a big part of it. I think I’ve read more books in the past month than I did in all of 2012.

On the blog this month I discussed my thoughts on CSI, the books I’ve finished recently, and all the things I want to write about. While I’m glad I’ve been making the slow return to blogging, I am still very much lacking the consistency I had last year. I was on a roll there for a while, but it seems to be gone for now.

National Novel Writing Month. Well, to put it lightly I didn’t finish. I don’t even want to say by how much. Even though I didn’t complete a story, I did learn from the days that I did write. The actual act of writing is not as difficult as I always make it up to be. I just need to force myself to put in the time and then go from there. In fact, the more I wrote, the easier it was to write.

What frustrates me about NaNoWriMo, and writing in general, is that I can’t seem to motivate myself to write. I want to be blogging, NaNoing, and script-writing, but I can’t seem to get myself together to finish anything. Everything else seems to be more interesting than writing. Reading, Tumblr, YouTube, BuzzFeed, everything. Maybe I need to install one of those leachblock apps and block all the unproductive things until I provide proof that I am done writing? I feel like that program exists, but I don’t know what it is or where to find it.

Another big goal was to start a job search. While I had hoped to be a bit further along in the process than I am, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.  Not really anything else to say about this one, but I’m glad to have gotten a start.

While to say that I have “caught up” on my school work might be a bit of a stretch in some places, I have make enough progress that I am no longer worried. It will be a big push to finish, but it always is. My semester ends December 14, which I’m continually surprised to find out is only two weeks away!

I think what I’m most pleasantly surprised by is the amount of socializing that I managed this month. I attended or hosted a party or get together every weekend. A Halloween Party, an Industry Party, a Housewarming Party, a Doctor Who themed Brunch for the 50th Anniversary special, and of course Thanksgiving.  All told, much more than usual, and definitely good for me.

CSI 300

CSI was the first show that I fell in love with. It was my introduction to fandom and my entry point into scripted dramas. I don’t think I would even be exaggerating to say that my relationship with this show has been life-changing. Over the years I distanced myself with the show. My favorite character left and I was watching so many other shows that I decided to drop it.

Last spring I started watching again while I was home on breaks. I grew to know and tolerate the new characters, and was glad to see Sara, Greg, and Nick again. Not only was it nice to see familiar faces, I was thrilled to find that the show hadn’t missed a beat. In fact, the cases and character development are stronger than ever and even 14 seasons in CSI is still a fantastic show.

And at 14 seasons, they just recently passed their milestone 300th episode. 300 is a crazy number for scripted drama, and I was excited to see what would be done to celebrate the achievement. I read that Marg Helgenberger was to return for the episode and I got excited, this was going to be good. And it was… but unfortunately it was also somewhat disappointing.

To get the biggest disappointment out of the way first, I was truly disappointed that while they brought Marg back, she only appeared in flashbacks. The reason I love to see characters return is to see their character development over time, and only having past-Catherine there eliminates that option. I wanted her to interact with the new characters. To reference old jokes with Nick or Sara. Instead we were sent back to the past. I’ll admit that it may have been difficult narratively to justify Catherine being back with the team, but it didn’t make sense to me to only have her in flashbacks either.

With milestones like 300 it’s always best to look forward as well as back. To show that while there is a rich history, there’s also a bright future; and an episode half in flashbacks didn’t really show either of those things.

The flashback set up also made it hard to define the narrative. The case they were investigating included a man they had suspected of murder 14 years ago, around the time of the show’s start. As far as I can tell it wasn’t a case that had been done on the show in season 1, so there was a lot of narrative to catch up on which was done solely in flashbacks.

The heavy explanation also made the dialogue clunky and expository. The time spent here would have been better spent with Sara explaining to the newer characters what the case had been and how it had fallen apart.  Not only would this have brought in the more recent turnover of characters and giving fresh eyes on the case, but it would have brought the full cast and displayed the current team dynamic. It would have given a reason for the dialogue to be as expository as it was and would keep in tune with the current style of the series.

Now that I’ve dumped all over the episode, I have to clarify that it wasn’t all bad. The case was interesting. The idea of bringing back an old case from the early days of the show was a great one. I also appreciated the more subtle references to the series past from reminders of Greg being a lab tech to the miniture-esque opening sequence.

The focus on Sara as a strong investigator and her character growth was a great way to pay tribute to the series history of balancing cases with relationships, and Sara’s relationship with Russell brought out how awesome the show still is. Outside of the flashbacks the character growth was clear, brought home by the final scene of Sara and Greg in the evidence storage room. The final scene to the montage through the end credits was an inspiring piece of television. Then again, I might be biased.

Overall, while the 300th episode was a tad underwhelming, CSI is still a solid show that I happily tune into every week. Season 14 so far has been consistently on the mark, it’s only in tribute that they’ve wavered.

Belated TV Wishlist

Over the years I have fallen out of an old habit I used to have of making wishlists starting at the beginning of the TV season.  I know we’re a month in already, but there are a few shows that haven’t premiered yet, and there are some that have premiered that I haven’t seen yet, so I wanted to put together a bit of a wishlist for this season.

This list does not cover EVERY show I watch, and while these things would be lovely to see, I know that some of them are impractical.  This is just for fun and entertainment.

In this season I want…

  • them to wait to replace Ziva on NCIS. The team has been three before, and while I do want to bring some female energy back in there at some point, I also think these characters need some space to grieve.
  • Ichabod Crane to show his protectiveness over Abby in a way that is awkward or culturally ignorant.  I also want Ichabod to never change. (Sleepy Hollow)
  • an answer to how Agent Coulson is alive. (Agent’s of SHIELD)
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character on The Crazy Ones to go on a date.
  • Will to wind up at the governors inauguration against his will.  I want the awkward and awful conversation that is sure to be Will and Alicia at the governor’s ball. (The Good Wife)
  • Rumplestiltskin’s magic to be used against him in Neverland somehow. (Once Upon A Time)
  • Alice to go to a tea party. (Once Upon A Time in Wonderland)
  • a West Wing reference in either Trophy Wife or Mom.  I would also be happy with a Good Guys reference in Trophy Wife.
  • Rose to be treated with the respect she deserves in the 50th anniversary.  Honestly, I’m a little scared. (Doctor Who)
  • Grissom to come back for the 300th episode. I know this is probably a long shot, but isn’t that what wish lists are for? (CSI)

What do you want to happen on your favorite shows this season?

Fall TV

With the turning of the calendar to September and the beginning of the school year (my online classes), I’m excited to head into TV premiere season as well.  With nearly fifty new shows and dozens of returning shows, I have only recently sat down to determine what I’m going to be sampling and committing to this fall. I don’t really know what else there is to say, so I’ll just dive right in.

New Commitments
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Drama, Joss Whedon with Clark Gregg in charge? Agent Coulson lives.
The Crazy Ones: I saw some preview footage of this one and I’m honestly excited. Robin Williams returning to TV and Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter. Done and done.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland: It’s Once, but with Alice. I’m so pumped I don’t even know what to say right now. It looks so gorgeous!

Continuing Relationships
NCIS: While I’m already devastated over the loss of Ziva, I’m curious to see how it’s handled. If done well the show will continue to thrive. If done poorly, it could mean the loss of more than just a favorite character.
The Middle: My old roommate and I used to call The Middle and Modern Family “Comedy Night done right”. I still hold by that phrasing. With Axel gone, I think Frankie might loose it, which will be hysterical to watch.
Modern Family: Deserving of all the praise.
Parks and Rec: Because Amy Poehler.
Elementary: Part of me winders how they can possibly top that fantastic finale, but I’m guessing the answer may be in the picture I saw of Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller on the London Underground.
Once Upon A Time: This show just keeps getting better, and now that all our favorites are crossing over to fairy tale land… #excited
The Good Wife: That twist! It’s not anything that hasn’t been done before, but I am still pretty excited to see how it ends up. Getting away from Will is going to be good for Alicia.
The Mentalist: I’ve always been a fan of this show. Part of me still wonders how long they can stretch out this Red John thing, but for now I’ll agree to suspend disbelief.

New to Sample
Dads: Because I love Seth Green and the promos look good. I’m not usually a comedy person, but lately I’ve started warming up to the idea.
Mom: Allison Janney is back on TV. The premise dosen’t even matter to me, I’m just so excited to see her on my screen.
Trophy Wife: Two words. Bradley. Whitford. Hmm, I’m noticing a theme of watching new comedies solely because of someone who’s in them. I care not.
Ironside: I’m not sure about this one, but the premise seems straight up my ally, so I’m going to give it a shot.
Super Fun Night: Because I could use some more girly fun things in my life. Also because Rebel Wilson.
Tomorrow People: Because YA sci-fi is apparently the next big thing for the CW and if I want to catch this train there’s no way I’m joining in later. It’s now or never.
Reign: Saw this one in promos at Comic Con. I’ll bite. No promises though.

Returning to Keep Track Of
New Girl: I love New Girl, but I’m not a regular viewer unless I remember to set a series recording. It’s on the list and in the plan.
The Mindy Project: Along the same lines as New Girl, I love this show when I watch it, but sometimes don’t remember.
NCIS:LA: It’s a fun show that I love whenever I watch it, but tends to linger in the depths of the DVR if not carefully attended to.
CSI: I haven’t watched CSI in ages, which is a shame because it was pretty much the show that got me interested in the TV industry. I think it’s time to return to my roots.
Bob’s Burgers: I watch this one as my Saturday morning cartoon on Netflix, and while I’m nowhere near catching up with what going to start airing, I don’t think it makes much of a difference in this show.

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What are you watching this fall?  Any others you want me to convince to try?