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?

I Ship It

Oh fandom, how I love thee.

By the time I realized that ‘shipper was short for relation-shipper I was already in too deep.  I probably got sucked into fandom around the age of twelve or thirteen.  In retrospect, I was much too young to be there, but there I was anyway.  It started with CSI, then House, NCIS, and all the procedurals.  I watched for the characters, and stayed through the changes.  Ships may come and go, but shipping itself is forever.

A note: some of these contradict each other.  I don’t care.  I ship it.  Shipping is not rational, it is completely based on my whims, and this is how I feel damn it.

Books
Harry/Ginny – Harry Potter
Luna/Neville – Harry Potter
Jessica/Marcus – Jessica Darling Series
Nancy/Ned – Nancy Drew
Nancy/Frank – Nancy Drew
Mary/Bert – Mary Poppins

Movies
Jack/Elizabeth – Pirates of the Caribbean
Jack/Rum – Pirates of the Caribbean
Jack/Jar of Dirt – Pirates of the Caribbean
Captain/Maria – The Sound of Music
Rapunzel/Flynn Rider – Tangled
Tarzan/Jane – Tarzan
Jessie/Buzz – Toy Story
Tony Stark/Pepper Potts – Iron Man

Television
Josh/Donna – The West Wing
CJ/Toby – The West Wing
CJ/Danny – The West Wing
Donna/Sam – The West Wing
Gabby – NCIS
Tiva – NCIS
Harm/Mac – JAG
Chuck/Sarah – Chuck
Nine/Rose – Doctor Who
Rose/TenToo – Doctor Who
Eleven/Idris – Doctor Who
Two/Jamie – Doctor Who
Liz/Bailey – The Good Guys
Casey/Dana – Sports Night
Jeremey/Natalie – Sports Night
Spuffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow/Tara – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Angel/Cordelia – Angel
Fred/Westley – Angel
Victor/Pria – Dollhouse
Topher/Adelle – Dollhouse
Sybill/Branson – Downton Abbey
Anna/Mr. Bates – Downton Abbey
Snow/Charming – Once Upon A Time
Cora/Rumple – Once Upon A Time
Emma/Hook – Once Upon A Time
Leslie/Ben – Parks and Rec
Parker/Elliot – Leverage
Sophie/Elliot – Leverage
Parker/Nate – Leverage

Mini-series
Glitch/DG – Tin Man
Alice/Hatter – Alice

Web
Penny/Billie – Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Cheeks/Brady – Husbands
Dizzie – The Lizzie Bennett Diaries
Cereal Guy/Faux Fur Girl – Hipsterhood
Jack/Mitchelle – The Outs

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?

Reasons Public Television is Ballin’

When was the last time you watched Public Television?  PBS is home to a lot more really great television than most people realize.  It’s not the biggest network, and it certainly has it’s oddities.  Things like some one trying to convince me that Merlin built Stonehenge using the power of sound.  Umm, what?

But there’s a lot of gems in there too.  Awesome nature programs, kids shows that tend to have new meaning as after years away, and…  I’m giving away all my reasons.  I have them numbered and everything.  Okay, ok, so public television is awesome and I’m going to tell you why.

  1. Variety.  As I was beginning to say before, nearly every genre imaginable can be found on public television at some point in the day.  Kids shows, talks shows, drama, reality, comedy, musical, cooking, you name it.  If they don’t have it specifically, they’ll probably run a documentary of it sometime.
  2. Groudbreaking.  Delving into some TV history here, PBS was the first station to air political satire in the 1970’s, a particular risk because it is partially government funded.  These days cable channels produce shows like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report in a similar fashion.
  3. Downton Abbey.  Because Downton needs it’s own reason.  Not to mention the many, many foreign imports that find a home for their US debut on PBS.  Things like Keeping Up Appearances, Inspector Lewis, and Sherlock.  Some more famous than others, but all impactful in their own way.  Related: Julian Fellows on Improvisation.  Just watch it.
  4. Learn Something.  Always even if you don’t want to.  Besides teaching 6-year-olds math (CyberChase anyone?), public television has been on the forefront of educational television.  Home improvements and cooking lessons need look no further than your local PBS station.  Not that I will ever have a need to make perfect strawberry poke cake, but at least now I can insult it using the right terminology.
  5. It’s free!  I mean, honestly.  So maybe Antiques Roadshow isn’t your jam.  It’s not really mine either, but how many times have you been to an event solely on the promise of free food?  I’ll guess at least a few times, if not lots.  So why not watch some strange television program you’ve never heard of before?

So, you know.  Watch public television.  You have my permission to fast forward through the pledge drives, at least for now.  This is fairly United States focused, so sorry if any of you Brits stumbled upon this today.  Don’t even get me started on the British television system… Actually, do, I would love to have that chat.

Do you watch PBS or any other form of public television?  What are your favorite shows?  Anything to add to the list?

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.

They Win Some They Lose Some (a review of this year’s Emmys)

I’m not much one for awards shows, but I’m going to say something that you’ll probably all see coming.  I love the Emmys.  Of course I love the Emmys.  They’re my awards show.  Some people go nuts over the Oscars or the Tonys.  The Grammys have their musical following, but I love the Emmys.  I’m majoring in TV, I watch the Emmys.

They Emmys serve the dual purpose of a yearly review of what happened in TV this year and getting me hyped up for all sorts of awesome that is sure to come.  I especially enjoyed the montages they did this year of “The Year in _” (Comedy, Drama, Reality, ect.).

Overall I have two sides of the Emmys.  I have personal reactions to who won and how awesome everyone is.  Mostly these consist of “OMG Congratulations! I’m so excited!!”  Granted there are a few “I’m sure you’re awesome, but I wanted [name of other nominee] to win.” punctuated by a frowny face.  I also have much more professional reactions and questions.  Mostly theories on the winners.

Going into the night, it’s no surprise or secret what my favorites were.  Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Big Bang Theory, and The Good Wife were my favorites at the start.  I was glad to see a few wins in among my favorites, but I was also excited to see that a show I hadn’t heard of was winning a lot of things too.  So now I have to look up and watch Homeland and Game Change.

Let’s face it though, only half the reasoning for watching an awards show is the actual awards.  We watch because of the people presenting and the mishaps that occur during the show.  We watch waiting for exciting things to happen, and they nearly always do.  Highlights of this year included Jimmy Kimmel telling us to tweet about Tracy Morgan passing out even though he didn’t and Ricky Gervais calling Louie CK out on winning all the awards.

I also enjoy the technical aspects (because I’m a nerd).  When a presenter dosn’t stand in front of the mic and getting to see the backstage cameras online.  When someone wasn’t there to claim their award and give a speech I could practically hear the control room cheering at gaining that time.

In the background I heard the music being played and I’m rushing to finish this post, because while I don’t actually run out of time on the internet, I do have things to do and places to be.  In the vein of nerdiness, I am off to listen to a lecture on social media in television and I’m kind of excited.  Thank you so much for coming out today and thank you for reading.

Just Breathe

This week is difficult to describe succinctly.  I’ve been watching a lot of TV.  Which is good.  In a way.  And bad because I get to be a bit overly emotional over television sometimes.  I didn’t get done as much homework as I wanted to, but that happens.  I still have this weekend, and I seem to be in the middle of quite the homework party.  And blogging.  We’re working on it.

I feel that in some time in the future this post on taking a sabbatical will be helpful in my life.

Travel Guides?  Yes please.  Isreal and London are both on my list, lucky me.

And traveling on the cheep.  Also yes.

I kind of really want to make one of these rope bracelets.

I know I should have shared all Downton Abbey related links weeks ago, but I’m currently working on a paper which requires me to rewatch the entire series (that’s right, I spent my spring break watching TV.  For homework.).  Anyway.  Pictures, name generator, and from the NY Times and The Huffington Post.

Also, this makes me mad.  In a good way.

This week I like: situations where it is acceptable to collapse on the ground in exhaustion, booking flights (more on that next week), dinners with friends, and how adult I feel when I finish paying the bills.

Right Now…

finally catching up on all my television shows.  Well, most.  I’m up to date on Fringe, and nearly caught up with Downton Abbey.  !!!!

working, working, working.

knitting a second blue hat for a friend.  I’m going to send it to her and we’ll have matching hats in separate cities.  I’m oddly excited about this.

needing to go to sleep earlier than I have been.  Somehow I don’t see it happening.