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?

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.

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?

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?