Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to television.  Not all television, mind you, mostly just reality shows, crime dramas, true crime shows, and a sprinkle of others.  In fact, I’m a big fan of several reality TV shows, including Survivor, the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and Jerseylicious.  I’m particularly obsessed with the Real Housewives shows.  Which one, you ask?  All of them.  Now I imagine many people are rolling their eyes at me.

First, you say, reality? Puh-lease!  Then, you say, why, when there are so many other great shows out there?

True, there are, and yes, I do watch some of them like Once Upon A Time and Downton Abbey.  I’m also known to be a movie junkie.  I write romantic suspense, so crime shows draw me in for obvious reasons.

But it’s the “reality shows” I find fascinating.  It amazes me how people allow cameras to follow them in their daily lives and reveal intimate details.  Back in college, sociology was one of my favorite courses.  How groups of people react and live together always fascinated me.  So when I watch reality shows, it’s not to see who wins the prize, if there is one, but how they plan, manipulate, lie, befriend, and make alliances to get their goals.

All this television watching helps me with my writing.  Similar to people-watching in restaurants or at the park, studying how people behave in certain situations, whether it’s true reality or a manufactured set-up, still makes for interesting conflict.  And let’s not forget all the various characters!  It’s a candy store for writers!  My creative juices flow and I jot down my own ideas in a journal.  We writers all get our ideas from somewhere, and something about these shows keeps my mind sharp on remembering motivation, goal, and conflict.

I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I feel if I’m stuck, it’s because something’s not working, and my TV obsession sometimes helps.  Not only can it trigger ideas for a new novel, it can help with current projects.  The other day I was watching one of the true crime shows and the situation described was similar to a situation in the latest book I’m working on.  I was questioning my character’s motivation and back story, and there it was on one of those ID shows—a woman had experienced a comparable circumstance.  It validated my storyline and increased my confidence in pursuing the direction my character was heading.

The new fall line up has begun.  I have to be diligent in my selection because television watching can be a major time suck.  And it can cause one to become a couch potato.  So the DVR is my friend.  I pick, choose, and limit my time in front of the screen.

I had a stressful day at work yesterday, and on the drive home a little burst of excitement brightened my otherwise miserable day.  I had not one, but two Real Housewives shows to watch that evening.  I had the NJ Housewives taped on my DVR and a new NYC episode was airing that night.  From the teaser clips I knew I was in for a treat!

So when people scoff at my choice of television shows, I just smile and skim through my journal full of ideas and character sketches.  Hmm, I think it’s time to buy another journal.





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All right, I’m going to revise my view on a topic from my June 11th post.

Third time is indeed the charm. I needed some edgy, gritty science fiction to watch, so I decided to try Caprica one last time. I have to say, perhaps it was the mood I was in or the fact I really yearned for something darker this time, but this go ’round, it worked. And not just as a filler until I found something else to watch–I got hooked like a carp swimming in a favorite fishing hole. Now, my only complaint is that SyFy Channel cancelled the show before they released season 2. This is a viewer and fan’s greatest nightmare, since the previews that were tacked on to the end of season 1 looked as if the plot points I was so bunged up about them not exploring where going to be exposed in that second season.

*Taps chin* What to do? What to do?

Well, of course the first thing I did was go to Amazon.com to see if they ever put season 2 out on video. Nope. No go. What they have is season 1 & 1.5. *heavy sigh* Now, judging from the material showing on that preview, it looked as if they had shot some of the episodes at least. I’m sure with as many fans as they had, it would have been profitable to at least release them as a direct to DVD or Bluray pack. But that’s just me. I’ve been to the promised land of ComicCon and I know what I see there. People dressed as their favorite characters, reliving favorite shows and movies, hungry for anything that might bring back even a small taste of those glorious days when the series remained on TV and the episodes were fresh.

But I digress.

The real point I want to make is that I always seem to fall into that trap of saying, “I will never do this. I will never do that.” – Frankly, I should just keep my big mouth shut and say, “I’ll revisit that at a future date,” because invariably I end up having to go back and amend my words. Maybe it’s that as I get older I become less rigid in my thinking, or more open to different possibilities. Well, whatever the reason, I am ultimately glad that I decide to investigate whatever it is I had been so dead against before. It usually has led me down a path of self-discovery and insight.

I think in future, I’ll try to be more open to possibilities. What will you do?


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When the Well Runs Dry

That title might not be what you think it’s about…

I’m not talking about writing ideas, or lack of energy, or even needing to wring a little more out of life. It’s about coming to the end of a series (either reading one or watching one) and feeling bereft. Yes, it happens to me quite often.

I’m an obsessive personality when it comes to my favorite stories. I get so hooked on watching certain shows that when they are canceled, end of season or unavailable, I feel like there is an empty place in my creative center. Not that I glean my ideas from them, but that they often inspire me to get a move on with my own work. Sort of like when you go to a conference and the energy is high and you just can’t wait to get back to that keyboard.

Lately I’ve finished watching a few series, Murdoch Mysteries, Stargate: Universe, and Downton Abbey. Three very different story lines that left me feeling as if I needed more, craved closure or just plain wanted them back. That’s what powerful screenwriting will do for you! At least with Downton there will be another season to look forward to in January.The best part of these shows is that they are available on Netflix streaming which allows for me to do marathons if I choose.

But what is is about particular books or programs that capture the imagination, but don’t work for others. A few weeks ago, History Channel aired the biopic of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Now, I didn’t watch the show, so this isn’t coming from my personal viewing experience, but rather what others told me. Online, my Facebook friends seemed to be in agreement that it was full of misinformation, poorly written and other not so lovely remarks. Those I spoke to about it at work seemed to have really enjoyed it. Why such dichotomy in views about one program? I guess it all comes down to personal tastes.

After my bereft period when Battlestar Galactica ended–even though I thought the series finally sucked rotten egg whites–I so looked forward to Caprica, which was supposed to center on the genesis of the cylons. Friends, I couldn’t make it past about episode 4. I felt the continuity from BSG to what they actually wrote in Caprica (which is a prequel to BSG) had violated their own histories. I was very, very disappointed. Now, I have friends who also loved BSG, and really enjoyed Caprica as well. I don’t see it. Really. For me, the revisionist world-building, along with a few other things I thought unnecessary in the storyline, turned me off completely. Not to say it was a bad show, it just wasn’t for me.

But what do you do when all your favorites are gone from any new episodes? That’s the question. Well, if you’re like me you stake out SyFy.com and watch trailers on IMBD to see if there is anything coming up that looks interesting. And I have found a few…

In the fall on the CW is the retool of Beauty and the Beast. Now, for those of us who got their weekly swoon going by watching the unfolding romance between Catherine and Vincent, it’s a violation of something sacred. I’ll admit, I was skeptical watching the trailer but then something occurred to me: the retool has the same dark flavor of the short lived vampire series Moonlight starring Alex O’Laughlin. Not to say this B & B is about vamps- it’s not as far as I could tell from the trailer. It’s more a military experiment gone afoul. There are very few of the hallmarks that made the original series so compelling and romantic, as a matter of fact the title and character names are about the only things that remain. Still, it looks like it might be worth a watch.

Starting in August on BBC America is Copper. 1860’s New York and a cop who is trying to clean up the city against the city officials wishes. It’s dirty streets and filthy politicians in their historical finest. Sadly, I don’t get BBC America so I’m going to have to find another way to watch the episodes or hope to hell they come to Netflix very soon.

Sometime in 2013 is Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome. This is the next evolution in the prequels to the BSG universe and follows a young Will Adama during the 1st cylon war. Yes, indeedy, my sci-fi loving heart is looking very forward to this series, regardless of my feelings over Caprica. (And just for the record I am going to give Caprica another shot. Just to be fair…and because I’m having serious sci-fi series withdrawal.)

Now, if you don’t mind watching series online, there is a fantasy/steampunk series I stumbled onto yesterday on SyFy.com. It’s called Riese Kingdom Falling and has about 10 9 minute long webisodes and stars some very familiar faces from other sci-fi and fantasy shows. The narration is provided by Amanda Tapping of Stargate: SG1 and Sanctuary fame. Now, I haven’t discovered if they did the webisodes to see how much buzz they could garner for the show before taking it to a half hour or hour format on the network, or if it’s going to stay in its online format. I watched the first webisode yesterday afternoon and was intrigued enough that I want to go back and finish the other 9.

So, my despair, though real enough, may be short-lived with the influx of new programs on the event horizon. I will never stop loving the shows that have been retired, or hoping for TV movies that finish the story arc. Thank the Gods of Media and Electronics that have provided me with the necessary equipment to be able to rewatch my favorites at any time. It’s a true perk of our modern times.Perhaps with an iPad and Netflix and other apps I will not have to be away from them for long.



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