How much truth do you really need to tell the ones you love? That is the million dollar question faced by characters on TV across networks, as the surge in morally ambiguous anti-heroes has corresponded with a new norm of morally ambiguous show worlds for them to interact in. But what kind of interactions are they having? Continue reading
On March 14th, after almost eight years off the air, Veronica Mars is coming back–this time on the big screens of AMC Theaters across the country (and cinemas across the globe). If you are a “Marshmallow”, subscribe to Entertainment Magazine (where the show’s stars graced the cover last month), or frequently check IMDB news, then you know of the brilliant TV show of which I speak. Even if you haven’t [yet] watched a single episode, you may have heard of the unorthodox means by which its follow-up movie came to be conceived. While many prematurely-canceled programs have dreamed of such a chance to return (Pushing Daisies), few have actually attained it (Arrested Development, after many false alarms). Thanks (truly) to the fans, Veronica Mars is happening and I couldn’t be more excited.
Best Motion Picture, Drama
12 Years a Slave
Reviewers have said it before but it’s true: this is a great film, with a lot of small roles filled by immensely talented actors, not to mention the stars themselves (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong’o). It’s also, as it should be, harsh, and not a movie you are necessarily motivated to watch twice. But since that’s not at all reflective of the quality of the film, it should win best drama. Feel like Gravity is going to be a real contender since it also received a lot of talk but for whatever reason that film completely didn’t appeal to me. I haven’t seen it so have no room to say anything for or against it. Indeed, everything I have heard is praise. The trailer clearly gets across the point that the style in which it was filmed, in an attempt to replicate being in space, was state of the art, yet for me, personally, it didn’t seem real.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Kate Winslet (Labor Day), then Judi Dench (Philomena)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), then Robert Redford (All is Lost)
Dallas Buyers Club was the film that truly floored me this year. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I wanted everyone to go see it. One of the top three films of 2013. Was never a fan of Matthew McConaughey’s. After seeing this film I get excited every time I see him pop up in a trailer*. To sum it up: Ron Woodroof was a fantastic role. McConaughey’s performance was likewise fantastic.
* Like Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, or the awesome sounding new show, True Detective
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
A feel-good movie with thoughtful depth.
~ SIDENOTE ~
Wrongfully Not Nominated for Anything: Lake Bell’s comedy, In A World…
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Adams is fire in this movie (and no, that’s not simply a lame reference or play off of the fact that she has red hair and looks completely comfortable in dresses that would cause me anxiety).
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
His expressions throughout, especially after his son offers to help him look for the letter that claims he won a million dollars, are so perfect… Bruce Dern is an actor.
Best Animated Feature Film
Best Foreign Language Film
The Wind Rises
Can always count on Studio Ghibli.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lawrence is one hyped young actress who deserves all the attention she gets, with the range of characters she can turn out. In fact, give her more hype. You never wanted her to leave the screen. Clearly director David O. Russell realizes this, using her sparingly throughout, making every scene she’s in richly worth the wait. And this is one of the year’s best casts period, yet this twenty-something year-old distinguishes herself from all the rest. She is gold. Silver Linings Playbook may still be her masterpiece** but Lawrence shines in this fun period piece***.
** Playbook technically ran during the previous award show circuit but counts as #1 in 2013, when most of these nominees were released in theaters/aired on television.
*** Who doesn’t love the 70s?
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Watch Dallas Buyers Club and you will love Rayon.
Best Director- Motion Picture
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
This is a guy on the rise (or he’s risen… whichever). The Fighter was great. Silver Linings Playbook was out of this world. After those I had no doubt that American Hustle would be phenomenal and it was. The fact that he writes many of the screenplays too… and he already has a troupe of repeat actors, currently making Bradley Copper and Jennifer Lawrence the new Hepburn and Tracy… Not to jinx it, but he is only going to keep releasing hits.
Best Screenplay- Motion Picture
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
Every character decision made by David Grant (played by Will Forte) made me so happy, with the loyalty and willingness he shows to go along with what everyone else around him discourages and calls crazy. I love how this film plays out and identify with it immensely.
Best Original Score- Motion Picture
Alex Ebert (All is Lost)
Best Original Song- Motion Picture
Atlas (Hunger Games Catching Fire)
Best TV Series, Drama
Breaking Bad OR Masters of Sex
Have not seen the ending of Breaking Bad yet (went on a media black out for a while after the finale). Don’t have a subscription to Showtime but was able to watch Masters’ pilot when it was free through Comcast On Demand. Both are great shows and wouldn’t be disappointing wins. Point for Breaking Bad as this is their last shot at (more) recognition. Point for Masters for being a very pleasant surprise nomination, securing a spot so quickly out of the gate in a very competitive category.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Juliana Margulies (The Good Wife) OR Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Margulies is a stalwart, and while I became frustrated with Orphan Black’s season finale Tatiana Maslany herself is a powerhouse, with all the different clones she plays.
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Parks and Recreation
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), then Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), then Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) (then Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie))
Either Amy Poehler or Julia Louis-Dreyfus could win and you wouldn’t see me upset, but Amy Poehler hasn’t won and that’s just wrong. Zooey Deschanel’s always marvelous (and if New Girl for “Comedy” or Jake Johnson for “TV Comedy Actor” had been nominated, I would have given them nods). Haven’t seen Nurse Jackie but assume Edie Falco is cool (her previous acting credits of Oz and The Sopranos tell me it is so).
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Michael J. Fox (Michael J. Fox Show), then Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), then Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) (then Don Cheadle (House of Lies))
Michael J. Fox truly seems like a wonderful person, and his new, self-named show only continues to get better week to week.
Best TV Movie or Mini-Series
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Elizabeth Moss (Top of the Lake), then Helena Bonham Carter (Burton and Taylor)
Another case of didn’t love the finale of her show but Elizabeth Moss (whether on Top of the Lake or Mad Men) is a pleasure. Also, thought Helena Bonham Carter’s stylish portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor was really well-done. It certainly wasn’t an easy person to take on, and I can’t say I would have ever pictured her for the part, but she pulls it off with panache.
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Idris Elba (Luther)
I will miss Luther. I still remember watching season one, thinking man, this is too disturbing. I’ll keep watching it live and that’ll be the end of it. By the end of season one, I couldn’t wait for the DVD.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie
Hayden Pannetiere (Nashville)
Juliette Barnes can get stuck in some soapy subplots (money stealing boyfriend, the other woman in a billionaire’s marriage), but Pannetiere always makes the most of them. Also, can she sing.
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie
Here are all the official nominations. Be sure to tune in for the Golden Globes this Sunday at 8 PM ET on NBC, and post your picks in the comments below.
– all pictures are from the Golden Globes Awards web-site
I have a chance of picking a winner for lead actress in a drama! Vera Farmiga has been nominated (and, considering Bate’s Motel only started this spring, that’s some pretty fast recognition). Now, I imagine name exposure from her role in the film, Up in the Air may have helped. The show’s origin work also happens to be a Hollywood classic. Still, a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho is exciting in concept but very easily botched. Attempting to bring to life a character who only ever existed as an unseen damaging influence over cinema’s infamous serial killer, Norman Bates- a bit tricky. Farmiga deserves all the attention she gets for the multiple layers she provides Norma: her version of maternal paranoia makes all the crazy situations she falls into not outrageous but great TV. Freddie Highmore may be giving a fantastic performance as well, making a new name for himself after years of successful parts as a child actor, but Norma is the Bates to watch.
Connie Britton also snags a nomination for a first season show. Maybe it takes revealing a powerful singing voice to bring Mrs. Coach the award she’s had coming to her for since Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose?
I have enjoyed Khandi Alexander’s work since ER, so am disappointed that her, and Treme in general, have been ignored.
Then again, Rectify, the best show of 2013, has received no attention either, so what do I know? It seems Netflix and not Sundance is going to be spotlighted for newly starting to have original content, and as a person who likes her shows on a television, not a computer, I think this is a mistake (admittedly have never seen House of Lies; simply remain on the fence about its distributor and that trepidation has, fairly or unfairly, biased me against the program at present).
Here is the official nominations list.
Here is what the “Lead Actor” and “Lead Actress in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only pick six people, so even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
– Bryan Cranston (Walter White, Breaking Bad)
– ADEN YOUNG (Daniel Holden, Rectify)
– Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle, Castle)
– Jon Hamm (Don Draper, Mad Men)
– Wendell Pierce (Antoine Baptiste, Treme)
– Matthew Rhys (Philip Jennings, The Americans)
David Boreanaz (Seeley Booth, Bones)
Charlie Hunnam (Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, Sons of Anarchy)
Timothy Hutton (Nathan Ford, Leverage)
Timothy Olyphant (Raylan Givens, Justified)
Damian Lewis (Nicholas Brody, Homeland)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
– Khandi Alexander (LaDonna Baptiste-Williams, Treme)
– Connie Britton (Rayna James, Nashville)
– Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey)
– VERA FARMIGA (Norma Bates, Bates Motel)
– Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson, Mad Men)
– Katey Sagal (Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy)
Glenn Close (Patty Hewes, Damages)
Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife)
Keri Russell (Elizabeth Jennings, The Americans)
Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Beth, and others, Orphan Black)
Radha Mitchell (Marta Walraven, Red Widow)
Honorable Mentions: Emily Deschanel (Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, Bones), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret, Once Upon a Time), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering, Warehouse 13), Stana Katic (Kate Beckett, Castle), Jessica Raine (Jenny Lee, Call the Midwife)
And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot
(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)
-Aden Young screencap credited Sundance, Vera Farmiga screencap from here
[Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for this episode and any episodes preceding it]
Season finales are conceived to be memorable and in that sense Orphan Black‘s was successful. Its shock moments gave viewers many reasons for pause. If only those pauses were out of a desire to revel in the cleverness of plot points, over attempts to shake away the unpleasantness of seeing this and that depicted on screen.
I enjoy grey area shows where nothing is black and white, so ethically questionable decisions in fictional works aren’t known to turn me away. That being said, the sudden, drastic choices some of the clones make here, forever changing their characters, are decisions too sinister too soon, and they repel me from a first season I had otherwise continually enjoyed. Instead of slowly embarking down dark paths Sarah and Alison leap straight into them. This goes against a path of natural, gradual progression towards darkness for the weaker, quick reversal of personality. Thus big finale moments are created, but minus the pay off of having these character changes be inevitable and worked up to by events leading up to these moments.
Worse, because it’s the finale, my unease towards this episode is what will stick with me in the months until the show’s Spring 2014 return. Instead of remembering the strong dimensions of the show that would have previously dominated my memory of watching it (mainly the cast, led by breakthrough powerhouse Tatiana Maslany), I’ll only remember the following three aspects, which I have pinpointed as the culprits for my taking issue with this finale. The first two might have been allowable and looked past on their own. The same cannot be said for the third,-Sarah’s impulsive, harsh deed- which I cannot excuse and which still has the gravity to turn me away from the show all together, despite my current plan to give Orphan Black a chance to redeem itself next year.
1. Lack of Felix
- I will admit this is more of a personal qualm than an actual problem, but Felix was really poorly underutilized in this finale. Every scene he is thrown into seems out of pity: Sure, Felix can make a brief appearance here, but the catch is he’ll have little to say or do beyond standing/sitting in the background for back-up as Sarah’s loyal brother. We’ll make his apartment the impromptu home base/safe haven for Sarah’s fellow clones, but he’ll be pushed out and left ceding his own place to them a ridiculous number of times. In essence, his willingness to come to their aide on behalf of Sarah is not appreciated but assumed.
- And speaking of Sarah, after being informed that Felix was, like her, arrested by the police, she didn’t include him in her terms to Art as one of the people that needed to be protected if she was to confess her “secret” (she only requests guaranteed safety for herself and her daughter, Kira). Art wants an explanation as to why she shares an uncanny resemblance to his former police partner, Beth, as well as a murder victim and a suburban mom. Sarah is willing to spill that information without the assurance of Felix’s freedom, despite the fact that his only crime was helping her. And if her lawyer hadn’t interrupted the police questioning, she would have gone through with leaving him in the lurch, too.
2. Alison lets neighbor, Aynesley, die
- Alison standing by as Aynesley is strangled, her scarf caught in a garbage disposal*, goes along with Alison’s established proneness to paranoia, as well as a track record of instant, unfiltered reactions to presumed threats (the hot glue gunning incident with her husband, Donny, comes to mind). She becomes cold and unfeeling in these situations, so that she can commit what she then believes has to be done to keep her and her children safe. However, the assumptions by which she acts in this instant turn out to be false conclusions. Aynesley was not her monitor and she should have been 100% sure of her former best friend’s guilt before allowing her death to take place, unhindered.
- And what a death. Unabashed and dirty, the camera never turns away. The audience has to consider the full gravity of this “no time to think about things” decision, and that Alison’s instinct was to do nothing, changes one’s whole perception of her as the stressed but steady “soccer mom”. She also stands out for being the only one to sign Doctor Leekie’s contract, out of a compulsion to do anything to have her life return to normal. Since her life was never normal to begin with (as a clone, she was always being observed) it’s not about to become so now. What Alison truly desires is a return to the delusion of normalcy. By her coldness towards Aynesley, she proves how far she is willing to go to get it. Maybe this isn’t the greatest stretch for her character to take this route, but it certainly is the worst.
*I have seen limbs lost by garbage disposals on TV before but strangulation may be a first.
~ SIDENOTE ~
Alison’s inaction let me to make two other TV pop culture connections.
In the seventh season finale of ER, “Rampage,” [spoilers ahead] Anthony Edward’s Dr. Mark Green is alone in an elevator when a patient starts arresting in front of him. This dying man had been on a shooting rampage that day, at least eight or nine dead, including at least one child at a foster home. His motive for all the violence was Green and Adele, the hospital’s social worker, taking his son away due to suspicions of parental abuse. He shot Adele at her home address and she becomes paralyzed. He killed his neighbor, who out of concern had brought his son to the hospital in the first place. Her son, now motherless, was injured. And the address he was heading to when the police caught him was Green’s house, where his wife and newborn child were. It’s a morally ambiguous scene, especially when carried out by one of the more moral doctors of the show, but as you watch the episode’s closing sequence of Mark charging the crash cart paddles and then setting them off in midair, not attempting to save the patient, simply letting him die, you know why. He was protecting his family, who came out unharmed but were without a doubt the man’s next target. Alison didn’t have any solid proof when it came to her suspicions about Anyseley.
Then there’s Breaking Bad‘s Walter White, who goes into the meth manufacturing business to make some money to leave his family after a terminal cancer diagnosis. These “pure” motives turn out to be enough for him to convince himself that he is innocent, but not the DEA. If they found out about his dealings, every dollar would be seized, his family dropped in the middle of a gigantic scandal. As a precaution against such a reveal, Walter selfishly moves to block any potential loose ends that might rat on his drug operation. [spoilers ahead for end of season two] This includes his crime partner, Jesse Pinkman’s girlfriend, Jane. Pushing her onto her back while she was under the influence of heroin in season two’s, “Phoenix,” he stood by and watched as she suffocated on her own vomit because she threatened to tell the DA about his meth dealings. There is nothing forgivable about this murder, which has a domino effect in setting off other disasters (Jesse’s mental breakdown, Jane’s father getting distracted while on the job, causing a passenger-filled plane to crash, etc.).
Even worse than Alison’s doing nothing, he deliberately pushed Jane on her back. If nothing else Alison can say she didn’t stick Aynesley’s scarf in the garbage disposal. Worse with Alison’s: she is not half as despicable as Walter White. I feel he has always been capable of turning into a monster but I wouldn’t describe her the same way. She shouldn’t have been able to just stand there**, no matter what her reasons for wanting the woman dead, especially while any doubt existed of her involvement with Dr. Leekie. Plus, Aynseley was moving away. If Alison has let that be enough and dropped it right there, instead of following Aynseley into her house, probably nothing would have happened.
** Walter shouldn’t have been able to not do anything either, but it somehow wasn’t surprising. No less horrific but not shocking for him to do, either.
3. Sarah shot and killed Helena
- This was the worst to me. Helena was Sarah’s sister. Yes, she killed people, there is no denying or excusing that. But… if it weren’t for the circumstances of her upbringing, Helena might have been a very different person. That can be said of anyone, naturally, but a lot of her twisted actions can be traced back to a childhood of being mentally brain washed by Father Thomas. He manipulated her into believing she was the original clone, destined to destroy the others by some religious decree. And who was around to tell her differently? Sarah by no means had an easy life as an orphan. However, she did have a brother, and now a daughter, who loved her dearly and the effect of such companionship can never be underestimated.
- Helena only ever had a man who was using her to carry out his plans, a man, as revealed in episode nine, “Unconscious Selection,” she would have never met if her birth mother hadn’t left her in the convent. Amelia separated her twins with the intention of keeping them safe from the scientists who created them but Sarah, who was dropped in the foster system, ended up getting the better deal. Therefore Helena has legitimate reasons for being upset with her birth mother, only she reacts in the way she has been taught to respond, through cold violence.
- Truly, when she kills Amelia under the ruse of being Sarah using a wig***, it is a murder motivated by a recognition on her part of what she has become (a killer) and what she could have been (a mother like Sarah). This self-understanding started taking place after she meets Sarah. Suddenly she starts trying to be good, going against orders to come to Sarah’s aid during a rescue attempt of Paul in episode eight, “Entangled Bank,” and siding with Sarah over Thomas in, “Unconscious Selection,” before even knowing they were related. She even drops her kidnapping of Kira out of some newfound remorse and conscious. Kira recognizes this and goes on to tell her mom that Helena was not a real monster but Sarah isn’t listening. Helena wants to change, no longer purely a follower but a decision maker. This understandably means mistakes are being made as well. Because of her lifestyle as a trained assassin, these mistakes are on a grander scale. Sarah can’t take that.
- I thought that the realization of them being related meant we would see a Sarah next season who was going to farther help Helena recover. These predictions made Sarah’s decision to kill Helena all the more unsettling and upsetting, a betrayal of sorts. Helena was no threat to her or Kira, yet Sarah cannot forgive Helena for Amelia’s death, nor Kira accidently getting hit by a car. Maybe no one could have been forgiving in that moment of discovering the dying Amelia, but Sarah’s reaction is quick and deadly. The sisters had had each others backs before, withholding from harming the other due to some internal feeling of identification and connection with the other. Those days permanently end with this finale.
*** FX’s The Americans has shown me how well a wig can be pulled off, looking both real and undetectable (ABC’s Alias had to resort to bright colors to get away with constantly changing Agent Sydney Bristow’s hair styles). When Helena dons a wig of her own and succeeds in stabbing her birth mother, did anyone else feel like it was a cheat? I know clones pretending to be other clones has been used before. Previously viewers have always been aware when such attempts at subterfuge were happening. This use of a wig to hide Helena’s identity was different: not a drastic, intentional change in behavior and speech on the clone’s part (Sarah watching video of Beth to get her accent right) but a disguise that predominantly leaned on a cheap piece of clothing. For surprise it worked but because the clones are all played by the same actress, it felt cruel to mess with our ability to tell them apart with an item that could be purchased.
So, while I will be coming back for season two, the question remains as to whether I’ll be sticking around…. I still go back to the fact that, for all the craziness the plot was allowed to have (reasonable sci-fi explanations available for any outrageous directions it chose to take), the clones were supposed to be grounded in human qualities. Sometimes they did wild things (Alison and her hot glue gun interrogation) but their go-to excuse of still tackling the realization of, “being a genetic copy of others” was effective (plus the hot glue scene was original and darkly comedic). After this finale, the clones have officially lost their privilege of using viewer sympathy to get away with committing questionable actions (or, technically in Alison’s case, getting away with choosing to do nothing).
Is it just me, though? Did you enjoy the finale, or do you have trepidations as well? And what is Orphan Black without Helena? Will the void she leaves be filled with additional clones (already met one new one this episode with corporate “proclone,” Rachel), destroy the show or allow it to further progress towards something more complex? Mourn Helena, discuss the finale, or ponder the future of the show in the comments below.
-pictures from here
Can no member of an FX drama get nominated? Justified? Sons of Anarchy? The Americans? Poor Walter Goggins.
The silver lining is I’m very happy for Peter Dinklage and Aaron Paul. It’s a complete toss up between those two.
Here is the official nominations list.
Here is what the “Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only nominate six people, and even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
– WALTON GOGGINS (Boyd Crowder, Justified)
– Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad)
– Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones)
– Steve Zahn (Davis McAlary, Treme)
– Dayton Callie (Wayne Unser, Sons of Anarchy)
– Luke Kirby (Jon Stern, Rectify)
Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne, Nashville)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Chalky White, Boardwalk Empire)
Jordan Gavaris (Felix, Orphan Black)
Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett, Bates Motel)
Goran Visnjic (Nikolai Schiller, Red Widow)
John Slattery (Roger Sterling, Mad Men)
Matt Czuchry (Cary Agos, The Good Wife)
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut), Kim Coates (Alex ‘Tig’ Trager, Sons of Anarchy), Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey), Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates, Bates Motel), Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin, Once Upon a Time), Josh Charles (Will Gardner, The Good Wife)
Michael Cudlitz (Officer John Cooper, Southland), Colin Donaghue (Hook/Killian Jones, Once Upon a Time), Seamus Denver (Kevin Ryan, Castle), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader, Breaking Bad), Mandy Patinkin (Saul Berenson, Homeland), Dax Shepard (Crosby Braverman, Parenthood), Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley, Nashville), Sam Palladio (Gunner Scott, Nashville)
And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot.
(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)
-picture from here
My name is Rachel and I am addicted to television. When I say addicted it means the act of staring at my collection of DVD seasons in my room is eerily similar to Gollum’s attachment to the One Ring. Over years of deal finding and gathering (thank you Amazon, eBay, and Black Friday), my crowded shelves include at least eighty-seven different shows. This does not include all the shows I watch live when they air, nor the shows typed up on an ongoing wish list to watch in the future.
It is my belief that I follow such a variety of different programs that anyone could find at least one they liked, and probably a few they have never heard of. Some are American (Treme), while others are British (Life on Mars) and Canadian (Slings and Arrows). Genre-wise, there is a wide, unlimited range of classics (I Love Lucy), comedy (New Girl), mystery (Castle), science-fiction (Doctor Who), quirky one-season hits (Wonderfalls), dramas (Nashville), violence (Sons of Anarchy) and anything that comes out of the brain of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
My favorite characters range from the protective siblings to the annoying person every other fan cannot stand, the witty best friend (see Friday Night Light‘s Landry Clarke) to the well-intentioned rebel (which sounds like such a cliché but cannot be denied when people like Gilmore Girl‘s Jess Mariano, Veronica Mar‘s Logan Echolls, and Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman exist).
Bonds of Siblinghood
While not predisposed to be a watcher of horror shows or movies, I love Supernatural. In television, it is rare that the protagonists are siblings, seemingly preferring solo stars or love interests. That is why shows like Supernatural, Tru Calling, and the new [UPDATE: canceled] comedy, Ben and Kate, mean so much to me. They focus on the relationship that is so important in my world, instead of acting like the only place for a brother or sister in television is as an annoyance. For example, it is not uncommon for Supernatural fans to be obsessed with Dean Winchester. I mean, it basically comes down to being a member of Team Sam or Team Dean. As a member of Team Dean, though, I find the character (portrayed winningly by Jensen Ackles) incredibly charming, and a lot of that comes from the fact that he is a protective, older sibling. Like Dean, I would do anything for my little brother. He means the world to me and every extreme action Dean does to take care and protect Sammy, is exactly what I would do… if I fought demons for a living.
Defender of the Hated
As for my penchant to adore disliked characters, I know Ziggy says some stuff he should not say (like here), that he should have known ducks and alcohol do not mix, but everyone treats him like an idiot. He just looks so sad sometimes, like he has gotten himself stuck in this shtick and does not know how to get out. No one thinks he can change or do anything right to the point that even his friends refuse to see him as anything but a mess up. It’s not fair. Sure, maybe I give him more credit then he deserves, and at times he is in the wrong, or takes a wrong approach. Then again I am also trying to find some means to redeem Dutch Wagenbach (one look at his name and you know he gets no respect) after he killed a cat on The Shield. I simply refuse to give up on these broken characters, who never seem to be given a chance and are always picked on, but have heart.
When a disk skips even a minute I go crazy running from room to room, trying to find a DVD player that will play through the missed seconds.
I read books called, The Office and Philosophy, from Blackwell Philosophy and PopCulture, or Pronto by Elmore Leonard, starring Justified lead, Raylon Givens (but missing my leading man, Boyd Crowder).
TV Guide magazine is a weekly read.
In other words, this hobby is not limited to video content but is reflected in everything I do.
Television vs Movies
All of this could be considered extreme (I use “could be” hesitantly) but I love it. There is something to be proud of, in a sense, in knowing so much detail about one area, to be able to name the actors and actresses who appear as minor guest stars, as well as provide their previous work credentials. The appeal of television over movies is the emphasis on characters, who get to really grow and change over thirteen to twenty-two episodes, as opposed to being restricted to two and a half hours and that is it. There are story arcs which you actually have to keep track of as they are referenced weeks later. They are even divided into attainable thirty to sixty minute segments, which can easily fit into my busy schedule. There is no better way to debrief and recuperate than with a show. Drop all the homework for a moment and just sit: pure watching, no multitasking.
Why It’s OK to be Obsessed with Television
As an added bonus, I can warrant my habits to the more skeptical individuals with the fact that my goal is for this beloved obsession to lead to some form of career, the pipe dream being a television critic. Alan Sepinwall is my role model in the field. Through his blog, and now his work on the web-site HitFix, he gets paid to watch shows and write reviews for each episode. Indeed, he spent one summer re-watching The Wire and writing two separate reviews for each episode, one for new fans and one for people who have already seen all five seasons so would not be spoiled. Not only does that take a lot of commitment but, having read most of the “newbie” reviews personally, it really adds to understanding and provides new ways of looking at events that took place.
The whole concept sounds amazing, such a fun thing to do for a living. Since first grade, writing has always been the discipline where I found my niche and now I know what I want to write about. Indeed, that is one of the reasons I am so excited about writing a blog in this class. Alan Sepinwall got noticed writing about NYPD Blue on a blog in college. This assignment could be a great opportunity to replace my talk with action towards an ambition that, if successful, could lead towards a paying job one day.
Something Quotable for the Last Lines
The best thing about television is it is still fairly separate from the combined gadget world technology seems to want to head towards (like the phones no longer being only phones phenomenon). Some have increased in size and flatness. There are more channels. 3D is being attempted. For the most part, though, television is still that box in the living room we all know and love to turn on. That is something to celebrate.