Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, September 30, 2006

New Fall Television Shows

by Sariah S. Wilson

Rob recently posted his surprise over my admitting to playing World of Warcraft (which is a massive multi-player online role-playing game or, aptly enough, an MMORPG. Ask your kids if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I’ve had some surprise here myself that Julie has admitted to watching television.

Mainly because I’m a television junkie. It goes back to an early age - my mother potty-trained me using Sesame Street. I thought everyone watched TV on a regular basis. But as I grew up, I kept hearing people at church saying over and over again that they never watched TV, that they didn’t have time for it or wanted to do other things. I figured my entire family were just horrible apostates since we enjoyed watching TV together.

So it’s something I don’t usually talk about. I’ve found that people sometimes look down at you if you do anything so lowbrow as watch television shows or act appalled/aghast/shocked that you would waste your time that way. It’s usually better to say nothing

But I’ve found TV to be so instrumental to my writing - the pacing, the plotting, the way the acts in an hour long drama are set up, the dialogue and timing in the comedies, the ugliness and beauty in human nature exposed on reality shows. I’ve discovered how to raise tension, how to move the plot and story along quickly. I love jaw-dropping twists on the great shows, the things you didn’t see coming. It’s also given me several great ideas that I’ve incorporated into my own stories either in character traits or using a plot that I can bend and turn until it’s my own.

That being said, the new fall season is upon us. There are a couple of great new shows this year that I’ve loved and look forward to watching regularly (note, this list doesn’t include the shows I already watch like Grey’s Anatomy or Gilmore Girls and also keeping in mind that I don’t much care for CSI/police procedural type shows or legal shows):

Monday is for Heroes. How fantastic is this show? The premise is that these ordinary people realize that they have superhuman powers - like the artist who paints the future, or the indestructible cheerleader, or the Trekkie who can slow down/speed up time and teleport. I got completely caught up in this show - a couple of the “twists” I saw coming, but when the one character tried to see if he could fly - total shock there for me in what happened. I love when a show can surprise me. It has the same sort of shadowy mysterious feel as Lost, but the producers have promised they won’t drag things out for three years before we understand what’s going on. On the same night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip looks promising, if only because I love Matthew Perry so much (I miss Chandler Bing!). I missed the pilot, and I’m not sure what I’ll think of this show in the long run, but so far so good.

On Tuesdays my new show is Veronica Mars. Yes, I realize that this show has actually been out for two years, but when Joss Whedon can’t shut up about what a great show it is, I knew I had to watch and thus, it is new to me. But I wanted to watch it in order, so I currently have Season 1 and Season 2 which I’m going to watch before the Season 3 premiere. I’m halfway through Season 1 so nobody tell me who killed Lily Kane. The wit and the heart of this show feels very much like Gilmore Girls with a strong, female heroine who is very Buffy-like. Good show.

Thursday night is Ugly Betty. Another great premise - a non-supermodel woman who goes to work at a fashion magazine. While she’s not attractive on the outside, she’s the only truly beautiful person on the entire staff. I love that TV is showing us these women who look real (Betty, Callie on Grey’s Anatomy) and who look like they know what a hamburger is. So refreshing.

So for those of you who will actually admit to watching television (and I realize that the only ones may be Julie and me), which new shows have you liked? Any recommendations?


9 Comments:

At 9/30/2006 10:43 PM, Blogger KB said...

I am so glad you said TV helps your writing. That has been my experience too. Now that you and Julie are out of the closet, perhaps I can venture forth. :)

We are a TV/movie family. On Christmas Day, we see 4 back-to-back movies at the theaters as our family activity. People think we're weird, but it works for us.

As to the new shows, I'm not really up on them. When my mother-in-law moved out of our home last year, cable went with her. We now have a dinky little antennae and only get ABC and PBS, and sometimes Fox. :( I keep threatening to get cable again, but just haven't gotten around to it.

I loved Veronica Mars. But I don't know who killed Lily because I kept forgetting when it came on and so it was really hit and miss for me.

I was a little disappointed in Ugly Betty. I like the premise, but the acting/timing was off. I'll give it a chance. Sometimes new shows take a few weeks to hit their stride.

Even though Lost is on ABC, I miss it most of the time because it conflicts with American Idol (or some such other teenage show)--two teens vs one mom. Guess what we watch. But my kids gave me season 1 for Christmas last year. And today when I was at Wal-Mart, season 2 just fell into my cart. There is an upside to watching it all at once--you catch a lot more of the subtle little hints that you tend to forget when you have to wait a whole week between episodes.

 
At 10/01/2006 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ghost Whisperer Rocks!

 
At 10/01/2006 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All right, I'll admit to watching television shows. I'll even admit to writing fan fiction based on those shows! (Have you ever written any?) But since I don't live inside the U.S., most of my watching involves DVD's. Some of my favourites include 24 and Battlestar Galactica.

I'd love to see Heroes, though. It sounds great.

Melanie Goldmund

 
At 10/02/2006 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love 24 adn The Amazing Race. How great would it be to race around the world on someone else's dime? It's the one show I wouldn't mind being on. Anyone want a partner?

 
At 10/02/2006 9:28 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

The only current shows that I'll go out of my way to watch are Studio 60 (which is really awesome) and House (which is the best show on TV).

Other new shows I've seen this year are Kidnapped (good, but I just can't justify the time required), Standoff (good, but dumb; not as moronic and silly as CSI, but certainly not plausible), Six Degrees (entertaining and moderately interesting, but when an episode ends I never think "I can't wait for next week!").

Question: is Ugly Betty just a rip-off of The Devil Wears Prada? Because it sure looks like it.

 
At 10/02/2006 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question about Heroes-- for those of you who watched on Monday. Did Peter (Milo) see himself flying in the picture or did he see Nathan, his brother. No one I've talked to seems to know. Let me know what you think.

 
At 10/03/2006 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the impression that he saw himself, otherwise why would he jump off a building?

 
At 10/06/2006 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he didn't see himself flying, he saw himself falling, right?

And Hero's rocks, especially since it has a pretty hard edge to it. The "artist" has his problems, and the reflection chick is just wierd.

And how did no one mention The Office and My Name Is Earl? Hands down, the funniest shows on TV since Seinfeld.

 
At 10/20/2006 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Ugly Betty is a remake of a tele-novela (soap opera) made in Colombia a while back. It was originally called "Yo soy, Betty la Fea"(I am Ugly Betty), and has been reproduced in a lot of countries and languages.

I think it'll be interesting to see how the show is changed to fit an American market.

 

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