Monday, August 31, 2009

TV for Writers

by Susan Sey

I avoid TV. It's not because I have anything against it, though. I don't. In fact, I love TV. I love it the way I love ice cream. The way I love Diet Coke. The way I love books.

I love TV quite a lot.

In fact, when TV lives up to its potential, I am powerless to stop myself. I am an addict, & this is why I avoid it. In real time, anyway. DVDS are another story.

When the Sopranos ended its run to such acclaim a few years ago I thought, "Okay, time to see what all the fuss was about." Blockbuster.com sent me the first season on DVD over the Fourth of July. By Labor Day my husband & I (he's as bad as I am) had pounded through all eight seasons. I'll leave you to do the math but the number of hours we spent parked in front of the TV during those few weeks is cringe-worthy. We were lucky nobody staged an intervention. Especially since it wasn't the first time we'd behaved in such a fashion.

Lost did it to us, too. That pilot episode when the plane first crashed? Yowza. And five, six seasons later, bad guy Ben just keeps the passive-aggressive fun coming. Good times.

I mourned when we finished the last DVD of Arrested Development. In addition to the razor-sharp humor (a character with sexual identity issues inadvertantly bills himself as an "analrapist" on his business cards, a combination analyst & therapist), it also provided me with my first opportunity in a number of years to remark upon how darn cute that Jason Bateman was.

The Office (the British original) introduced me to a brand of cringing comedy that was so excruciatingly honest I didn't know for a solid three DVDs if I liked it or not. Turns out I do. (The American version introduced me to John Krasinski, on whom I instantly developed a minor crush. I still like the British version better, though. Ricky Gervais is incredibly talented.)

And now we're addicted to a new one--The Wire, a cop show set in Baltimore's west side. The writing is again razor sharp & the dialogue rings incredibly true. But there was one episode in the first season--one scene actually--that sealed the deal for me. It's a scene in which Detective Jimmy McNulty & his partner Bunk revisit a crime scene to role play a murder. They say nothing but the f-word for about four solid minutes, each time with a different intonation & a different meaning. By the end of the scene they'd drawn a completely new conclusion about the crime & so had the audience--through nothing but about four minutes of the f-bomb.

I don't know if that's quality writing or acting, or maybe both, but I was totally sold. We watched Season One in five days.

We start Season Two tonight.

How about you? For your money, what's the best TV show on the air right now? Off the air? Who's telling the best story these days? I'd love to know because, at the rate we're eating up The Wire, we're going to need a new addiction one of these days pretty soon.

90 comments:

Lynz Pickles said...

Mine?

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz have fun with him

Susan good on you I don't really watch TV at all these days I am either on the net or reading. I do have shows that I used to watch all the time all the Law & Orders NCIS CSI all of them, But over the last year I would rather read.

Australian Idol has just started here in Australia and that is one show I sit down to watch I love it.

I do watch the footy games on TV as well but I can read and watch them LOL.
Thanks for the recomendations I will keep them in mind when I start to watch TV again. My daughters watch a lot of TV and they have so many seasons of different shows on DVD I do have plenty to watch if I want to.

Have Fun
Helen

Lynz Pickles said...

Oh, Lost. I watched that first episode too - talk about an amazing pilot, no pun intended - and continued to watch each new episode as it came out for three seasons. I fell behind on season four, though, and haven't caught up since. I think it's the flash-forwards - I couldn't stop watching until they started. I just don't like knowing that the future's set in stone. I'll probably catch up before the next season starts, though.

I love Criminal Minds - and not just for Shemar Moore, though I'd probably watch even a horrible show if he starred in it - because I find the psychology of insane psychopaths fascinating. Also, Shemar is just so yummy. Speaking of murderers, I also love me some Dexter. Serial killers have never been such fun!

I find Psych captivating because of the way the main character puts little clues together. If I were ever to write anything even vaguely mysterious or suspenseful, though I probably won't because I'm horrid at planning anything beyond how two characters fall in love, I would totally make a character like Shawn. It's also just a really funny show.

Lie to Me is interesting because it makes you think about facial expressions and gestures so much. I remember that a romance author once said it was really helpful in her writing, and I can see why it would be. I also really like the theme song, and that's clearly what's really important, right?

My favourite two shows, however, are The Big Bang Theory and Fringe. The latter is just... breathtaking? Amazing? It's hard for me to find the right word for it, because there are so many different things I love about it. And the former... it's a comedy about four nerds and a hot girl. That's comedy gold, man. What more could I ask for? Sheldon is my favourite character by far - he's so well-acted, and he's just so great. (Shoot, this comment's grown and grown and grown! I'm cutting myself off now.)

Virginia said...

Congrats Lynz on the rooster.

Right now about everything has ended for the season. Shows I like are. NCIS, by all means check out Castle, its about an author doing reserch for his book with a police detective, good show. Grey's Anatomy, Hawthorn, Royal Pains, Fringe, Hmm this seems to be all I can think of right now.

Virginia said...

Forgot to mention The Closer and The Ghost Whisper.

Minna said...

Well, Numb3rs and Bones are definitely my favorites.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Susan...

I absolutely adore Mad Men on the AMC channel. I'd watch it even if the writing was awful but it's compelling, provocative with just the right nuances. I also love the set..the mid-century style furniture and the fashions the women wear remind me so much of my childhood. The sexism in the office and pregnant women drinking and smoking is off putting but back then, it was an accepted practice. And though I shun most reality shows, I'm also a Top Chef and Project Runway addict. :-)

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Lynz.

Hi Susan,
The best shows on TV are "30 Rock" and "Mad Men." I'm also addicted to crime dramas like "NCIS," "Criminal Minds," "Law & Order" and "The Mentalist." I can't wait for "In Plain Sight" to come back next Spring. I'm mad that NBC canceled "Life." It was definitely one of the smartest shows out there and the cast is amazing.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ooooooooo, Susan, I'm an NCIS addict... Can't get enough of Jethro Leroy Gibbs, Wanna-shag-him DeNozzo, Cute in a geeky-guy-who-deserves-true-love McGee, sexy-and-dangerous Ziva, always loved Illea Kuriakin Dr. Mallard, and of course Abby.

Lots of twists and turns....

My favorite line..."never apologize, it's a sign of weakness"

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I liked Bones and right now I hooked on a whole network, it is better for me if I just don't turn the TV on at all because if I get started on the Food Network I can't get anything done at all.

MJFredrick said...

Supernatural has conflict like nobody's business, and great dialogue besides.

Leverage, Castle and Burn Notice are smart and fast-paced.

I love Big Bang Theory, too. We have the first disc of Mad Men to watch on DVD, and the second disc of the second season of Rescue Me, too.

Anna Sugden said...

Great Post, Susan!

My faves are The Closer, Saving Grace and The Beast.

Over here, I love New Tricks!

I also enjoy Criminal Minds, CSI (but not the Miami one - can't stand Caruso from his NYPD Blue days!), NCIS and Cold Case.

I really miss The Food Network - loved Iron Chef and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives etc. Love cookery progs! Oh and I LOVE Ace of Cakes.

The only reality stuff I can bear to watch - Project Runway, Top Chef and Step It Up and Dance. I just wish they'd cut out all the catty stuff and focus on the talents of the people!

Old TV shows I loved (and now have on DVD) NYPD Blue (the Jimmy Smits years), LA Law, Shark, West Wing, Northern Exposure, North Square and Capital City. (last two are UK)

Going back in time - I love all the old drama series, like Upstairs, Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street etc.

And Alias Smith and Jones!

Deb Marlowe said...

Hey roomie!

Fun post! It's easy to get addicted to your favorite shows! I'm currently watching True Blood, Top Chef and Project Runway. Can't wait for the new season of Big Bang Theory! I'm a sucker for Sheldon too, Lynz!

EilisFlynn said...

I'm amused to NOT see True Blood mentioned by anyone, considering people are all gaga over it. Very different from the books, but entertaining on its own (if you don't mind a lot of sex and nudity). Currently we're big on Burn Notice, the spy on ice in Miami; Leverage, not because of its plotting, but its characters and its injokes; Eureka, about the town of geniuses and the sheriff who operates on his common sense; Big Bang Theory, the favorite of geeks everywhere (every longtime comic fan I know loves this show, because it speaks to them); and because I can't keep going on and on, NCIS, because if there's an NCIS marathon on, it will be on my TV. There's a lot of watching ahead of you, young lady!

Susan Sey said...

Lynz! Congrats on the GR! Careful, though. I understand he can be quite addictive. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Helen wrote: I do have shows that I used to watch all the time all the Law & Orders NCIS CSI all of them, But over the last year I would rather read.

Ooooh, the Law & Order juggernaut. Yes, I understand that's one of the best out there. I had a roomie once who used L&O like valium or something. Any time she needed to just relax & zone out, she'd flip on the TV & find an episode of L&O. Apparently if you have cable, you can find one on at any hour of the day or night. She could ID episodes by the murder. It was like name that tune. Ten seconds, tops.

Susan Sey said...

Lynz wrote: I find Psych captivating because of the way the main character puts little clues together. If I were ever to write anything even vaguely mysterious or suspenseful, though I probably won't because I'm horrid at planning anything beyond how two characters fall in love, I would totally make a character like Shawn. It's also just a really funny show.



I've been meaning to watch this show for a while now. You make a compelling case for my getting off my duff & looking it up. :-)

I have to admit, though, a big piece of the appeal is that it features Dulle Hill (I think.) Remember him? From the West Wing? Geez, I miss Aaron Sorkin. When is he going to write something good again??

Susan Sey said...

Virginia wrote: by all means check out Castle, its about an author doing reserch for his book with a police detective, good show. Grey's Anatomy, Hawthorn, Royal Pains, Fringe,

My mom just recommended Castle to me the other day, & well, Nathan Fillion, right? Case closed. :-)

As for Fringe, I caught the pilot & I don't know. I wasn't sold. Maybe I should give it another shot. Besides, Joshua what's his name from Dawson's Creek is on it, isn't he? I'll try again, if only so I can relive the minor Dawson's Creek addiction I suffered when I was nursing my first baby around the clock. Pacey was my favorite. It's fun to see him all grown up.

Susan Sey said...

Minna wrote: Numb3rs and Bones

Number I've heard of, but I don't think I know Bones. What's it about? Anybody?

Kirsten said...

How does anyone have time to watch these fabulous shows? (whine, whine) It isn't that I'm not interested -- I just can't maneuver an extra hour or two in my days to watch.

I think I need to start prioritizing better...surely I can find an hour for a great show -- or half an hour even! I have watched a little of the Office and 30 Rock and love both. I should start making time for them...*g*

Susan Sey said...

Pink Peony wrote: I absolutely adore Mad Men on the AMC channel.

Ooooh, Mad Men. I desperately desire Mad Men on DVD so I can gorge myself on the whole, yummy thing. But my new rule (now that I'm hopelessly trapped in Lost & the Office) is that I won't pick up the show until it's officially over & I can get all the seasons on DVD. BEcause I know myself--I'm an addict, & it pains me to have to wait for the story line to play out week by week.

I might make an exception for Don Draper though. Mmmmm.

Susan Sey said...

Jane wrote: The best shows on TV are "30 Rock" and "Mad Men." I'm also addicted to crime dramas like "NCIS," "Criminal Minds," "Law & Order" and "The Mentalist." I can't wait for "In Plain Sight" to come back next Spring. I'm mad that NBC canceled "Life." It was definitely one of the smartest shows out there and the cast is amazing.

Oh, 30 Rock. Yes. I love that show, too. Tiny Fey is one of the smarter writers working in Hollywood today, I'm convinced. I probably should have put that one on the list except that it's completely episodic. There are jokes that run across seasons, I guess, but each one is a self-contained little gem. If you miss a few weeks, you don't spend the time gnashing your teeth & begging people not to tell you what happened.

As for the Mentalist--here's a question for you. Is the guy who plays the main character the same guy who played the 'other guy' in The Devil Wears Prada? The one she sleeps with in Paris? Because I just saw that movie on an airplane the other day & thought, "where have I seen that GUY??"

Anybody?

Susan Sey said...

Suzanne wrote: Can't get enough of Jethro Leroy Gibbs, Wanna-shag-him DeNozzo, Cute in a geeky-guy-who-deserves-true-love McGee, sexy-and-dangerous Ziva, always loved Illea Kuriakin Dr. Mallard, and of course Abby.

Suz, you're making me laugh out loud with the nicknames. Do you have pet names for all your favorite characters? Your favorite people? Random patients from work? This makes me want to watch the show just so I can see what Abby-of-no-nickname is like. :-)

Susan Sey said...

hrdwrkdmom wrote: it is better for me if I just don't turn the TV on at all because if I get started on the Food Network I can't get anything done at all.

I feel like that about Eloisa James these days. It's better for me if I don't even crack the spine because if I do, I'll be sneaking off to read instead of doing any of the things I'm supposed to be doing.

It's a good thing I don't have cable.

Susan Sey said...

MJ Frederick wrote: Supernatural has conflict like nobody's business, and great dialogue besides...
[snip]
...Rescue Me, too.


Isn't our own Trish Milburn a big Supernatural fan? To the point of blogging about it? I'll have to check that one out. And I've been gnashing my teeth to get into Rescue Me, too. I love Dennis Leary. But rules are rules. I have to wait for it to go off the air before I indulge. It'll kill me to wait around for the story line to progress. I like my gratification NOW. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Anna wrote: I also enjoy Criminal Minds, CSI (but not the Miami one - can't stand Caruso from his NYPD Blue days!), NCIS and Cold Case.

I can completely see why you'd dislike Caruso. He's one of those polarizing people you either love or hate. Myself, I kinda like him. Maybe I have a soft spot for deadly pale, doughy people. I don't know. He always seems one small step away from dozing off, & I always thought that was fun when you consider that he's investigating a murder. It was like, "ho hum, another day at the office." Cracked me up.

Susan Sey said...

Anna also wrote: The only reality stuff I can bear to watch - Project Runway, Top Chef and Step It Up and Dance. I just wish they'd cut out all the catty stuff and focus on the talents of the people!

Amen, sister. The one I happened to catch an episode of while at my parents' house this summer (they have every channel in the known universe) was Dance Your A$$ Off--reality dance off for chubby folks. I loved it. I couldn't even say why except that it's a celebration of the fact that it doesn't take a size zero to feel the music & shake it. Shake it well, too. I caught the hip-hop episode, though, so maybe it was more fun than most.

Susan Sey said...

Deb Marlowe wrote: It's easy to get addicted to your favorite shows! I'm currently watching True Blood, Top Chef and Project Runway.

Hey, Roomie! Top Chef & Project Runway are perennial favorites around here. They air on regular old TV (or at least the cable that you don't have to pay for) so I watch old seasons while I'm on the tread mill. I love watching really talented people do their thing under time pressure with a paucity of materials. That's just good TV.

And my sister just gave me the first book of the True Blood series, so I'm going to start reading. If it's as good as people say, I'll have to break down & catch an episode on TV. I like Anna Pacquin, after all. I remember her from The Piano when she was just a kid.

Susan Sey said...

Ellis Flynn wrote: ...Eureka, about the town of geniuses and the sheriff who operates on his common sense...

I've never heard of this one! What a fantastic premise! Where can I find it??

Susan Sey said...

Kirsten wrote: How does anyone have time to watch these fabulous shows? (whine, whine) It isn't that I'm not interested -- I just can't maneuver an extra hour or two in my days to watch.

I recommend giving up the day job. :-) In lieu of that, giving up sleep is what I usually do. Not fun & not ideal, but sometimes a story grabs hold & I do it anyway.

jo robertson said...

Great topic, Susan! We do love us some good series TV.

Congrats, Lynz. He's yours, all yours. He's been rather mellow lately, hasn't he? What's the rooster up to nowadays?

Hi, my name's Jo and I'm a teleholic. Sad, but true, and I have no intention of being "cured."

DEXTER is one of my fav series and because I don't get Showtime, I have to buy the seasons. Season 3 just came out, Amazon had it for about $20, and I had it in my shopping cart ready to order. Suddenly, I go in and they boosted the price to $34!!?? What the heck??!!

Susan Sey said...

Jo wrote: DEXTER is one of my fav series and because I don't get Showtime, I have to buy the seasons.

Ooooh, I've heard good things about Dexter! But I'm squeamish. It's about a serial killer, right? How gory is it? Because no amount of great writing is going to get me involved in a splatter-fest. I have a really low tolerance for that kind of thing. I get images stuck in my head for years & my poor husband pays the price when I can't sleep. Or go to the bathroom without moral support. :-)

Claudia Dain said...

Funny you should mention this, but I'm watching Firefly right now. I barely registered that there was a series called Firefly when it was on, and then it was off. Canceled almost immediately. I love this show! I watched 7 episodes yesterday and only dragged myself away from the screen because I *had* to do Sunday dinner with the kids. Sigh. The sacrifices I make.

Anyway, Firefly starred Nathan Fillion of Castle fame. I just found this show and I want to sob that it's history already.

KELLY FITZPATRICK said...

OMG! The Closer, Burn Notice, NCIS, 30 Rock, Eureka, Psych, Monk, Castle - someone stop me. Royal Pains, In Plain Sight, Dexter, Southland, The Unusuals. Don't hate me because I love Dancing With The Stars and My Life on the D-list.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Susan, why yes, I do give people nicknames... There's coolest-gay-repiratory-guy-Kirk, if-you-wake-me-one-more-time-you're-dead-meat-child (which worked for all three), crazy-cook-in-the-cafe guy, the if-you-drive-any-slower-we-could-park person who is inevitably in front of me on my way to work, frequent-flyer-tired-of-pregnancy-woman...see...lots of nick-names

Oh and Abby? She is such a unique character, she doesn't need a nick-name

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I watch 2 reality shows when they're on...Project Runway, Top Chef and the Amazing Race. Also, I love LEVERAGE on TNT. I Tivo all these so I can watch them on my nights off at 3 am while hubby is asleep!

Julia Smith said...

My husband and I are exactly the same. We love to inhale series all in one go. I'm totally with you on Arrested Development and crush-on-John-Krasinski.

If you want a nice addiction to look forward to, try Spooks (or MI-5). Superb writing and it already has 8 seasons under its belt. My husband and I discovered it last year and did our own version of your Sopranos binge.

Minna said...

Susan, here's what Bones is all about (and David Boreanaz plays agent Booth =):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bones_(TV_series)

http://www.fox.com/bones/

Minna said...

Mentalist sounds like a good series. It'll start here in Finland within few days.

Jeannie Ruesch said...

My hubby and I are marathon DVD watchers too... Our first experience with the DVD Marathon was "24." It's the ONLY way to watch that show... we've tried the week by week, but it's so much better when you can just flow through each ep at your own pace. So much happens in an episode and the way the story twists and turns and ends up somewhere completely different in a matter of seconds...I love it.

Another show I have on DVD that I think is phenomenal and have watched at least 3 or 4 times from beginning to end is Gilmore Girls. It's long since over, but it's one of the best examples of TV writing I can think of. Witty, snappy dialogue, amazing cast of characters, love stories to fall for... It's got it all.

MsHellion said...

I have limited TV and don't do the DVD thing (though I should).

Currently I'm a fan of:

Law & Order: SVU (Eliot is HOT)

Castle (Castle is adorable)

Ugly Betty

Grey's Anatomy (because I'm a lemming)

Medium (I used to like it, but I can take it or leave it)

Lynz Pickles said...

Thanks to everyone who congratulated me. The GR and I are trying out Jo's brownie recipe today, mmmm.

Susan said:I've been meaning to watch this show for a while now. You make a compelling case for my getting off my duff & looking it up.

Give it a try! I must caution, though, that I found the pilot to be a bit much. But, given that I'm possibly the most stubborn(stubbornest?) person I know, I didn't let myself stop after watching it and it gets a lot better.

Nancy said...

Lynz, congrats on the rooster!

Susan, I love TV, too. Or I used to. There used to be more shows for me to love--SG-1 and BSG among them. I tend to do your DVD thing and watch seasons' worth of episodes back to back. My viewing tends to be spotty during the school year.

I love Smallville, of course. I also see myself getting hooked on Castle, Nathan Fillion's detective show. Top Chef and Project Runway, though I have no desire to watch either of those on DVD. I like NCIS a lot.

And Heroes, of course. Burn Notice, which just ended its summer "season," is a must-watch for me. I loved Thursday with Smallville and Burn Notice back to back. Now Smallville has been shoved to Friday to make room for a Twilight clone, which I will SOOOO not be watching because I'm irked about that.

I think watching back to back makes story arcs and particular themes, especially with individual characters, more noticeable. I watched a lot of Alias when I was working on the first draft of my spy book. I watched that one faithfully and was really annoyed when it was programmed opposite The West Wing, which is another good DVD plunge.

So is Firefly, speaking of Nathan Fillion. It had only one season, but the writing and acting on that show were fabulous. If you do the DVD cycle, you can see why it developed a cult following.

Nancy said...

This new Dark Blue show on TNT looks interesting. Haven't seen an episode yet, though.

Nancy said...

Suz wrote, of NCIS: Wanna-shag-him DeNozzo, . . . always loved Illea Kuriakin Dr. Mallard,

Michael Weatherly, who plays DeNozzo, was the male lead on Dark Angel, another fun DVD dive, though I liked the first season better than the second (Trish probably likes the second, seeing as how Jensen Ackles of Supernatural was a regular--as he was on Smallville for a while).

Speaking of David "Ilya Kuryakin-Donald 'Ducky' Mallard" McCallum--when we were in DC, Gerri and I went to the International Spy Museum, and they had all five seasons of The Man From UNCLE on DVD. I so wanted them, but they were over $50 each, and I was trying to be good. Bought some research books and some material for my class instead, which ran up a nice bill all on their own. (But Christmas is coming! And my wedding anniversary!)

And SFF author Lois McMaster Bujold (who'll be at DragonCon-yay!) says Ilya was the inspiration for her Imperial Security officer Simon Ilyan.

Connections, connections. :-)

Becke Davis said...

Great post! I don't watch much TV. I like the Law & Order franchise, and if I feel like watching something, I usually look for a rerun of one of those. Sometimes I'll watch Criminal Minds, and I do really like Cold Case, too.

I like a lot of British TV shows, though, so my husband and I rent those from Netflix. I've recently discovered a few TV series after renting a season's worth of shows there: Dollhouse, Castle and Friday Night Lights.

Part of the problem is that I don't want to commit to watching a season's worth of shows. Renting them suits me a lot better.

Pat Cochran said...

Among my favorites:
Bones
The Mentalist
NCIS
CSI Miami
Criminal Minds
Numbers
Southland
Hawthorn
Flashpoint (Sob!)

Except for Hawthorn, there seems
to be a pattern here!!

Pat Cochran

Janga said...

I watch very little current TV, but I too am a fan of the DVD marathon. I fell in love with Monk when my sister gave me the first four seasons. I love watching old favorites best. I'm just about to begin season 7 of The West Wing. Designing Women (season 2) and thirtysomething (season one) are next.

Karen Olson said...

The Wire was the best show on TV. Ever. And you're just up to the second season? Wait til Season 3 and 4. Four has to be my favorite.

Right now I'm only watching Top Chef and Project Runway. Although House Hunters is a huge favorite and it's usually on so I end up watching it at some point during the week.

Maria said...

You're too funny. I can't imagine going through all the seasons of The Sopranos in a 'short run'.

And the scene you describe in The Wire where the dialogue consists of one word is rather remarkable.

For my money - Mad Men is the best show on TV right now. I find the 'demise' of a way of life gripping.

Susan Sey said...

Claudia Dain wrote: I watched 7 episodes yesterday and only dragged myself away from the screen because I *had* to do Sunday dinner with the kids. Sigh. The sacrifices I make.


I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel when other people confess that they, too, will watch seven episodes at a pop. We seriously can't help ourselves. The episodes are like snacks. We'll try to watch only two on a Saturday night, but then it's only 11:00 & there's one more left on the disc. And it's not even an hour long! So really, are you supposed to just stop?

I imagine some people do. They just...stop. They're probably the same people who eat three potato chips or a bite of ice cream & say, "Oh, well, that was plenty. I just needed a taste."

I am not one of those people, sad to say.

And now Firefly is on my list of things to gobble up in an unseemly fashion.

TerriOsburn said...

I was raised on television. My mother and my sister are both addicted to the point of needing a 12 step program. I turned my mother's TV off once when she was way in the back of the house, and somehow she knew. She yelled (and I am NOT making this up), "Hey! I was watching that!"

This is why I purposely do not watch the new television shows anymore. I pick and choose one or two, commit to them, then ignore the rest. I know I'm missing some great shows, but I would never write (or leave my house) if I let myself get addicted to something else.

So, I stick with certain reality contest shows. Top Chef, Project Runway, anything with dance, and the occasional design show. That's it. Okay, and Bones and Castle, but THAT'S it.

The good thing about the reality shows is they are usually limited and if you miss it, the networks usually show them a million different times during the week.

But, I do have to say, the DVR is the greatest invention ever.

Susan Sey said...

Kelly Fitzpatrick wrote: Don't hate me because I love Dancing With The Stars and My Life on the D-list.

Our own Joanie T loves her some DWTS, so I would never look sideways at that one.

And I have to admit to a strange fascination with Kathy Griffin. I keep waiting for her to implode or offend the wrong person or at least schedule a cage match with Joan Rivers & get killed. I don't know. But I would like to know when that happens, so if you're already watching D List, do let me know, won't you? :-)

Susan Sey said...

Suz wrote: the if-you-drive-any-slower-we-could-park person who is inevitably in front of me on my way to work

This one made me laugh out loud. Because there ARE people who drive like this. And they must be the first cousins to the people who have no idea how to merge into freeway traffic. Those are the ones who get me. They fly down the entrance ramp and then STOP! They stop & wait there politely while traffic is screaming to a smoking halt behind them & wait politely for somebody to let them into traffic, as if it's possible to go from a standstill to 80 mph.

Hmph.

I don't like those people.

Susan Sey said...

Suz wrote: I Tivo all these so I can watch them on my nights off at 3 am while hubby is asleep!

I keep thinking I want TiVo, but my husband reminds me that if we got TiVo, we'd inevitably want good enough TV to Tivo. Which would mean paying for cable. Which we're not going to do.

So for now, we're stuck with our Blockbuster.com account. But I do envy your TiVo.

Susan Sey said...

Julia Smith wrote: If you want a nice addiction to look forward to, try Spooks (or MI-5). Superb writing and it already has 8 seasons under its belt. My husband and I discovered it last year and did our own version of your Sopranos binge.

You binged the Sopranos, too?? Wasn't it AWESOME???

And thanks for the recommendation. If you loved the Sopranos, you're clearly my kind of viewer. I'll check it out.

Susan Sey said...

Minna wrote:Susan, here's what Bones is all about (and David Boreanaz plays agent Booth =):


Angel? 'Nuff said. :-) Thanks.

Susan Sey said...

Jeanne Ruesch said: Our first experience with the DVD Marathon was "24." It's the ONLY way to watch that show

Ooooh, 24. I'd heard it's addictive. We're waiting for it to go off the air, because we KNOW we're not going to be able to control ourselves. We're going to want to watch the whole thing, start to finish, in one guilty swoop.

Plus, I do love me some Keifer. I know he's a screwed up individual, but as an actor? I love that craggy, oddball face.

Susan Sey said...

Jeannie Ruesch also wrote: Another show I have on DVD that I think is phenomenal and have watched at least 3 or 4 times from beginning to end is Gilmore Girls.

I've heard the writing is stellar on this show. I'm going to have to try harder to sell my husband on it. He indulges me with the occasional girlie show but I might have to work harder to convince him to watch several hours in a row of it. I'll work on it, though.

Susan Sey said...

MsHellion wrote: Grey's Anatomy (because I'm a lemming)

I've seen an episode or two of this, & I just can't get into it. Is it something I need to start with at the beginning? People rave about this show & I'd love to love it. Maybe I should try again.

Susan Sey said...

Lynz Pickles wrote: I didn't let myself stop after watching it and it gets a lot better.

I do this with books sometimes. I'm not enjoying it the way I want to but something's there. Something that makes me stick with it. I'm usually glad I did.

Susan Sey said...

Nancy wrote: I think watching back to back makes story arcs and particular themes, especially with individual characters, more noticeable.

Exactly! This is such a pleasure for the geek in me, so cram like four hours of television into one long night just for the pleasure of watching a character develop before my eyes. Or watching an actor take a throwaway role & dig in to the point that he gets to come back when the writers didn't anticipate it. I'd heard that Ben from Lost was like that. He was supposed to have a three episode arc. Six seasons later, here he is, running the show.

That's quality TV right there.

Susan Sey said...

Nancy wrote, in reference to DVDs she really wants but are too expensive: (But Christmas is coming! And my wedding anniversary!)

My husband never wonders what to get me for any gift-giving occasion, either. I always have a list of things I want that I won't buy for myself, and books & DVDs are always on the list.

Susan Sey said...

Becke Davis wrote: I've recently discovered a few TV series after renting a season's worth of shows there: Dollhouse, Castle and Friday Night Lights.


I've heard GREAT things about Friday Night Lights. Maybe it was the three years I spent in small town Texas after college but something about the writing really grabbed me. My husband has no interest in this show so I might have to hijack the Blockbuster.com list...

Susan Sey said...

Pat Cochran wrote: Among my favorites:
Bones
The Mentalist
NCIS
CSI Miami
Criminal Minds
Numbers
Southland
Hawthorn
Flashpoint (Sob!)


Oh, Pat, I've been sooooo intrigued by Southland. What's it like?? I love that Benjamin MacKenzie kid. (Remember him from Junebug, that little indie movie where we all discovered Amy Adams? Good movie.) Not quite handsome but really compelling. I'd love to see him in something great.

Susan Sey said...

Janga wrote: I fell in love with Monk when my sister gave me the first four seasons.

Oh, Monk. I've been dying to watch that one, too. A friend of mine with a similar addiction has been recommending it for years. I love that actor, Tony somebody? I remember him from Wings...and that just totally dated me, didn't it? :-)

Susan Sey said...

Karen Olson wrote: The Wire was the best show on TV. Ever. And you're just up to the second season? Wait til Season 3 and 4. Four has to be my favorite.

I've heard that Season 4 is the absolute best. I'm chewing my nails off waiting for it!

Susan Sey said...

Maria wrote: And the scene you describe in The Wire where the dialogue consists of one word is rather remarkable.

It absolutely was. The language in this show is foul, & yet once the shock of it wears off, I found it was kind of a verbal shorthand. And that scene where they didn't say anything else proved it. They said everything while saying nothing. Or at least the same thing. It was pretty cool.

Maria also wrote: For my money - Mad Men is the best show on TV right now. I find the 'demise' of a way of life gripping.

I'm going to have to find a way to watch this show. Too many people whose opinions I trust have said ti's a must watch. Plus, Jon Hamm isn't that bad to look at, you know? :-)

Susan Sey said...

Terri Osburne wrote: I turned my mother's TV off once when she was way in the back of the house, and somehow she knew. She yelled (and I am NOT making this up), "Hey! I was watching that!"


LOL. Yeah, my folks are like that, too. I once turned the TV off on my dad when he was snoring loud enough to shake the rafters. He immediately woke up & demanded I leave his televised golf alone.

There you have it.

Minna said...

It's nice to know what we'll be watching here in Finland at some point! But for some reason there has been barely any science fiction series, except for Torchwood and Doctor Who. Super heroes and paranormal stuff yes, but no science fiction. I sort of miss Babylon 5. By the way, Starwreck, the movie you can download legally for free is parody of Babylon 5 and Star Treck.

Minna said...

Some other shows I've liked:
Last of the Summer Wine
Komissar Rex
Midsommer Murders
Yes, Minister -they are running that one once again.
Wycliffe
My Hero
My Family
Little Mosque on the Prarie
Lonely Planet -or Globe Trekker or whatever they call that series these days
Golden Girls

Becke Davis said...

Susan - I had the opportunity to meet Suzanne Brockmann at National, prior to her visit to Center Stage at B&N. We got on the subject of television, She said Friday Night Lights was her favorite show and urged me to check it out. With a recommendation like that, how could I not? Plus, I've liked Kyle Chandler since he starred in a series called Homefront years ago.

Jane said...

The guy in "The Mentalist" was in "The Devil Wears Prada." I first noticed Simon Baker when he had a bit role in "L.A. Confidential."

Janga said...

Becke, Friday Night Lights is a must-see for my football mad family. Add to the football the fact that Kyle Chandler is a Georgia boy and the only thing on TV that outranks FNL is a real football game.

Susan Sey said...

Minna wrote: But for some reason there has been barely any science fiction series, except for Torchwood and Doctor Who. Super heroes and paranormal stuff yes, but no science fiction.

Huh. That's weird. But you never know what might make the leap! Good TV is good TV!

Susan Sey said...

P.S.--hey Minna, I chuckled to see The Golden Girls at the end of a list on which I hadn't recognized a single show. I loved the Golden Girls & was so terribly sad when Bea Arthur passed away. She was my favorite.

Susan Sey said...

Becke wrote: I had the opportunity to meet Suzanne Brockmann at National, prior to her visit to Center Stage at B&N. We got on the subject of television, She said Friday Night Lights was her favorite show and urged me to check it out. With a recommendation like that, how could I not?

Wise woman. You don't mess with Suzanne Brockmann. Seems like that's a woman who knows good writing when she sees it. Plus she has a theatre background, doesn't she? Yep. I can see that there'll be from FNL in my future.

MJFredrick said...

HOW could I forget Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls and my current addiction, Battlestar Galactica? I own all seasons of all. Oh, and Veronica Mars, too.

Yes, Trish and I blog together on the Supernatural Sisters blog. Too much fun analyzing our favorite show!

Susan Sey said...

Jane said: The guy in "The Mentalist" was in "The Devil Wears Prada." I first noticed Simon Baker when he had a bit role in "L.A. Confidential."

Aha! I love it when I make the connection! Now I'm going to have to check out L A Confidential again. Not that it'll be a hardship or anything. That was a great movie.

Susan Sey said...

Janga wrote: Add to the football the fact that Kyle Chandler is a Georgia boy and the only thing on TV that outranks FNL is a real football game.

Maybe this is how I'll pitch it to my husband. (He's been the one dragging his feet on FNL.) Maybe I'll stress the football angle. Hmmm....

Susan Sey said...

MJFrederick wrote: Yes, Trish and I blog together on the Supernatural Sisters blog. Too much fun analyzing our favorite show!

I have to get to that blog. I clearly love TV too much to miss it. :-)

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Susan,

As far as I am concerned he is the show! This is a series that both
my scriptwriting son and I both
enjoy! We don't always meet when
it comes to films! LOL.

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Susan, I totally forgot Boston Legal! The whole series is on DVD now, and we love it. I wasn't in love with the last episode so much, but the series rocks.

Joan said...

You don't have cable?!!

*thunk*

Oh, sorry....I can't imagine it...

I don't care for many of the "new" TV shows. I like Castle well enough...but only because of Nathan.

I used to watch more Law and Order but it isn't the same without Jerry Orbach.

I actually kind of liked My Name is Earl, but they've axed it. And it lasted only one season, but last year "Life" was a really funky cop show with an underlying mystery in it that...NEVER GOT FULLY SOLVED!!!!

And yes, oh yes. Picture this:

Sept 21st, the premiere of DWTS!!!!!! {cue rhumba music}

Nancy said...

Ack! Joan! Thank you. I forgot Castle was on! Heading out to watch what's left of it--

Susan Sey said...

Nancy wrote: Susan, I totally forgot Boston Legal! The whole series is on DVD now, and we love it.

My mom & dad love this show & have been after me for ages to watch it. I'm going to have to get on that one. Plus, I'm a huge James Spader fan. It all started with Pretty In Pink, & hit a high note with Secretary. Looks like I'm going to have to put Boston Legal on my list!

Susan Sey said...

Joan wrote: You don't have cable?!!

*thunk*



Oh dear. I've shocked you. :-)

I shouldn't say I don't have cable. I have a cable MODEM. That's the important thing--high speed internet. But the only cable TV I have is what comes automatically packaged with the modem. So I get Bravo, but not much else. But I'm okay. I have my blockbuster.com membership & anything that really needs watching soon than the DVD, I can usually stream on the internet. That's how I watched most of Lost last season.

Susan Sey said...

Joan wrote: but last year "Life" was a really funky cop show with an underlying mystery in it that...NEVER GOT FULLY SOLVED!!!!


Was this the show where the cop is cleared & gets out of jail? Where the lead role was played by the red-haired guy who played Winters on Band of Brothers? Because I loved him.

Or is LIFE the show where the cop goes back to the seventies somehow? Because I really liked that one, too. Hmmm. I'm going to have to sort this out. Maybe I'll look into it while you rhumba. :-)

Joan said...

LOL, Susan...

LIFE was the one where the cop spent years in prison for murders he did not committ...and yeah...the red haird guy...

He played "just a tetch crazy" just right....

As to LOST...I "lost" interest after the second season...then found it again...then got LOST watching it.....

Lynz Pickles said...

As to LOST...I "lost" interest after the second season...then found it again...then got LOST watching it.....

That's so punny, Joan! *groan* I just made it worse, didn't I?