When I started this blog series, I thought about naming it something to do with books. The reason I didn't was that I knew I'd eventually want to talk about other stories like the ones on TV and in movies. Well, today is the first day of some TV talk! Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook that they were just watching Lost for the first time and it brought back all these memories for me of getting together with my friends every Wednesday night to watch this show, agonize over the clues, argue over the characters, and ending every episode with "NOOOOO" at the credits. I love TV shows. They have the power to pull you in and develop characters the way books do, the way movies rarely can. They have the luxury of time.
If you've ever read one of these storytime posts before, then you know I'm a sucker for interesting characters. The same goes for TV shows, so here are a taste of some of my favorites.
These are in no particular order. It would be too painful to do and you're not going to make me!
It just has to be all capitalized. It's LOST for crying out loud. It deserves some respect. And I already mentioned it, so we might as well start there. The characters are amazingly complex and just when you think you understand someone, they delve a little deeper into their past, and that completely changes. This show is such a study of human nature. Even if they didn't introduce the supernatural elements (which I normally hate in stories, but LOST pulls it off with realistic character reactions), crashing onto a deserted island would be just the kind of trauma that shows you who people really are. As the show goes on you learn that these aren't really the typical people you thought they were and the questions start to widen and become a whole lot bigger than "why is Sawyer so sarcastic all the time?" and "why is there a polar bear on this little island?" Every episode was a cliffhanger. People who watched it in real time, you get me. These Netflix kids just do not understand our agony.
Favorite character: EXTREMELY HARD TO CHOOSE. This show. So many amazing characters. I will say Sawyer because I just loved every scene he was ever in. He was such a rich, complicated character and I'm a sucker for any guy who reacts to his plane crashing by chilling on the beach, reading a classic novel, and making sarcastic comments while other people bicker about island politics. Close runner ups are Locke, Sayid, and Desmond. Unfortunately the girls on this show are not nearly as compelling as the guys. -1 point, Lost. You see what I did with your capital letters there?
Sidenote: The Sawyer obsession ran deep in college and my roommate and I printed a life size version of Sawyer to tape to our wall. Other roommate, and lone Jack supporter, clandestinely stripped Sawyer off the wall in revenge. It was really funny. Hi, Randi :)
I hate medical shows. Just as a general rule, I've never found "dying patient" to be a particularly moving or unique plot device. I think it's tricky to do a medical show right. Shows either wind up overdramatizing it and making you wonder why this hospital always has a lunatic with a gun in it and why every doctor is sleeping with everyone else on staff (gee what show am I referring to?) or underplaying the seriousness of the medical field with something like Scrubs (which does it just ridiculously enough to work). House is not a show about medicine. It is a show about House. This crazy doctor obsessed with solving puzzles. And what is a greater puzzle than disease? There are so many ethical issues to deal with when it comes to House. He's brilliant but he is a complete liability. He's funny and highly observant and it's just hard for anyone else to deal with the guy who always has to be right. Add in his completely logical (it doesn't pop out of nowhere) addiction to pain medicine, we get to really see a lot of sides to this fascinating, tormented person. House acts like a cocky bastard, but most of the time you just have to feel terribly sorry for him. Huge acting credit to Hugh Laurie because House can't be an easy character to portray.
Favorite character: Ha, um, duh?
3. Game of Thrones
I'm putting this on here mostly because it's different from my typical favorite shows. It's definitely more of a plot-driven story. It frekin has to be when you're willing to kill anyone at any time. I honestly find the plot overwhelming at times and when I tried to read the books, it felt tedious and overcomplicated. And as a general rule, I don't care for Sci Fi/fantasy stuff. Game of Thrones shouldn't really be my kind of thing. But as usual, I found a few characters to adore and as long as Daenerys, Arya, and Tyrion are around, I'm good. The story is good and the show moves more quickly than the books which is nice. And it's also easier to keep the characters straight when you have a real face and setting for all of them. It's terrifying to watch a show that actually kills its characters constantly. It adds a tenseness that I've never experienced in any other show except maybe Dexter.
Favorite character: Daenerys. Or maybe her dragons. Either way, Team Dragon forever.
Love it. Awesome characters, awesome plot, and as with most great things, is based on a book. Dexter is a serial killer whose dad (a cop who took pity on this mentally disturbed orphan) taught him to only kill people based on a certain code of requirements. His dad thought it would help keep Dexter in check and keep him from getting into too much trouble. But as murdering often goes, Dexter does get into a bit of trouble. Luckily he is the go to forensic guy for the Miami Metro and thus, a professional at covering his tracks. However, all this is complicated by his social awkwardness and his sister who works for the police department. It's a really great mix of unique storyline, great characters, and amazing acting.
Also, best show opener ever.
Favorite character: Dexter of course. He even manages to pull off the voiceover without it being cheesy or annoying. Deb runs a close second. All series long, "poor Deb." But she's Deb. She can take it.
5. Breaking Bad
This is a new one! I just started watching Breaking Bad a month or two ago and I'm already almost finished. This is one of those rare shows that has sucked me AND Erik in. Walt is an incredible character and he is so oddly relatable for someone who winds up being a bad guy! I think that's what is so cool about this show. Middle-aged high school teacher, diagnosed with cancer realizes he's been living his life for other people and decides he wants to live it for himself. It's a great concept. And the nice thing is that they never SAY that. They don't SAY a lot of things. They leave it to you to grasp and interpret why he does what he does. I love shows that assume I have a brain and can figure it out. I remember one scene where Skyler (Walt's wife) is stepping from the bathroom tile to the bathroom rug and back again and you just watch her face while she does it. They never say why she is doing it. They expect you to figure it out. I explained that scene to Erik and he said "oohhh subtext. Nice." Haha we're ridiculous when we watch that show. But it always gives us something to talk about while we're doing the dishes.
Favorite character: Walt. Has to be. And I'm tired of picking main characters. It feels cliche. But I can't help it. They're usually the main character for a reason. I also really like Mike. He's awesome :)
I think I will stop there. These are the kind of shows that get into me and I think about them when I'm showering, usually writing new scenes for them in my head. I can't help it. But not all the shows I like are dark and depressing. I'll save those for a future blog post. It'll be great. For now, leave me a comment with any show recommendations you have for me! I love a good new show :)