Showing posts with label American television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American television. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday (Jillian)

There have been quite a few little news tidbits in the writing world-at-large in the last week, and I thought I'd compile them here for a Whimsical Wednesday.  Ready? 

  • Today, Stephen King announced that he is penning a sequel to The Shining, his third novel, to be published next year, entitled Doctor Sleep.  It follows Danny Torrance, who was a young boy in The Shining, and whose father succumbed to evil spirits that inhabited a winter hotel.  This was made into a film starring Jack Nicholson, generally thought to be one of the scariest films ever.  I've seen parts.  I was properly freaked out.  I am just amazed at Mr. King's work ethic, this drive to create.  If you're a King fan and want to know more, here is his website:
  • Last week, we heard from Mandy Patinkin (read article here) about why he left the violent television show Criminal Minds several years ago.  He says his role as a criminal profiler was "very destructive to my soul and personality," and Criminal Minds was not the show he thought it would be.  He has made a very good point about the sort of destruction that we take for granted on television these days. 
  • For history buffs, you may be following the news that the grave of Richard III was found in Leicester, Great Britain, at a site underneath a car park (parking lot) where the Grey Friars church was believed to have stood.  Richard III had a short, tempestuous reign and was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.  His body was paraded through the town by the victorious Tudors and buried at the church, which was later lost in obscurity.  The skeleton in question appears to have signs of scoliosis - perhaps resembling the hunchback of Shakespeare's play (though not quite), and an arrowhead through the neck.  DNA testing will commence to see if he is in fact the lost king.  If he is, he may be entitled to a state funeral, five-hundred twenty-seven years after his death.  The Telegraph as all the intrigue
  • The trailer for The Hobbit was released today.  The Telegraph has the trailer embedded here.  I am excited to see these beloved stories come to life once again, and see Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Benedict Cumberbatch among familiar faces... although the latter, also known as Sherlock Holmes (Freeman being Watson), may not be particularly recognizable.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Arguing (pleasantly) with the Prince of Wales (Jillian)

This week marks the premier of the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Naturally, there has been quite the buzz about it, as Harry has been in our literary world for years now and some of us were lucky enough to have grown up with him. I, like so many others, read the final novel in two days and cried for Dobby and so many others. Harry Potter is not exactly classic, and is flawed in certain ways - not entirely a perfect read, but honestly, what is? The magic of Harry was that he got so many young (and old) ones to read and enjoy reading.

Which brings me to commentary this week. Charles, the Prince of Wales, remarked this week that the end of Harry Potter is completely awful for all of those young readers. Now, I don't really think that this was a negative comment, but I want to argue a bit with him. Yes, it is sad that the series is ended, and that there are no more books to gobble up. But that has been the case for a number of years. With the end of the series comes an opportunity to move on to something new... to find pleasure reading something as equally exciting that takes one in new directions. Harry has grown up. I think that means we readers can, too. Not that we should let go of him and never look back, but appreciate what we've learned from him by enriching our experiences with other stories.

The end of a series is actually another beginning. And that in itself is a scintillating experience. So no, your Highness. The end of Harry is not an "awful" thing.


This is similar to my case for why American television stinks. If you've heard me yammer from this soap box, please ignore me. I'll keep it brief. '

We Americans enjoy procedural: crime dramas and who-dunnits that are built around a recurring, near-permanent cast. Not all of them are bad. But they follow a very irritating pattern. Once a show catches fire and popularity, the general consensus is that they remain on the air indefinitely - as cash cows. But because so many of these shows are not character-concetric, the longer they last on air, the staler they get. Oh, yes, the characters grow, but by committee and network discretion... not from the writers' instincts.

Again, not all shows are like this. But shows are stories at heart, and they are organic. Therefore, trying to keep them around does not guarantee they will resonate the same way. Take The Office, which began to lose its witty energy two years ago, but is still on the air. And House, which, in my opinion, has become boring.

This has come to mind after watching the British (note that: BRITISH) show Life on Mars. It lasted two seasons and about 15 episodes. Because it closely, evenly, carefully follows the story of the principal character Sam Tyler as he struggles to find out why and how he woke up as a detective inspector in 1973, the story ends the way it's supposed to. (I won't spoil anything for you.) Yes, it's a "crime drama", but that is merely the backdrop for a very human experience. The fact that the writers who created Life on Mars ended it of their own accord is brilliant to me. They listened to the story - not to plaintive whining of greedy executives or rabid fans - and that is remarkable in this age.

Follow the story. If the story ends, find another one. There are plenty lying in wait!


to a blog by three people who write, for anyone else who wants to write. It's a cruel world for creators, and here we promise support, whimsy, and curiosity that will hopefully keep your pen moving and keyboard tapping!

To read more about why Daedalus Notes exists, click