Posts Tagged ‘TV Shows’

1fun
noun \ˈfən\

: someone or something that is amusing or enjoyable : an enjoyable experience or person

: an enjoyable or amusing time

: the feeling of being amused or entertained

I should preface this blog post by saying two of the other girls and I had a fantastic discussion on Book Hype yesterday about the merit of Young Adult fiction. The episode won’t be out until tomorrow, but be sure to check my Facebook page or the Book Hype Twitter for the link when it goes live.

Although I would like to hear what you have to say about the topic, that’s not what I’m writing about today. I wanted to mention Book Hype because we often have great discussions about a variety of topics that don’t have easy solutions. Talking about matters complexly is something that I love to do, and it’s something that I devote a lot of time doing on behalf of Hypable.

But what about having fun? Have we forgotten about that? If so, I suggest you reread the definition again.

Like I said, I have no problem with really digging in deep when it comes to having an intellectual conversation. That’s something that I think needs to be done. But what about just enjoying a story for the sake of it being a good story?

This has really been brought to my attention lately with the recent 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, along with conversations taking place about Catching Fire and Teen Wolf, among many, many other things. Fans of these stories seem to be getting more and more critical. They’re forgetting that the main focus of the story is to entertain. Where has the fun gone?

I’m not saying that all stories are meant to be fun. Many of the themes in the Hungers Games trilogy certainly aren’t. But what happened to soaking in the words of a good book or TV show or movie? Why do we have to cut down the authors and writers and directors for some of the smallest details?

Even when those details aren’t so small, why do we have to overthink their meaning and make judgments on those people as human beings? Is that fair? I don’t think it is.

A lot of it harkens back to the fact that we as a species just love to complain. We’re never satisfied. We always want more. That’s great to an extent, but why should there be so much hatred toward your favorite stories? If you spend more time complaining about them than enjoying them, I think you’re doing it wrong.

While I think everything should have an underlying meaning that can spark conversation and action, I also think we can’t forget about how fun a good book or a good television show or a good movie can be.

What do you think?

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Here’s the next post in this series where I discuss TV shows and movies and the knowledge that we can gain from watching them. We can apply that knowledge to our writing. As always, I never pretend to be an expert. I just like exploring my own thoughts on the matter as I write these blog posts! I welcome all comments and would love to hear what you think about this topic.

Make sure you check out my previous post, titled, “How to be strong and go to prom, with Allison Argent.”

Warning: Spoilers for the show Numb3rs up until the season 3 finale! Also note that I haven’t watched any episode of season 4 or beyond, so if you know more about his possible arc (or lack thereof), please don’t reveal any spoilers!

I just finished the season 3 finale of Numb3rs and was completely blind-sided.

Colby Granger Numb3rsWhat do you mean Colby was a spy for the Chinese? What do you mean he’s been duping everyone for TWO years? What do you mean he’s been in cahoots with Dwayne Carter THE WHOLE TIME.

Yeah, I never saw that coming until it literally unfolded before me.

But why? And how can we incorporate this into our own writing?

First, it’s all about the character. Colby was a good ol’ American boy. He was in the army. He was a rookie FBI agent. He was a good guy. He did his job well, he was funny, and he got along with the team. He was a team player, he got stuff done, and he looked out for his friends – particularly his partner, David.

Next, you introduce just a subtle hint that something is kind of fishy. But make sure it’s not enough that your audience KNOWS what’s going on. Maybe it raises a few eyebrows, but by the end of the episode/movie/chapter/book/etc., your audience still sides with the character and believes him to be a good guy. This happened to Colby when one of his best friends turned out to be a Chinese spy. Don [Eppes, leader of the FBI unit] didn’t like the way Colby had covered for his friend, and still didn’t trust him after Colby had basically turned his friend over to the authorities.

Then you make it seem like everything is okay. The writers of Numb3rs let a few episodes go by before they brought it up again. Everything seemed fine. There’d be a hint of what had happened here or there, but nothing obvious. Nothing in your face.

Finally, blow the lid off the whole can of a worms. In the season 3 finale, Megan [Reeves, behavioral specialist] kept asking what was wrong with Colby. He played it off. Gave some good excuses. I believed him. Then, at the last minute, the bomb dropped. The Janus List was discovered, revealing the names of multiple spies. And guess which name was last on that list?

Colby Granger.

WHAT? Yeah, I was floored. Looking back, it does make a bit of sense. He did cover for his friend. Dwayne did say that he knew things about Colby that David didn’t. Colby was acting nervous and agitated near the end of the episode. I thought Don was just overreacting whenever he wouldn’t let Colby go out on a lead by himself. But it turns out I was wrong.

Or was I?

The jury is still out. I’m not totally on board with the idea that he’s a Chinese spy. We weren’t given a solid reason as to why, and it’s possible there’s way more going on than anyone realizes. I guess I’ll just have to get watching season 4 and let you guys know if if anything changes. 😉

The point, however, does stand. The best way to shock your audience is be subtle. Don’t let them get to the point where they’ve figured everything out before you can reveal it to them. Doctor Who and Sherlock are really good at this. Then, once you get to the the climax,  at the last possible moment, rip the lid off of everything and throw caution to the wind. Don’t just give them some fireworks. Give them the Fourth of July Grand Finale Special.

Your readers will walk away breathless and wanting more.

What show or book have you watched/read that has really blown your mind? Have you ever gotten to the end of watching or reading something and felt like you had to go back and look for all the clues you missed the first time around?

Here’s the next post in this series where I discuss TV shows and movies and the knowledge that we can gain from watching them. We can apply that knowledge to our writing. As always, I never pretend to be an expert. I just like exploring my own thoughts on the matter as I write these blog posts! I welcome all comments and would love to hear what you think about this topic.

Make sure you check out my previous post, titled, “How to write a dynamic character arc, with Caroline Forbes.”

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve written anything in this series, but it’s always been one of the more popular ones, and I figured I should probably get back into it! Not only is it fun to discuss our favorite characters and see how their stories can relate to our own writing, but I really just have a good time talking about them in general.

Especially Damon Salvatore.

See, I figured something else out. You guys like it when I talk about Damon. He is consistently (I may as well just use the world “always” here) the top search term people use to find my blog. The previous post I wrote about him (“How to write about guilt, with Damon Salvatore”) was the first post in this series, and still gets hits each and every day.

And, hey. Who am I to argue with statistics?

Besides. Just look at him.

Damon Salvatore TVD

Damon is, of course, one half of the Salvatore brothers on The Vampire Diaries. When we first meet him, Damon is not a good guy. He kills people without remorse. He revels in the fact that he’s a vampire. He manipulates people. And he does everything he can to steal Elena away from Stephan, just to get one up on him.

But here’s the thing. Damon slowly becomes a good guy. We’re into the fourth season now, and he’s still not quite there. Sure, he’s loads better than he was back in season 1, but he still messes up. He still goes out of his way to annoy people. He still tries to take Elena away from Stefan. Except now he’s not doing it to get one up on his brother. Now he’s doing it because he loves Elena.

Now he cares about her.

And that’s the key. You can turn any bad character into a good character by giving them something to care about. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done in their past, as long as they’re willing to change and as long as they feel remorse. For Damon, the catalyst to his change was Elena.

It happened subtly. You saw him stop trying to manipulate her. You saw him (mostly) stop killing people. You saw him do things or not do things because he knew what she would say if she knew what he was up to. You saw him start actively being a better person, because he knew it was what she wanted (even if she didn’t know it yet herself!).

And in our writing, these subtleties must also be present. Girls love the bad boy, and I’ve read plenty of books with an MC like this. But the change can’t happen all at once. For most of these tragic, damaged characters, they’ve been living their lives like this for years. Most likely since they were kids.

I’m sorry, but no girl is going to make a guy drop his personality and change at a moment’s notice just because he has feelings for her. He’s going to screw up. And he’s going to keep screwing up. And he’s going to screw up again, until he figures out that he actually wants to change because it’s not only the best for the person he’s in love with, but also for himself.

It’s a beautiful story arc for any character – guy or girl. Damon is a perfect example of it because he’s still not all the way there. He’s not Stefan, not someone who automatically thinks of others and tries to do the best thing for everyone just because it happens to be the best thing for everyone. Damon isn’t as selfish as he once was, but he often doesn’t care what happens to a majority of the other characters, so long as Elena is okay.

He’s flawed, but he’s allowed to be. He should be. You don’t go from being a merciless vampire who doesn’t respect pretty much any human life to a fuzzy bunny of a vampire overnight. Life doesn’t work that way, and art is an imitation of life. We must reflect the flawed, complex, contradictory nature of humans (or vampires!) in our writing in order for it to be realistic.

Is your MC a bad guy (or girl) gone good? How did you pull it off? Do you like the new Damon, or did you like him better in season 1?

An Ode to ‘Terra Nova’

Posted: September 24, 2012 in TV Shows
Tags: , ,

If you aren’t familiar with it, Terra Nova was a short lived show that aired last year on Fox. It initially took place in the year 2149 and followed the Shannon family – Jim, Elisabeth, Zoe, Josh, and Maddy – as they travelled back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Yeah, I know how that sounds. But it was actually a pretty interesting concept. You see, the Earth was incredibly polluted and some people were given the chance to travel back in time in order to start again. This was the “terra nova” – the new Earth. Sure, they had dinosaurs to deal with, but they also had fresh air, lots of food, and plenty of space to live. With the right precautions, these people could start a new life.

The first season aired with 12 episodes before it was cut short. Did it deserve it? Probably. I’m sure it was an expensive show to shoot, with all the CGI dinosaurs and whatnot. A lot of critics called it out for having boring characters and cheesy dialogue.

I honestly didn’t notice. For me, the dinosaurs were incredible. No expense was spared in that department, or with the sets. I thought all of the acting was great, and I felt connected to most of the characters – even some of the shady ones, which is always a good thing. (And at least the actor of one of my favorite characters is showing up on Glee this year!) The plot kept me guessing, and there were some great themes and morals to be learned by the end of the season finale.

So, is this another Firefly on our hands? I wouldn’t quite go that far. I don’t think it had the same appeal, and I don’t think it’ll have the same cult following in a few years either. But it had promise that was cut short, and at least that connection can’t be denied.

I wish Terra Nova hadn’t been cancelled. After the initial plotline for the first season, there were a number of directions the show could have gone in. It was part dystopian future and part science-fiction. You had outside dangers (the dinosaurs, the jungles) and inside dangers (the people who lived there). With the future connected to this past time, any sort of danger could slip through and cause havoc.

But, alas, the show is over and done with now. You can catch it on Netflix if you’re interested. I recommend it, and the season finale didn’t leave you with too much of a cliff hanger so you won’t feel unsatisfied with the ending.

So, without Terra Nova, I’ve chosen another show to take its place. Revolution. It’s also set in a dystopian future and is labeled as science-fiction as well. This follows another family, but they don’t go back in time. Instead, they live in a future where technology doesn’t function and the world is ruled by militias and warlords. It’s an all-too plausible future, and I always enjoy shows like that. There are no dinosaurs, but I suppose – in this particular world – that’s probably a good thing.

Revolution comes on NBC at 10 PM on Mondays. Will you be watching?