TV: End of Season Grief

As hubby and I work our way towards the end of yet another much loved television series (at least, the most current season that is available,) I have that familiar feeling, a sort of sadness and disappointment that’s a little like grief.

I know, it sounds silly.  But after a whirlwind journey through the extremely entertaining British comedy-drama, Misfits, I have been mulling over the effect our entertainment can have on us.  If you’ve ever read a really engaging book, (or even better, a series like The Dark Tower novels or Harry Potter), you are likely aware of how you can become transported to another world, and how you can become attached to and love the characters with whom you’ve spent so much time.  I think our television can have a similar effect on us as a good novel.

The original cast of Misfits-- "Kelly, Simon, Alisha, Curtis, and Nathan"

The original cast of Misfits– “Kelly, Simon, Alisha, Curtis, and Nathan”

So, as we began season (series) 4 of Being Human, amidst some seemingly very rapid (and unceremonious) cast changes, I mentioned to my husband the fact that how we view our favorite television programs can actually affect the way they affect us.  

When you watch a particular show on a service like Netflix or Hulu, you can become immersed very quickly.  There is an instant gratification sort of effect.  You don’t have to wait a week for the next episode.  There’s not anxious anticipation, rather a desire to bull through and watch as much as you can (if you’re really into the show.)  If you’re like hubs and I, you’ll watch three or four episodes a night.  You reach the end of a season or series fairly quickly. Consequently, twists in the plot, changes to the cast, and deaths of main characters often seem very abrupt and are a bit of a shock to the system.

Conversely, if you watch a series as it airs on television, obviously it’s going to feel like you spent even longer with the characters…however, if you’re like me, and you get behind on a series, or even just waiting until next week’s episode, sometimes the sense of urgency you feel to see the next episode kinda of gets muted with time. (I went through this when we went without cable for a while; at first I thought I’d just about die if I didn’t see the next episode of True Blood, but after a while I was just like, Meh.)

Still, I think I prefer to be able to watch a series consecutively (thank you, Hulu!)  In addition to having my instant gratification, I never have to wonder “what’s on TV tonight?”  There are less commercials, you can pause for snack or a bathroom break, and rewind when your kid’s screaming (or you have to yell at them for pulling the cat’s tail) and you’ve missed a bit.

funny-pictures-baby-will-pull-cat-tail1

What is your favorite way to watch your favorite shows?  Do you think the way you view your programs effects how they impact you?

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DP: The Man in Black Fled Across the Desert…

 "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Maybe it’s no “Call me Ishmael,” but the above sentence starts the beginning of an epic journey (for once, the term “epic,” applied appropriately, and not uttered from the mouth of an emo teenage dirtbag,) the tale of Roland of Deschain’s journey towards the Dark Tower.

I wouldn’t say the aptly named first book/novella, The Gunslinger, was my favorite of the seven (now eightDark Tower series.  In fact, I have a hard time separating the novels in my mind, let alone choosing a favorite.  This series transported me in the way any good novel should, but through the series, I also developed a deep attachment to most of the characters, including the non-human ones (Oy! Oy!)

Oy the billybumbler

Oy the billybumbler

As an added bonus, King’s magnum opus included both oblique and more obvious references to at least a dozen of his other former novels, such as The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon, as well as some of his short stories (Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual.)  Some of the references are small, almost name drops, while others manage to reintroduce interesting characters from previous novels.  You get answers to questions, and back-story to characters and events that you never knew existed.  While the length of the series may seem daunting at first, by the last page you’re mourning the end of the story and wishing there was more.   A story that effects you emotionally and whose characters you come to love  is not as common as you might think, but that is what the Dark Tower series represents for me, everything that is good about reading!

Doing the Dark Tower Right: Who Plays the Gunslinger?

As much a fan as I am of Stephen King’s epic series, The Dark Tower, I really, really hope they don’t make a movie/movies out of it.  Actually, I think it’s because I’m such a King/Dark Tower fan, that I don’t want them to make a movie out of it.  Two main reasons come to the forefront of my mind.

Firstly, Hollywood has managed to fuck up just about every Stephen King story that has every been adapted to film, even when King is involved in the adaptation.   Whether by substandard direction, low budget, or ridiculous special effects/monsters, they always manage to render King’s creations sort of…ridiculous.  They turn the scary silly, the morbid mundane.  In fact, the only adaptations of King’s stories that I can think of off the top of my head that were successful in any way were not initially billed in connection with King.  Like Stanley Kubrick‘s adaptation of The Shining, and more recently the film adaptation of The Green Mile, it was as if Hollywood feared limiting the scope of their viewers by associating it with the horror novel master’s name.

“Don’t you DARE make a Dark Tower movie! Just don’t. Fucking. Do it.”

And the second reason I really hope they don’t make a movie out of DT, equally if not more important than the first reason, is the fact that Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is his magnum opus.  THE magnum opus.  Now with the addition of The Wind Through the Keyhole, a volume written to fit chronologically between the fourth and fifth volumes in the sequence, the series totals eight books and encompasses elements of and references from over two dozen of his previous novels and short stories.  The epic novel-turned-film The Standfor instance, is heavily linked by common characters and themes.  Some ideas that may not even been previously apparent in the novel, such as the existence of many parallel strands of existence, have nonetheless have always existed for King somewhere in the reaches of his mind.

Other stories appear in The Dark Tower series as only mild references to characters or ideas from previous stories, so small the reader may not even remember them.

The point of which is basically that unless someone had the time, budget, knowledge, and skill to produce a whole season’s worth of one to two-hour episodes, it would be nearly impossible to do this series justice.  And you’d likely end up with a host of pissed off King fans.  Like me.

But… for the sake of argument, if they were  to make a film adaptation of DT, who would be worthy to play the iconic “spaghetti western” anti-hero, Roland of Gilead?  Unfortunately, Clint Eastwood is too old for the role (anyone else notice Roland’s startling resemblance to Mr. Eastwood as depicted on the dust jacket of the final (chronologically speaking) novel of the series?

“I’m the stunt double…”

Anyway, so I came up with three possibilities for the lead role.

Number 3: Karl Urban- He’s got that ruggedly handsome thing down pretty good.  Strap a gunbelt to him and he’s good to go.

Karl Urban

I’m kinda undecided on my second and first choice in that I like them both.  They’re both ruggedly sexy, good actors, and I could envision either of them as the acerbic and hardboiled Roland of Deschain.  The only drawback to any of these three men is that they are in fact well known actors, and may be considered by some as type-cast or locked into certain roles, which may be a hindrance rather than an asset to a film adaptation of DT.  But I’ll let you decide.

Number 2-  Hugh Jackman- Imagine the Wolverine attitude with…a cowboy hat.  He’s buff, tough, and he definitely has the right “air” about him.

“Snickety-snick! My guns are made of adamantium.”

Number 1- Timothy Olyphant-

Comes with his own hat and boots.

Also, as a runner up, especially if you want a little less of a polished, classically handsome choice, I would suggest Michael C. Hall.  He’s proven himself a versatile actor and he has a face that is pleasant but not as generic as the standard “Marlboro Man.”

Why can’t a writer WRITE???

A (writer) friend of mine recently posted an entry in his blog asserting that “writers are lying bags of cat puke” when they claim writing is hard.  I had to respectfully beg to differ. I have been trying to write largely without success for about 3/4 of my life.  Oh, I can write reasonable well as far as quality is concerned.  That is, if you measured my ability to write based on the opinions of those who read and enjoy my work, I am a ‘good’ writer.  The problem is that aside from a handful of short stories (and a ‘novelette’ I wrote when I was 15 or 16 and saved on a 5 inch floppy-which was subsequently accidentally thrown out by my dad on a cleaning binge), I have never finished anything. Continue reading