What am I missing? by Founder Jennifer

I don’t watch much TV.  For most of my adult life, I’ve lived beyond the reach of cable or broadcast, in the sticks of Vermont, in a time when your only option if you had to watch Beverly Hills 90210 was a satellite dish that could easily hold a Volkswagen bug.  Also… I didn’t care.  I was contentedly clueless about whatever sitcom or sexy drama everyone was talking about.  Now, as a writer and a mom, with quite a keen interest in something I can just sit around and enjoy, it’s a time thing, but usually it’s still hard to find something to care about.  Living in the big city (a-hem), we now have cable, like 80-something channels and not one of them ever seems to have anything of interest on.   Well, no, I’m wrong here.  There’s lots of interesting stuff – a couple of weeks ago I watched a team of scientists dig up a wooly mammoth.  In the past few weeks, I have flipped through ultimate fighting, a woman with a hundred pound tumor, a gay wedding and numerous police dramas where for some reason or other, the electricity is off at every single crime scene, and they’re all striding around in the dark smirking and sexily shining flashlights at each other.  Perhaps good for half-an-hour of “what the hell is this?” – but nothing to get me hooked.

The thing is, I long for good TV.  A show I can really get caught up in.  Something that will make me laugh and cry; something that will resonate and make me think of it long after I turn off the TV for the night.

The last show that did this for me – maybe the first show that ever really did it for me – was Six Feet Under.  The writing was basically genius, the characters were wonderfully flawed and human – it was funny and dreadful and unpredictable, like life.  I really truly wept after the final episode, like people I actually knew were gone forever.  I woke up thinking of them, of the loss.  Kind of pathetic, but there it is.

I watch The L Word but am always a little disappointed, and never bother to watch the repeats (unlike SFU).  I really want to like it, but it’s jumped the shark several times over now.  It’s hit or miss — mostly these last few seasons, it’s missing by a mile.  I love how Jenny sold film rights for a New Yorker short story, her first film deal, and then spends hours in high-powered meetings so she can pick a director.  Uh, does Stephen King even get to do that?  As much as I roll my eyes and gnash my teeth though, I know I’ll keep watching – it’s all about Alice.

I loved the first season of Dexter and am psyched for season two.  (SFU fans, see Michael C. Hall in a whole new light!  I think he might be a genius.)  I like Weeds very much, but never quite get hooked (insert lame drug joke).  I’ve tried the Sopranos, but I have some sort of mental block when it comes to gangsters.  I can’t watch any of the Godfather movies, either.

So I’m taking a poll: what’s out there that I’m missing?  It doesn’t need to be something currently on the air – I’ve got Netflix.  I want a new show to love.  Something I can get totally swept away in.  My daughter just started preschool, which means I’m going to have mornings free to write.  And at night, after she goes to bed, maybe instead of scrambling to meet my latest deadline, I can get in some good TV watching?

Or, maybe I’ll just catch up on some reading…

12 thoughts on “What am I missing? by Founder Jennifer

  1. That is a challenging question. I find the more choices there are the more I back away from them altogether. I definitely on the less is more side of things (though for as wordy as I can be you’d never know LOL).

    My favorite show on TV is Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. Probably because it’s so honest and also so funny. And it doesn’t take a lot of time. And you can TiVo it so it takes even less time to watch!
    My husband, son and one daughter swear by The Office, but having really loved a few episode of the “real” version of that (the British one) I just can’t seem to latch onto it and it feels to me like annoying background noise when on.

    Have you considered taking up needlework ;-D ?

  2. I loved Six Feet Under too and haven’t found anything comparable. For something totally different but really well written, I’m thinking of going back to the start and watching all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I haven’t done it yet.

  3. Try Battlestar Galactica. I know, I know you’re thinking “sci-fi?!?”, but NOOOO, no way. Incredible writing, plotlines that are deep and multi-layered, and characters that are sooo flawed. Of course, I’m behind a whole season on Weeds, and behind a whole season on BSG as well because, well, we don’t have cable! Arrested Development is funny….

  4. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Jenny, I really like The Daily Show, too. And I’ve seen several episodes of The Office (the original British one) and I really liked it, but found it sort of painful to watch. I might try again.

    Danielle, I’ve never seen an episode of Buffy, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

    And Michael, Battle Galactica… really? Okay. I’ll try anything once. And thank you for reminding me about Arrested Delelopment… I watched the first three episodes a long time ago and thought they were wonderful.

  5. Wow – I LOVE the idea of banding together. I wish I was one of the debutantes! My first book of poetry & short stories, ‘The Shadow of a Dog I Can’t Forget’ has just been published and I am SOOO excited. Now here are some shows I really love but fortunately they might all be on paid T.V.

    …The Closer with Kyra Sedgwick…She’s tough & vulnerable at the same time and quirky enough that you just can’t help but route for her.

    …Big Love…It’s a show about polygamy with well developed plot lines and characters. Bill Pullman (I think that’s his name) plays the husband who spends a different night with one of three wives who all live in side-by-side houses. It’s truly intriquing and made me wonder – hmmmm – what WOULD it be like to have two more husbands. And then I think no, one is plenty!

    …Weeds…Mary Louise Parker plays a widower with two boys, a maid and and an unemployed brother, all living in the fictitious California town of Agrestic. She thought about getting a minimum wage job at the Gap or Barnes & Noble, but instead turns to selling pot. It sounds crazy but I really like it, I think because I like Mary Louise Parker’s acting skills so much.

    Well, there you have it…my short list. Happy last week-end of summer!

  6. Do I have two GREAT shows for you, Jennifer. First, Tuesday on FX at 10:00, it’s “Damages” — psychological, suspense, murder drama — with Glenn Close. Then Thursday on TNT at 10:00, it’s “Mad Men” — back to the way we were in 1960 as Madison Avenue ruled. This show IS amazing TV and I recommend both to everyone.

    P.S. Hooray for preschool!

  7. I have to agree with the suggestions for BIG LOVE and MAD MEN; they are my two must-see shows. And I STILL miss SFU!! Best ending to a series EVER.

  8. Thanks for all the suggestions. The only problem is that now I have too many things I want to check out! When am I going to find time to write?

    Larramie, I just found out they’re showing all the previous episodes of Damages this afternoon and I’m taping it — very exciting! And I’ll definitely be checking out Big Love and Mad Men, too.

    Thanks folks!

  9. I am addicted, as in can’t stand to miss an episode, to ENTOURAGE. I haven’t been much into other shows — I like HOUSE on Fox, I loved STUDIO 60 on NBC — such a writer’s show, but sadly it was cancelled.

    HBO has Pride & Prejudice on demand — call me pathetic but I’ve watched it like 4 times in the last month…love that Mr. Darcy…

    Lisa

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