I don’t usually watch a lot of television. Not because there is nothing that interests me, on the contrary, there are so many programs I follow, I can hardly keep up. I don’t watch because My husband and I don’t have cable. We don’t even have the basic free channels. Wen we moved into our house, we decided we simply don’t need cable, so instead we bought a computer and use our TV screen as a monitor. And whatever programs we want to watch, we wait until netflix has it, or find it to watch online, or download it. So, sometimes I don’t keep up with a particular show until the season is over.
This week, I’ve been catching up on six of my favorites. Being Human (the original UK version), Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Doctor Who (another UK program), Merlin, and Robin Hood. I want to start off with Doctor Who.
I will admit, I am pretty late in the game as to when I discovered this little gem of British sci-fi goodness. I will also admit that I started watching it because of the person playing The Doctor at the time (David Tennant). I recognized him from the fourth Harry Potter movie, and thought, “Well, let’s see what else he can do.”, and since then I’ve been following his acting career very closely. But That is a story for another time. Back to the point. The first time I heard anything about Doctor Who, I was 20. It was right before my 21st birthday and I was watching TV at my parents house. I remember it so vividly because I had made an offhand comment about it coming on, and my dad said he used to read the books when he was a kid, and would watch it on tv in the 80s. At this point, I was not as much of a sci-fi fan as I am now. Because of my dad, I knew and loved Star Trek, and Dune, and The Children of Dune. I had read The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings, and have a very deep seeded love for Star Wars, both movies, and books. And I even inherited his books when he died, but this, I guess, I just wasn’t ready for at the time, so I tuned it out. Now here it is seven years later, and not only do I watch it, but I’m addicted. I have every single episode of it, and I’m all caught up with it. I even watch its two spin-off series Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. I only wish I saw how great it was seven years ago, because it was something my dad loved. Anything to get me closer to him, I cherish these days.
Merlin I’ve been watching for about two years. Back when the husband and I lived in an apartment and had the glorious channel that is BBC America, I saw adverts for this show, and immediately wanted to watch it. Alas, by the time the first episode aired, we had moved, and so no cable. The thing that makes this show so special to me is that it is one more thing that I attribute to my dad. My dad loved Arthurian legend. Whenever there was a movie about it or a book, he’d watch it, or read it. And what is more, he’d read the books to me. That is where I get my love for it from. And why I am so glad that this show exists. It takes the story of Arthur and Merlin to a new place. While it sticks close to the story I know and love, it also takes the story to new places. We see how Merlin and Arthur become friends, and Merlin and Morgana become start as friends, then frienemies, then outright foes. And of course no story of Arthur would be complete without The nights and Gwen.
What can be said about Robin Hood? I’m sure it could have been done better, and I do wish it had carried on, but it is still fun to watch. This one I actually got interested in when I stumbled upon it after a nap. The Husband was working late, and I wasn’t in the mood to read so soon after waking up, so I turned on the tv, and there was this. As with Merlin, I’d grown up with this story in my house. Starting of course with the cutesy Disney cartoon version, and as I got older watching the movies with My mom. And Again, as with Merlin, this takes the story we know and love about Robin Hood, and puts it’s own spin on it. Starting with How Robin becomes an out-law, and how he meets the merry men. But also brings it’s own stories to the mix. Unfortunately due to poor ratings, and viewership declining after the first season, among other things, the series was cancelled after seasons. The actors got burned out on it, there were a lot of historical inaccuracies in the way of costumes, weapons, and dialogue. But for what it was, it was good. There were characters you expected to despise, but they turned out to be the ones you watched it for, and then the characters that you expected to love, but were bland, and then of course the surprising turns of other characters, and even a surprisingly heart-wrenching death.
Being human I must admit, I tuned in for at first, simply because it had a vampire in it. Since the age of 16 I’ve loved vampires. If you remember my post a while back about Anne Rice, you’ll know she’s the one that started it all. When Being Human first aired, I knew very little about werewolves, And I still know very little about them. I know a bit more than I did four years ago, but for the most part, my knowledge of them is limited. While it’s nice to see there is still the animosity between werewolves and vampires in the series, it’s also rather nice to see a few getting along. and it’s also quite nice to see them being humanized in that the three main characters are trying to live among humans and fight against their urges. I know that most stories about vampires have that element of the vampire wants to be seen as something other than a monster, and most of them have them not drinking blood, but this show does it in a way that is more relate-able. I think the original premise of the show was that The vampire was a sex addict, the werewolf had anger-management problems, and the ghost was agoraphobic, then the writer decided to spice it up by taking those characteristics and applying them to what he felt would be their supernatural counterparts. By the end of the first and second seasons the series had gone much darker and in season three zombies had been introduced. The main characters had gained a new roommate, and even moved locations, and now at the end of season 4, there are three new main characters, and I for one, can’t wait what will happen next season.
Again I started watching The vampire diaries because it was about vampires. I also had the books, and had read the first two book edition. I must admit though that I was expecting to be just as disappointed by the show as I was by the book. In the book, the characters were dry and wooden. I never did start the second two book edition of the series because the first was abysmal. So when I turned on the tv and the show was on, I was happy that the show went so far above my expectations and that it is so vastly different from the book. In the book, Elana is a very self-centered spoiled little rich girl who had something tragic happen to her when she meets Damon and Stephan. The show starts the much the same, except Elana isn’t quite so self-centered. And while she may have been spoiled before her parents died, she is anything but now,. And she’s self-sufficient, and strong willed. She doesn’t just flip flop around leading on the Salvatore Brothers. I never thought I’d say this, but don’t bother with the books, just watch the show.
Another show adapted from a book series, pretty Little liars caught my eye the second it came on. I saw the first episode, and decided I wanted to read the books as well. As with Vampire Diaries the show is better that the books. Not because of the same reasons though. I’m going to direct your attention to a post I made in the past about how a book series should not (usually) exceed a certain amount of books. Well, Pretty Little Liars is another example of that opinion. I currently have 8 of the books on my shelf 2 on my nook, and there is another being released soon. Now in the books the four girls don’t find out who “A” is until the end of the fourth book, which is, in my opinion, too long to go on with one plot point in a book series. But In the show, they still don’t find out until the end of series 3, but for some reason, it works for tv in a way it doesn’t in the books. Also, the major difference between book and TV, is that, in the show, the girls become friends again, but in the books, they are very cold, and distant with each other, until it’s convenient for them to be friends. And as with Vampire diaries, the characters on screen are more…..just more. More dynamic, more relate-able, and more fleshed out in a way that they aren’t in the books. I’d rather watch the show as apposed to reading the books, but at least the books are still fun to read.
So there it is. My first television review, and the reason I haven’t been reading so much this week. And I think this is my longest entry on the blog yet.