I need to watch more TV.
This is a statement one doesn’t often hear, particularly as the days are now getting warmer (at least they were last week; damn you, fickle Vancouver weather!) and longer.
It’s also a statement not often heard from me. Always, I have prioritized writing over TV, to the point that I only allow myself to watch shows on weekends and holidays. Even at that, I’ve decreased my TV consumption of late the deeper I get into the revision of my WIP.
Still, I manage to do a respectable amount of viewing. Much of this is on Netflix, which I greatly enjoy despite it being Canadian Netflix (less selection than American Netflix). I have no plans to ditch my subscription, even when the fee increases by $2.00 a month in October.
I’ve previously written about my TV viewing habits, discussing shows I was currently watching (only three of which I’ve since completed for the time being), the shows I was looking forward to having return this year (of which only two have as yet), and the characteristics I most enjoy in a show.
For my third and final post on my TV viewing habits, I will share the show I want to watch someday, be that over the summer, later in the year, or advancing into next year, if not all of the above.
Why I want to watch it: Strong female character; cunning and unscrupulous character; complex plots (I’m guessing)
I’m not usually into shows about modern politics, but this one has piqued my interest for having a black woman in a position of power (not something you often see in such shows) who is further involved in a web of intrigue, deceit, and lust.
Also of interest is that it’s another show created by Shonda Rimes. I’ve been breathlessly following her legal drama How to Get Away With Murder, and have come to admire her complex, often tortured plots and subplots (and secrets and dramatic reveals), as well as her non-sequential method of telling the story.
I don’t know if Scandal’s storytelling method is similar to HTGAWM, but this is very popular show. Even my mom watches it, and most of her other favourite shows are either religious or reality TV, so it seems like a safe bet that I’ll enjoy it.
Jane the Virgin
Why I want to watch it: Strong female character; socially-awkward character; totally scrupulous character; soap opera plot; absurdity of life
I never realized I enjoyed soap operas (that year-and-a-half spent watching All My Children with my mom while unemployed and dejected back in 2005 doesn’t count) until I started watching Empire – the all-black soap about a hip hop/R&B record company and the extravagant family at war with itself over the company’s future fortunes.
This thing I like most about Empire is that it’s steeped in black American culture, to the point that a similar program involving all white characters would result in an entirely different story.
Jane the Virgin is adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela – a storytelling media that by reputation is fantastically outrageous. Part of the appeal of this show for me is the ability to have a glimpse into a portion of Latin culture and storytelling, which doesn’t receive much representation in mainstream media.
Another appealing part is the ridiculous premise of the story: a young, devout Catholic Latina woman who is committed to remain a virgin until marriage ends up accidentally artificially inseminated. It sounds hilarious!
Finally, I’m interested in how the female lead, although strong, seems to demonstrate this strength in a non-aggressive, non-combative way, which is not often how female characters are made “strong”.
The titular Jane, it seems from the clips I’ve seen, quietly stands up for herself while maintaining a strong connection to her family, values, and culture. These sorts of qualities are traditionally considered feminine ones, and are not usually deemed to convey strength at all.
Why I want to watch it: Historical setting; cunning characters; absurdity of life
I’ve actually already watched about five episodes of this very popular show, so I already know it’s good.
I pretty much love all things historical pertaining to England, particularly those involving the complex politics of aristocrats while at the same time showcasing the vast difference in lifestyle between the upper and lower classes.
I also always love a plotline involving the lack of a male heir, or else the wrangle of entitlement between a distant male inheritor vs. a more closely related female.
The era this show follows – post-Edwardian and pre-WWI, which saw, among other great changes, the twilight aristocratic supremacy and the burgeoning push for women’s suffrage – is one I’m not overly familiar with. The show will thus be an entertaining way to learn more.
It’s also sure to be at times absurdly amusing, such as with ongoing antics of the Dowager Countess, as well as the various upper class notions of the time that sound similarly ridiculous to modern sentiments (e.g. that a man of good breeding should not have a job).
Why I want to watch it: Historical setting
(The large number of half-naked men running around is also a plus.)
I’ve already watched a handful of episodes of this show as well and know it to be good, if incredibly violent and gory and full of half-naked, muscled fighting men.
I’ve always been fascinated with the Roman blood sports (not the sports themselves, but rather the underlying psychology of their viewers).
Meanwhile, Spartacus is an iconic character (and incidentally, I only recently learned, also a historical figure) who first appeared in mainstream media via the classic movie starring Kirk Douglas.
I’m on a huge binge of media set in the Classical era right now: primarily that of Ancient Greece since this is the time period I’m slowly researching for a new novel, however Ancient Rome and Greece did overlap a bit, with the Romans adopting numerous elements from Greek culture. So this show could prove educational.
Besides, any sort of historical program that contains the unconquerable Lucy Lawless (aka Xena, the Warrior Princess) is definitely something for me to check out.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Why I want to watch it (again): Complex plot; resourceful characters; historical setting; futuristic setting; characters who see the world differently
(Also, amazing science.)
Having already once watched this documentary series, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t.
I am fascinated by astrophysics and cosmology, and likewise am a big fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, cosmologist, science educator, and Cosmos host.
Cosmos isn’t just a series of dry lectures. Using animation and simulation, along with Tyson’s highly accessible narration, Cosmos weaves an almost magical narrative exploring the nature of universe – everything from black holes, the birth of stars, and the eventual fate of our sun.
(Spoiler alert: it will expand into a red giant, engulf Earth and the rest of the inner planets, and then explode.)
The show also goes backward in time, discussing the various scientists from history (include those from non-Western cultures and women) who laid the foundation for the scientific community’s modern understanding of the universe.
I want to watch this series again because, while I surprised myself by being able to follow most of the science, I nonetheless came away with questions about concepts I’d like to try again to understand.
That and because, with breathtaking scenes of outer space and a cinema-quality soundtrack, this series is like a true journey into the infinity of space.
What shows have you been meaning to watch? Do you notice any common characteristics among the shows you tend to watch? Let me know in the comments.