The Peril of Season Premieres

The amount of joy I felt today about my superhero TV season starting up again was probably a little extreme.  Summer is great – I love summer, but I also love my nerd TV.

First out of the gate tonight was “Flashpoint” the season premiere of The Flash.  In some ways I loved it – it was great to see Kid Flash and normal optometrist Caitlin, however it also kind of bugged me.

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One of my pet peeves about standard episodic television is how the structure artificially manipulates the story line.  The standard now is that in April or May you needs some sort of epic gamechanging cliffhanger and/or something that wraps up the story line of the show in some way….

….And then you have to come back in October and start the story all over again.  And if you want to keep your show in “real time” you have to explain where those three months went. (I could write a whole separate rant about “real time” – especially with superhero shows which feel like they can mess with the space-time continuum but heaven forbid it should be July in their fantasy world when it’s October in ours.)  Some shows manage to do this gracefully – but honestly it’s a rare phenomenon.

Often the show comes back from those three months and tells, or quickly shows, us what has changed. We, as the audience, are supposed to just take it on faith and try not be irritated that we’ve been left out of a whole chapter of the story.  On Arrow, for those of us who like the Oliver and Felicity relationship, it’s meant that the happiest (and for my money some of the most anticipated) bits of their dynamic have taken place off the screen. Super, super, frustrating. No wonder people write fanfiction.

The other thing that seems to happen is that the finale winds up to that big cliffhanger/game changer and then the season premiere finds some way to write everything back the way it was.  This drives me nuts – it wastes some of the best moments of the story and makes it hard to invest in those big moments.

Unfortunately (spoiler alert) – that’s kind of the route The Flash went. Barry’s decision from last season radically altered the timeline – but we only get one brief shallow glance at that timeline before the show finds a way to put everything back.  Yes, at the tail end of the episode we get a hint that there have been consequences to Barry’s actions, but to me it’s not enough.  To me they’ve shortchanged a multi-episode worthy arc that could have explored, in detail, the power of what we think we want versus what we need.  If Barry’s going to literally ask the bad guy to murder his mother – that moment should be HUGE – and not a 2 second throwaway to quickly get the show back to normal.

Am I still excited that my shows are back? Absolutely!  I just occasionally wish that writers and networks would be as brave and bold as the heroes they’ve written and trust their audiences enough to tell a more complex story.  Really guys, trust me, we can take it.

 

 

 

Retooling: Farewell to Superhero Saturday

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I’ve been thinking about some changes I’d like to make to the blog.  One of those things is Superhero Saturday – I’ve noticed this blog works best when I can respond to things in the moment, and with the TV season ramping up I don’t want to have to wait until Saturday, and limit myself to one post, where superhero TV is concerned.  Conversely, it was sometimes hard this summer to come up with a post specifically geared toward superheroes.

I’m still going to strive to have a longer post about nerd friendly topics every weekend (look for a post about binge watching v. week-to-week viewing tomorrow), and I’m sure some of those will revolve around those folks in masks, capes, and boots – but I’m going to focus on writing about what inspires me in the given moment.

And at the moment, there is one small thing (literally) that made me smile in the world of superheroes this week, courtesy of McDonald’s.  Say hello to my newest version of Oliver Queen –

Hope y’all had a great Saturday!

 

 

 

The Joy of Editing

So about a month and a half ago I wrote this post about my decision to pursue self-publishing.  One of the biggest steps toward that goal is getting the manuscript as clean and ready as I can possibly make it.  I have help – a great critique partner who is giving me notes, and two good proofreaders who have volunteered to read the “final” draft for me.

Still I am doing a lot of editing.  It’s wonderful, painstaking work.  Tweaking a word or two, Googling (and texting my aforementioned critique buddy) about grammar, fine tuning the dialogue of multiple characters etc.   Yesterday I was particularly diligent, spending about five hours in the thick of it.

Now, I’m one of those weird authors who actually loves this process.  I love it so much that I wish I could have kept doing it deep into the night and all day today, and every minute until eye strain or comma consternation finally wore me out.

But like so many writers out there – I had to stop working so I could go to work, dangit.

Don’t get me wrong, my other jobs are actually pretty great.  But this week I’m loving editing and loving writing so much that I wish it was the only thing I really had to do.

And it’s an amazing feeling.

Superhero TV is My Kryptonite: Superhero Saturday

From the time I can remember until, say, my mid 20s I was a serious television addict – I could have told you, generally anyway, what was on prime time network TV on every night of the week and my schedule for watching it.  Plus, in the years when I had cable I usually had a syndicated show or two that I was dedicated to (my seventh grade self pretty much planned her life around the twice daily showings of Airwolf on the USA network – I wish I was kidding.)

Then I grew up a little and the tv landscaped changed.  I still had my shows –  things like Gilmore Girls, and Lost, and Castle – but nothing that really made me cross the line from reasonable adult fan to tv fangirl addict.  Plus, viewership changed with Hulu and DVR and Netflix. So I thought I was past all that.

But maybe not.

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This television season I will have six  shows that are must watch for me every week – yep, six.  And five of the six?  They are, of course, superhero shows.

Thank goodness I have a DVR – or I’d never leave the house.