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Vampires, Werewolves, Witches & Demons: TV Marathon Time

Song Lyric of the Day:

And all those shadows there are filled up with doubt / I don’t know who you think you are / But before the night is through / I wanna do bad things with you / I wanna do real bad things with you

Jace Everett / “Bad Things

Hex (witches, demons, fallen angels)
As you know, I’m quite the fan of the supernatural and horror genres. Which is how I came across the late BBC series Hex a while back via Netflix. After watching the first season on DVD (I think it’s split as three seasons in the UK vs. two here), I’d become quite invested in the adventures of student Cassie (Christina Cole); her dead roommate and resident ghost, Thelma (Jemima Rooper); fallen angel Azazeal (the very sexy Michael Fassbender); and all the other denizens of Medenham Hall: demon hunters, half-humans, demons, and, well, university students. While the show is not the BBC’s best supernatural offering, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Heads up, though: It gets off to a really, really slow start; the husband actually bailed after about four episodes because he couldn’t handle the pace. As for me? I was very frustrated to wrap up season one only to discover that season two is not yet available on DVD stateside. Which is why I was happy to see that the Chiller network has started airing season one of the series (I’m crossing my fingers I will finally get to see the last season. I need the closure).

Interested in checking it out? Chiller will be airing a Hex season one marathon tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, starting at 11AM EST.

*An added bonus for me: The title sequence uses a remix of Garbage‘s “Number One Crush” as its theme song.

Being Human (vampires, werewolves, ghosts)
While I enjoyed Hex a lot, I absolutely love the new BBC series, Being Human. Which, if you read my blog even occasionally, you already know. Despite also featuring vampires, it’s worlds apart from True Blood, which I also love. While the show’s main characters are a vampire (the top-of-my-Christmas-wish-list Aidan Turner as Mitchell), a werewolf (the amazing Russell Tovey as George), and a ghost (the lovely Lenora Crichlow as Annie), the heart of the show really lies in their unwaveringly loyal friendship and close relationship as roommates. And then, of course, there are their unique conditions and the impending vampire apocalypse to deal with.

Season two is currently filming, so it’ll be a while before we see it here stateside. In the meantime, you can catch up with season one as BBC America will be airing a Being Human marathon this Sunday, October 25, starting at 11:30AM EST. And judging by the hour-and-fifteen-minute blocks allotted each episode, the marathon will include the behind-the-scenes footage that originally aired during the season’s premiere run earlier this summer (the featurettes are about three-quarters of the way into each episode, tacked onto the end of a commercial break).

True Blood (vampires, werewolves, telepaths, maenads)
I’ve been hooked on True Blood since I first saw the promo for its series premiere. While the very first episode featured enough Southern stereotypes and exaggerated accents to make both the spouse and I a bit wary, we stuck with it and, boy, do we enjoy the hell out of watching this show. Being on HBO allows it the freedom to indulge in all those horror-genre staples that mainstream TV can’t: sex, nudity, profanity, violence, gore, and lots and lots (and LOTS) of blood. Not for the faint of heart, the show is based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, although season two veered away from the books (or so devoted readers of the series have told me). Set in Bon Temps, Lousiana, the series revolves around waitress Sookie Stackhouse’s (Anna Paquin) romance with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), along with all the drama that comes with it. That drama includes a wayward best friend, Tara (Rutina Wesley); Sookie’s boss, bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell); a vampire-blood-dealing cook (LOVE Nelsan Ellis‘ Lafayette); Sookie’s aimless horndog brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten); and too many other fascinating, unique characters to do justice to in this post. There is also the thinly veiled parallel to the gay rights movement, with the vampires “coming out of the coffin” and living openly among humans (it’s legal for them to marry humans in Vermont).

If you haven’t yet given the show a try,
HBO Signature will be airing a True Blood season one marathon next Friday, October 29, starting at 10PM EST.

What supernatural/horror-themed shows thrill, scare, and amuse you?

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Writers Blocked

Song Lyric of the Day:

John Willmot penned his poetry /Riddled with the pox / Nabakov wrote on index cards / At a lectem, in his socks / St. John of the Cross did his best stuff / Imprisoned in a box

It’s been interesting to read comments on various TV blogs and infotainment sites about the tv and film writers’ strike (now almost 10 weeks old). I say interesting because while a lot of people understand that writers are a very large, very important part of all those fantastical movies and TV shows we enjoy, a lot of people think the writers are greedy SOBs who should be crucified. And, yes, I’ve seen that word used on occasion with regard to this, which I don’t quite understand.

These days, the media landscape is continually changing and reinventing itself at a breakneck rate. Among other, more traditional options, we can now choose to watch TV shows and movies via free online downloads, paid online downloads, TiVo/DVRs, TV on demand, movies on demand, and as DVD sets to be watched ad nauseam. So are the writers behind said fantastical movies and TV shows entitled to a bigger piece of the pie? I think they most definitely are.

At its most basic level, the writers’ demands for more pay/fairer contracts boils down to simple human nature: We all have a basic need to be given our proper due for our professional contributions, whether it be attribution or financial compensation. In the case of this strike, TV and film writers are privy to studio and production company numbers showing how all these wonderful new media options are affecting the studios’ bottom lines. And they are now demanding their perceived fair share for their professional contributions; I say perceived only because I don’t know exact numbers and can’t pretend to know those type of specifics.

Our favorite TV and movie actors become our favorites for countless different reasons. Maybe we like how they look. Maybe we can relate to that tic or personality quirk they have. Maybe it’s the type of dramatic or comedic roles they specialize in. Maybe they sound the same, have the same accent, have the same eye color, were born in the same city — you get the idea. But when we discuss that movie or that show, what do most of us end up referencing? Special effects and wardrobe aside, we typically hone in on quotes. The words those actors speak are what affect us the way they do. Combined with mannerisms, reactions, personalities, it all serves to paint a larger picture of who those characters are and what they mean to us.

We’re almost out of fresh scripted TV shows to watch this season. The Office ended weeks ago, Grey’s Anatomy ends tonight, and the end is fast approaching for many other shows. The Golden Globe Awards have been canceled; the Oscars may be next. Soon our airwaves are going to be flooded with more reality TV shows than I ever could have imagined in my worst nightmares. Late-night hosts are floundering without their writing staffs (proving, once again, how hard improv is). Besides writers, countless other industry professionals are being laid off; the strike is hurting almost everyone behind the scenes. There’s seemingly no end in sight for this strike. And while I will dearly miss watching my favorite TV shows on a regular basis, I have to support the writers’ demands for increased compensation. It’s thanks to their creativity (Supernatural), their wittiness (My Name Is Earl), their genius (30 Rock), their heart (Ugly Betty), their ability to build these amazing worlds (Pushing Daisies), their attention to detail (The Wire) that I so thoroughly enjoy what I’m watching.

I may not always believe what I see on TV or in a movie. I may not always like what a character says. I may not always agree with a character’s actions. I may overlook a plothole because it’s easier than searching for an explanation. But I will always, always let myself suspend disbelief and allow my imagination to feast as I become immersed in what I’m watching, whether it’s for 22 minutes or 2 1/2 hours. And for that privilege, I not only thank the actors, directors, producers, craft people, and gaffers, but I wholeheartedly thank the writers, as well.

*Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily blog is a good source for the latest strike news.
*You can see how many episodes of your shows are left here and here.

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