Just when you thought there was nothing left for TV to do, here’s a peek at Peak TV, non-fiction style. Have a look into what CNN believes America will want to see in the coming months:
On Wednesday, CNN announced plans for six new original series next year, including shows about former President Richard Nixon and the Bush family.
One of the six is a four-part show, American Style, produced by Vox Media’s programming division, Vox Entertainment. The show “examines how America’s changing style through the decades has mirrored the political, social, and economic climate of the time, shaping our unique American identity,” and represents a high-profile offering for the digital media company’s linear programming ambitions.
Longtime CNN fixture Dr. Sanjay Gupta is slated for a six-part travel series called Chasing Life With Sanjay Gupta.
The other shows on tap include Tricky Dick, a four-part show on Nixon, and a new edition of the American Dynasties series that will focus on “the Bush family’s complex internal dynamics, fraternal rivalries, influential matriarchs and extreme competitive spirit.”
The network also announced plans for Once in a Great City: Detroit 1962-64 and an eight-part show called The Redemption Project that will bring together the victims and perpetrators of “life-altering” crimes.
CNN Original shows Parts Unknown, United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell,This Is Life With Lisa Ling, The History of Comedy and Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies are also returning for additional seasons.
While CNN’s news programming and relentless coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency (and the scandals that have emerged from it) dominate the network’s airwaves, original entertainment programming is still a big part of the network’s strategy, the company has said….
In an attempt to make the laziest possible vlog, I asked Twitter for questions I could answer.
One question I wanted to expand on was from my pal Amanda Taylor, who asked if I had any hobbies that I do strictly for fun, referencing the fact that for most people making movies/videos/writing weren’t a part of a larger scheme to get wildly famous and do them full time for lots of money. It legitimately took me a while to answer that question, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem like I have any “real” hobbies. I am, as you’ve likely discovered, very boring.
I couldn’t even consider watching TV shows a hobby, because even though I do it a lot and technically I’ll never be paid to do that, I’m always analyzing shows I watch for structure and themes and seeing what they’re doing that I could be doing better in my own work. To be honest, watching TV has gotten a little exhausting because I can’t turn that part of my brain off anymore. I’m always scanning for continuity issues, for where cuts take place and why they take place where they do, and if the writing or characters are problematic in any way. Becoming a filmmaker and a feminist have ruined my ability to casually enjoy watching things and there are times when I very much wish I was still ignorant.
I don’t consider “hanging out with friends” a hobby and besides, I rarely do it outside of work or networking anymore. Half the reason I’m always scheduling shoots is to see the people I love because otherwise we’re all too busy with OTHER shoots and projects and work. If I didn’t live with Quinn, I’d barely see him at all, and even now we often miss each other due to my work and creative schedule.
Crafting/crocheting could count, but I only really do that when it’s wintertime and Christmas and birthday season is upon me, because I have like ten years worth of yarn built up I can make hats and crocheted trinkets as gifts. That’s not for fun, but function, so crocheting is out as well.
That leaves the only real hobby I have left…
It’s weird- though my brother and I played a lot of video games as kids, I never really considered myself a gamer. I considered myself a misanthrope. We used to play the podracer and Harry Potter PC games together, and then later Super Smash Bros on the Game Cube, and I had a Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advanced mostly for car trips, and for a while I had a flirtation with Runescape, but none of those things ever felt central to my relaxation or identity. They were just things I did to pass the time outside of reading and writing and playing sports and going to school.
Now, video games are truly the only time I’m not multitasking. Since I don’t have cable, I watch TV/movies on my laptop, which means I can leave the tab playing while I browse Twitter or Tumblr or check emails or send out press releases. Even while I’m crocheting and watching something I take breaks for email and social media, all of which are not for personal reasons but to keep up with my creative projects.
Playing video games doesn’t allow me to do that, because my hands are busy with the controller and my eyes and mind are busy with the screen, anticipating enemy movement or building a dope homestead on an island west of post-apocalyptic Boston. Depending on how familiar I am with the game, I might also be listening to a podcast, but usually it’s just me and the adventure.
I almost exclusively play open world games, because I’m easily frustrated by not being allowed to forge my own paths to my destination and having to follow a single storyline. I like being able to peel off from the plot to massacre some raiders or spend twelve hours building a mansion for myself and my twelve dogs. My favorite game of all time is Fallout 4, which Quinn got me for my birthday back in 2015, but close behind are Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed: Origins. I played all the way through Dishonored, another Bethesda game (the developer behind Fallout and Skyrim), but it’s not as open as the other games and being stuck in a single quest was really annoying. It was a shorter game which helped me complete it, but overall it’s not an experience I’m likely to repeat.
I like that I can’t multitask during games- it keeps me present and actually allows me to relax (even if the game itself is tense). Never thought I’d end up being someone who plays video games as much as I do, but I’m grateful for the role it plays in my life.
Now, Bethesda, for the love of GOD stop coming out with crappy VR versions of 7 year old games and just give us a new Elder Scrolls already.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Liaison at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch Bri’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE This post first appeared on her seriously cool blog.