So even though I refuse to watch the Walking Dead, I saw this on Pinterest today:
which spawned a little nine comment discussion on realism v. escapism. Your mission as a writer is to make your made-up story as “real” as possible. Some people, including a few folks on Pinterest, don’t think that’s necessary, while others get highly annoyed when something implausible occurs and takes them out of their suspended reality. This basically happens all the time in the action genre: the bad guys can’t shoot the broad side of a barn while the main character is always dead on accurate, for example. That’s become an action staple, so no one questions that leap in logic anymore.
However, apparently Herschel’s infinite shotgun is a bit of a sticking point with a few viewers. What do you think? Are you willing to accept a little–or a lot–of implausibility if the story is good? Or would you be in the Imma Counting Herschel’s Bullets Club?
I’m sure we could all learn way more than ten lessons from Dr. Who, but this is a blog post, not a self-help book.
Ten Life Lessons From Doctor Who
by David Weedmark
I bought a new pair of shoes a couple weeks ago. They’ve been a tremendous help to my sanity. They’re just a pair of plain Converse sneakers to most people, but to me and a few of you, there is a special significance to this brand of shoes. Because Converse sneakers, like a bow tie, or even a fez, are cool. I’m referring of course to the BBC’s Doctor Who. It is one of the few television shows to which I’ll admit I’m a fan. Because, like a few great works of drama, it is entertaining (funny at times, scary at others, and often simultaneously) and is a constant reminder of what is important. The most important things, I’ve often said, are also the things we tend to forget the most easily.
So for my friends in the U.K. and Canada where the show is easily available, here are ten reminders of important life lessons from Doctor Who:
1. Curiosity counts. I was recently asked what is the most important quality in life and, to my surprise, the word that came out of my mouth was “curiosity.” Helen Keller once said “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” If this is true – and I suspect it is – fostering a deep commitment towards curiosity is the distinction between these choices. I don’t think you could survive a lifespan over 900 years without it. Even while being faced with genuine danger, The Doctor is always the embodiment of curiosity. More often than not, it is his curiosity that helps him solve the mystery behind the danger.
“There’s something out of place – let’s go and poke it with a stick.” – The Doctor (Amy’s Choice episode)
But I refuse to watch the next episode, “The Apprentice”. The premise turned me off–an unsub who mutilates puppies, then escalates to prostitutes. Um, I don’t think so.
Anyway, back to “The Good Earth”. (Synopsis here, if you’re interested.)
After really enjoying “God Complex” last week, “The Good Earth” was kind of a let down. It had a huge ick factor (wood chippers are never used for actual wood chipping on this show) and it was pretty much physically impossible for the unsub to do what she was doing without hulking out first. Actually that might have been fun to see, because the rest of the show wasn’t. It had a little bit of mystery, but mostly it was about the unsub and less about the team doing their profiling jobs. The bright spot is that at least the team speculated at what she was doing before she did it, not after, as a lot of the episodes have done and I have complained about ad nauseum.
So here’s to next week’s show, which I hope has nothing to do with wood chippers, gardening, puppies, and prostitutes.
And explains why she’s not gonna watch either of them again.
My #2 and #3 shows, Supernatural and Criminal Minds, are getting long in the tooth (and short on fresh ideas), thus I’m compelled to find a couple more shows to latch onto while these take a nosedive wind down their last seasons. My #1 show, Sherlock, isn’t coming back until next year. I’ve got to find my TV crack somewhere. So I decided to try two of the hottest shows around, Walking Dead and Homeland. Guess what? I’m still looking.
First, WD. Not much to say here, considering I couldn’t get through the first episode. I did learn that I don’t like zombies, and this show is too gooey for me. I’ve already been called on the irony that I’ll watch Criminal Minds (creepy in it’s own right) like it’s my job, but not WD. I can’t explain it, other than if the BAU starts dealing with the zombie apocalypse, I’ll bow out. My daughter, who watches WD like it’s her job, recommended I read the books. I think I’ll heed her advice.
Next was Homeland. I gave this show four episodes before I bailed. But I really had to think about why I wasn’t hooked. I mean, this is the most awesomest show at the moment, right? That’s what the critics say. What all the award winning tells me. What the fans gush about. And therein lies the problem for me–if I’d started watching this show from the moment it premiered, I might still be watching. It’s got good writing, good acting, a few twists…but nothing mind-blowing. Plus, there’s stuff here we’ve seen before ad nauseum–a love triangle, a crazy person/drug addict/alcoholic in a position of importance/authority who has to hide her problems or lose her job, a snotty teenage girl, a sage mentor who has issues of his own, and a hero who’s equally protag and antag.
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing. Makes for good TV, good soap, good movies. But IMO it doesn’t live up to the hype. I felt that if it wasn’t for the F word and the T&A, this show could be on regular TV. And considering the state of regular TV, that’s not a compliment. My expectations were so high for this show, I think I was bound to be disappointed.
I’ll be the first to admit Supernatural isn’t high-brow entertainment, and Criminal Minds has slipped in quality for a while now. (Don’t touch my Sherlock, though. It’s perfect.) I’m not comparing WD and Homeland to those shows. Bottom line–for me it’s a matter of lack of taste for Walking Dead, and a problem with the hype machine for Homeland.
I’m still looking for a few good shows–feel free to comment about your recommendations.