The TV Shows

I don’t really watch TV. Okay, aside from The Big Bang Theory--but that’s just inertia. I’ve been watching Big Bang since it started, even though its quality has dropped steadily (Graph TV shows evidence). It quickly devolved into a sex comedy. Some of the characters behave in ways that are almost unrecognizable from their first appearance. Compare Amy Farrah Fowler’s first appearance (in the season 3 finale, "The Lunar Excitation") to what she’s like now. You may argue that her character has grown and developed. Nah, they’ve just changed her to better suit the tone of the show. When I happen to catch an episode from the first season, I realize why I started watching it in the first place: the characters were nerd archetypes; I know people like them. I’ll keep watching it--it’s not a big time commitment.

See, time is the problem. 24 hours - full-time job + 2 kids + marriage = 0. These days, you have to make a commitment to a TV show. You can’t just pop in on Game of Thrones to watch an episode here and there, and have any hope of understanding what’s going on. Sorry, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, etc. I don’t have time to commit to a single TV series, much less a shared cinematic TV universe.

This spring, however, I’ve managed to find some time, and for good reason. Two must-see series debuted within a month of each other, and I’m deeply engrossed in both. First, American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel. I’ve loved Gaiman’s writing since I picked up an issue of the comic The Sandman in the 80s. (Yup, I’m a #Sandfan. One of my most prized comics is The Sandman #1 signed by Gaiman.) Awesomely, Gaiman is serving as an executive producer on the series, ensuring that his artistic vision is intact.

What’s it about? The main character is Shadow Moon, who is released from prison a few days early due to his wife’s death in a car crash. He is hired as a bodyguard by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who is on a quest to gather his old colleagues together to combat a growing threat. That’s all I’m going to tell you. Watch it. It’s great. Although I’m crushed that season 1 is almost over, it’s been renewed for season 2. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video in Canada.

The other series that I’m watching is Twin Peaks: The Return. I loved the original back in the day--I even joined the fan club. Here are pictures of my official Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department coffee mug and the letter of welcome from mayor Dwayne Milford addressed to me.

 Yup, I'm an official resident.

As part of the fan club, they also sent out issues of the Twin Peaks Gazette newspaper, which TP fans know was owned by the mayor’s brother, Dougie Milford. It was hard to believe that, after 25 years, this show would be returning to TV. While waiting for the episodes to be released, I read the excellent The Secret History of Twin Peaks, written by TP co-creator Mark Frost. (More evidence of obsessive fandom: I still have my copies of the tie-in books The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer; The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes; and even “Diane...” The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper audio tapes.)

Am I obsessive? You don’t know the half of it. I start to get twitchy on Sunday evening in eager anticipation of the next episode. What’s it about? The original was “about” solving the mystery of the death of Laura Palmer, and it was staggeringly popular--until the mystery was solved in season 2. Then it got cancelled. (And then there was a widely despised prequel movie that raised more questions than it answered.) The vision of its original creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, was so influential that it has reverberated throughout television ever since. From The X-Files, to Lost, to The Killing, to True Detective, the influence of Twin Peaks continues to be felt. The current series is about, well, about a lot of things. I don’t know where to begin. The possession of Dale Cooper by an evil spirit named BOB? A bizarre murder of two people in Buckhorn, South Dakota? The re-emergence of “good” Dale Cooper from the Black Lodge? David Lynch has described it as an 18-hour movie. Many things I don’t even understand, so I turn for help to Twin Peaks podcasts. Here are my favourites so far:
I haven’t started listening to any of the others, like The Sparkwood and 21 Podcast, The Red Room Podcast, Diane, Twin Peaks Peeks, Who Killed Laura Podcast, Fire Talk With Me, Twin Peaks Revival, and Log Ladies.

You can watch Twin Peaks: The Return on The Movie Network or CraveTV in Canada. Although you should probably watch seasons 1 and 2 first, as well as the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some podcasts to listen to, and not a lot of time.

Why aren’t you studying?


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