Day 313 – My Idiot Box

53 – 101 Best-Written Shows Ever

I like television. Perhaps a bit too much. Out of the 101 shows in today’s link, I have seen 53. And a little voice in the back of my mind was singling out a further 28 as I was counting that it’d really like to see, thankyouverymuch.

I was an almost indiscriminate watcher of TV of dubious quality.
Continue reading Day 313 – My Idiot Box

Day 110 – Gale-Force Coffee

I like my lazy Sundays.

I slept in till 9am. Well, almost… I woke at 8:30am, confused at why my alarm had not gone off yet. I don’t often feel as rested in the mornings as I did this morning.

I took my time getting ready for Yoga. Class starts at 10:30, so plenty of time. A quick check on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. And a quick shower, which feels odd when I’m only going to get sweaty again, but I just don’t feel right if I don’t have one before I start.

The class was very full this morning. I’m not sure what happened, other than my suspicion that a few of the regulars brought friends. A class that normally consists of 15-ish people was crammed with over 30. Not a big problem, except for a few of the stretches where there wasn’t quite enough room.

I have felt nicely stretched all day.

And then on the way home I always stop for a coffee outside with my Kindle.

I got through 3 chapters, as I built up a nice healthy glow from the hot seemingly gale-force winds sweeping through the outside seating. To be honest it felt kinda nice; as hot as the breeze was it felt cooling as it ruffled through my hair.

As Sansa was learning the finer points of manipulation from Petyr, my coffee nearly took off from its saucer. I spent some time carefully arranging my possessions so that the heaviest were on top of the lightest. Miraculously the dusted chocolate on top of my cappuccino didn’t end up all over my blue shirt.

As Ahsa was manoeuvring to get support for her claim, various parts of the outside seating started flying. One divider toppled, and a few more threatened to follow suit. The ash trays were starting to gain lift, and the containers of sugar packets were rolling around on the floor. A couple of employees ended up dashing around to tidy away anything that might move.

And finally, as Cersei attended a wedding and set a bonfire, Carolyn walked past me and mused aloud whether I’d need tethering to my chair so as not to fly off myself. I don’t think I’m quite that light, but I told her I appreciated the implicit compliment.

The breeze was starting to get uncomfortably warm by this time, so I decided to head home. But not without another cappuccino. I was briefly tempted to sit down again when my order initially got written down as another mug… but the house needed me to clean it. *sigh*

Day 103 – Game of Bad Walking Dex

Today I spent a substantial part of my day watching The Walking Dead. I had started Season 3 not that long ago after buying it on BluRay, but watching it one or two at a time on the weekend felt too slow. So today I decided to watch the last 6 surrounding errands and chores.

The bleakness has seeped all through the living room.

Every character has problems. Every one is broken.

I find the absence of a back-story for the zombie epidemic both a smart move (some things once explained limit the directions you can take from there), and a disconcerting one. Without an explanation, there cannot be a cure… and without a cure there are only two ways it can end, neither of which is particularly idyllic.

Breaking Bad cast
Breaking Bad cast

The Walking Dead is far from the only show on television filled with complicated, compromised and flawed characters. I haven’t gotten all the way through Breaking Bad yet, but closing on the end of Season 4, almost every one of the lead characters has a sizeable army of skeletons tucked away.

I’ve been desperately avoiding spoilers since the show ended recently, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that there’s no room for a completely happy ending for everyone.

For some to thrive, others will need to die.
It’s just a matter of who is who…

Game of Thrones - last supper
Game of Thrones – last supper

And let’s not forget the adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, now probably better known as “Game of Thrones”. I would never have suspected it is possible to have an epic story stay coherent with this much slaughter of the leading cast. And yet, … there it is.

George RR Martin has often stated the reason for his approach is that he wants the reader to actually be in fear of his characters. Traditionally you can rely on the hero surviving, and therefore there is never any real danger. I think the flip-side of that coin is that I now find myself mentally calling for certain characters to die for obvious reasons, yet they never seem to.

And this level of bloody-mindedness has spawned a fascinating meme of video recordings of people watching their favourite characters die. I believe a search for “Red Wedding” on YouTube should give you all you need in that regard.

But of course… there is a point of origin for all this recent flawed-lead-character madness.

Dexter... at the source of it all
Dexter… at the source of it all

I barely could believe at the time that Dexter ever got made for US television at the time.

It seemed inconceivable to me that the country that spawned numerous cop shows and procedurals, all aimed at the inevitable bringing-to-justice of all and sundry criminals, could ever get emotionally invested in a lead that killed for a hobby.

Eight years of Dexter have proven once and for all, that once you allow an audience to enjoy a flawed character, there just isn’t any stopping that train.

I guess it just makes everyone feel better about themselves to compare themselves against characters they cannot ever imagine themselves being like.

And yet; Breaking Bad is already getting pretty close to the “one inevitable step after another” model that should be making some viewers more than a little uncomfortable. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the trend towards ever more subtly falling angels will continue for a while yet.

It’s a bit like horror and thrillers.

We’re all collectively daring each other to watch ever more morally uncomfortable shows… and loving every second of it.


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