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Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What We Can Learn From 1990s Serial Dramas

Anyone out there ever watch SeaQuest DSV?  It was one of those shows that piggy-backed on the popularity of StarTrek: Next Generation (along with other shows like StarTrek: Deep Space Nine and StarTrek: Voyager).  Most TV shows at this time were simpler, more straight-forward with almost no plot complications and only one story line.  This one was no different, with a slightly futuristic, military bent.

When this show originally aired, I watched it every week.  It had nothing to do with the plot or the writing.  It was all about Jonathan Brandis.  Yup, I had a minor fascination (read: major obsession) with JB.  For some reason I started thinking about him about a month ago, looked him up, found out some rather upsetting news about him (I'm glad I was never a child actor), and then started thinking about the show.

So, in tribute to JB and my interest *cough*obsession*cough*, I decided to watch it again.  Yea, NetFlix and at-home streaming :)

Well, I'm sick, stuck on my couch, literally coughing and hacking and waiting for it to go away, so I decided to watch some good ol' DSV.  Season 1, Episode 1, here we go.

And I can't tell you how pained I was to find out it was a two-hour premier.  Now, this means I get a little more JB time, but it also means 1:30hr of really bad, 90s TV writing.  The entire first episode is BACKSTORY!  And poorly written backstory at that.  Granted, a bit of the blame can be laid on the actors, though I'm pretty sure that's just the way TV actors performed back then: like they have a live audience; like they don't have a camera in their faces; like they don't have to speak like real people.  *sigh*

But an hour and a half of backstory?  Okay, sure, there's a little bit of action, but if this episode were sent to an agent, it would receive a form rejection.

The lesson?  Don't overload the sick girl with backstory.  She's bored out of her skull!

Do you have any favorite shows from the last few decades?  And do you ever wonder why you loved them then when you watch them now?  Can you watch them without analyzing the writing?

10 comments:

Hart Johnson said...

I have a couple favorite shows from the 90s: Homicide, Life on the Streets and X-files come to mind. I think both of those were acted fine, and both counted on a very SLOW reveal as to what was really going on--they wanted off-balance audiences. Murder One is another one I loved... My biggest problem with TV shows is the occasional need for the Deus Ex Machina because some actor has refused to sign a contract or something. Books have to plan for exits and entrants. TV can't do it as well. And series ENDINGS are often either too abrupt or several seasons too late (because the show is popular)

RosieC said...

At least X-Files lasted a while. I haven't thought about that in a while, either. I should try watching that again. Hopefully it won't be quite as disappointing.

Yeah, I really dislike the Deus Ex Machina. At least we have control over our own stories :)

Carol Riggs said...

Sending some cyber chicken soup your way, Rosie! Hope you feel better. And yeah, backstory ain't a good thing. Slash, slash! I just realized last week that the prologue for a story I'd started last year is ALL backstory, so it's going bye-bye. Not a waste though. I needed to know that info for a character motivation!

Summer Ross said...

Awww I hope you feel better soon, (secretly I had a mild crush on JB too) anyway, get some good rest.

Cold As Heaven said...

I don't watch TV series, not in the long run at least. Twin Peaks was interesting for about 4-5 episodes. Then I got tired of it. Same with Six Feet Under. But South park is cool >:)

Cold As Heaven

RaShelle said...

I've been watching Roswell and it's made he laugh out loud a few times. Some of the early dialogue. Yeah, I think how I'd change some of it. Sorry you're sick. Get feeling better soon. =D

Jemi Fraser said...

I loved SeaQuest too! I had no idea what had happened to Brandis - how sad. I really don't understand why so many people want their kids to be famous. It rarely works out well.

Ann Best said...

My daughter and I have favorites from farther back even than the last two decades. Remington Steele. Cagney and Lacey. LaVerne and Shirley, etc. etc. We LOVE these "old" shows.

Hope you're well by now!!
Ann

Kraxpelax said...

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on a cat

Meow

As a native Swede, I am particularly proud of my love poetry suite Sonnets for Katie.

My Poems

My wallpaper art Babes!

Sexuality introduces Death to Being; and indeed Life simultaneously. This is the profound Myth of the Eden. The work of the Serpent. Bringing us out of "blessed" Standstill. So, in contrast to the mindless pietism of vulgar Christianity, my personal "Christo-Satanism" should be given serious thought by the Enlightened Few, the Pneumatics, the 1% Outlaws. The Light Bringer must be rehabilitated, beacause if not, the All of it simply doesn't make sense: true Catholicism is necessarily Meta Catholicism.
...
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My philosophy

LE FRUIT DU CIEL

Un orage nocturne illmuna maintenant l'Amazonie, franchis les Andes, envoya des jeux de cartes gigantesques et frappantes en bas à la Pampa –

Puis: petit déjeuner à melon; café fumant!

À la bague du cigare tu lis, étonné: GÉOGRAPHIE.

My poetry in French:

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Aufforderung zur Erotik.

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? I CHING !

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DEZMOND said...

yes, I loved all the old sitcoms, and I basically grew up watching them. THE NANNY, HOME IMPROVEMENT, GOLDEN GIRLS, FRIENDS, BOY MEETS WORLD .... Wish we had such warm comedies today as well.

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