The other day I happened to catch an episode of the TV show Monday Mornings in rerun, and one of the characters mentioned deus ex machina. What caught my attention was how he pronounced it – DAY-oos eks MAH-kee-nah. I realized, then, that I didn’t recall ever having heard that phrase spoken out loud before and that all of this time, I’ve been mentally pronouncing it incorrectly. My high school and college French had me thinking it as dus oh mah-SHEEN-a. I felt really stupid at my mistake but also very educated because now I can jauntily throw that phrase about with the correct Latin pronunciation. Bonus: spelling it is now a piece of cake. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Television’ Category
If you like reading contemporary romance, I bet you’d enjoy watching Nashville. It’s got all the ingredients one often encounters in contemporary romance. There’s a strong woman torn between the love of her life and the man she left him for. There’s a conniving yet sympathetic younger woman determined to win the old lover for herself. There’s a secondary romance between a good girl who is slowly learning that a good guy is better than a bad boy. There are family issues galore. The sexual tension starts hot and, as the season progresses, gets hotter. And, all of these plot elements are designed with women viewers in mind. Oh, and though this isn’t found in contemps, there’s kickass music on every show. I love it. So does my sixteen year old daughter and (yes!) my husband.
It’s a great show in part because–like many a great romance novel–the plot is written by a successful woman with a knack for tapping into the psyche of the American female: Callie Khouri. Ms. Khouri is the writer of the iconic film Thelma and Louise as well as the writer of Something to Talk About and The Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. In Nashville, as she did in those films, she gives viewers complicated, nuanced women who struggle to balance love, work, and family. (more…)
Decisions, decisions…. – If you haven’t voted yet, don’t forget that our Annual Reader Poll runs through Sunday, January 20, 2013. I’ll admit that I’m one of those still procrastinating over my ballot. My votes for some of the categories jump out at me right away: The Siren was definitely the most unforgettable erotica I read this year and nothing was as much a tear-jerker for me as The Sleeping Night. However, it’s very hard for me to vote for just one book in some of the other categories.
So, what books are you all thinking about as you go over the poll this year? (more…)
For my last book club meeting, we all read biographies – any biography. While I had enjoyed some biographies in the past (I loved David McCullough’s biography of John Adams), I don’t really gravitate toward them; usually if I am reading one it is because someone else chose it for book club. I hemmed and hawed over my choice until I spotted a book that caught my eye: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. It’s more of a memoir than a biography, but to me it was close enough to be on topic. Better yet, it was of high interest to me because it was essentially someone else talking about her reading life.
That was, in fact, the main draw for me. Almost as much as I like to read, I like to talk about reading, hear about reading, and read about reading. And discussions of childhood reading are probably my favorites. I like to know what drove other people to read what they did, and why they loved their favorite childhood books. (more…)
The other day on After Hours, I blogged about my love for the TV show Sherlock, and remarked it’s basically the only TV I watch, and like. This is not the first time I’ve made the remark, online or in person, and 99% of the time, people probably look at me like I’m nuts, pompous, or both.
I once had a conversation with my friend about True Blood (I flatter myself that I converted her to the books, even though I haven’t read them), and we had this conversation about me not watching TV. “Wait – you don’t watch TV, I accept it, even if I don’t get it (because there are some damn good shows on TV, Jean, and you’re missing out, but never mind because you’re weird). But you haven’t read the books? How can you read romance and not read the Sookie Stackhouse series?”
Good question, Eva. And looking through my bookshelf, reading history, and preferences, I think I’ve narrowed it down. It’s not series that I don’t do, per se – it’s the serialized, episodic, plot and character development surrounding a central cast of characters over a long period of time that I can’t stick with.
Before we had the tormented Carpathians, and the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not to mention Edward of the Twilight series, many people grew up watching Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows. No doubt the show paved the way for the acceptance of romantic vampires today. Yet many of today’s tormented vampires can’t hold a candle to Barnabas. In fact, Barnabas was all about the candles. Candles, eerie music, cobwebs, fierce storms, crypts and graveyards. And unlike many vampires today, he was a true anti-hero.
Unlike many people from my generation, I didn’t grow up watching Dark Shadows all the time. I never seemed to get home at the right time, so I watched Captain Chesapeake instead. Still, although I was a scaredy-cat, I managed to sneak in a few episodes now and then.
When I heard that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were working together on a Dark Shadows movie, my first reaction was “Perfect!” I couldn’t wait to see it. Then I realized that many fans were upset with the trailer because the movie comes across as a send-up. They are not amused. Or as my sister-in-law pointed out to be, fans took the show very seriously.
After an interminable 17-month absence, our TV screens are about to see the welcome (make that very, very, very welcome) return of Mad Men, on Sunday night from 9 to 11 p.m. eastern time.
If you’re a fan of the show as I am, the wait has been too damn long, caused largely by creator Matthew Weiner and AMC unable to reach a deal for many months and then AMC’s decision to wait until 2012 to give the show an air date. Me thinks this dispute involved a lot of hot air, but the result is that Weiner has an end date for the show (after season seven and we’re about to begin season five) and, with any luck, we’re done with all the crap so the wait won’t be so long next time.
I was pretty disgusted with Weiner and AMC for a while there during negotiations, but never lost my passion for the show – which is surely one of the best on television. Ever. Every character is so layered and complex that they are never boring and the show continues to take risks. Like Don and Betty.
Generally, there’s TV Sandy and Romance Sandy and rarely do the two meet. Most of the time, my taste in TV (which is kind of edgy) precludes my getting attached to the usual Lifetime or Hallmark Channel “romance” movies. True Blood? A series based on one of my favorite romance series? How often does that happen? But, based on the two episodes that have aired so far, there just might be a new series to brings my two sides together.
Created by two former Lost writers, Once Upon a Time is a series with parallel story lines, one that takes place in fairy tale world and another that takes place in the town of Storybrooke, Maine. In fairy tale land, the characters are cursed by the Evil Queen who condemns them to be banished to Storybrooke without their happy endings. In today’s world, they don’t know about their true identities and, in true Lost fashion, we follow the characters in fairy tale land and in the world today.
There is literally nothing I love more than to watch actors in full period regalia amidst the greenest, lushest English countryside, arguing about entailment and alliances and status. Literally nothing. I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Which is why I love Masterpiece on PBS. When it comes to a good period piece, Masterpiece always has me covered, and the newest installment, Downton Abbey, is no disappointment. The country scenes are so green and the characters so British it’s almost painful. Masterpiece, which airs on Sunday nights, has already run three of the four episodes, but if you’ve missed them they are available online.
Downton is Abbey is written by Julian Fellows of Gosford Park fame. Coincidentally, the show is more or less similar to the movie in television format (without the super hunky Clive Owen), but never fear, it’s just as good if not better than the movie. We begin in 1912 with the very recent news of the sinking of the Titanic. The Crawley Family seems to have the same problems an inordinate number of families had at the time: Too many girls, not enough heirs. Since the heir to the estate was on the Titanic and pronounced dead, the family is in an uproar about who will inherit. There is an immediate dichotomy between old and new generations. On one side, the family is prepared to allow the estate to go to a perfect stranger as good, obedient English families are supposed to do. On the other, the family is prepared to bring in the lawyers and fight it out in court.