by Josie Kafka
This Week: It’s All in the Game—I Love The Vampire Diaries—It’s the Economy, Stupid—Joss Whedon Is My Master Now—Kyle Killen Has Influence—Feeling Blue? TV Can Help!—This Week in Casts—This Week in Cats
It's All in the Game
Many, many years ago I lived in a fairly rough neighborhood. I tried to watch The Wire, and I failed. It was too much like walking three blocks down to the projects—who wants to invite that into their living room? Now that I live in super-posh Hollywood, CA (that’s a joke if you know Hollywood), I decided to try again. And you know what? The Wire isn’t just as good as everyone says. It’s better.
It took me a while to realize just how good it is, because it is so lifelike: like a good documentary, you feel like you are there, in Baltimore, invested in all the various sides of the drug trade and rooting for heroes both expected and unexpected. The verisimilitude is astonishing, and it took me an entire season to really wrap my head around the fact that it was fictional. Fantasy-novel fans talk about world-building, but I dare them to find a fantasy novel with a more cohesive, complicated, rich, troubling, and nuanced world than this portrayal of an American city teetering on the brink of urban death.
So this week’s recommendation: The Wire. Watch it now. Now, I say!
I Love the Vampire Diaries!
A new promo for the upcoming fourth season of my favorite vampire show (sorry, Billie) is now available here. If your heart breaks a little whenever Nina Dobrev looks sad, you might want to get a box of tissue and a pint of ice cream before following the link.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
Next summer’s sixth season of True Blood, the first under new showrunner Mark Hudis, will be only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12. Outgoing showrunner Alan Ball says there are two reasons—or three, depending on how you count: star Anna Paquin is expecting twins, and the economy still sucks.
J.O.S.S. W.H.E.D.O.N. Is My M.A.S.T.E.R. Now
Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen will helm a new show S.H.I.E.L.D. for ABC. As I have not seen The Avengers yet, I will M.U.T.I.L.A.T.E anyone who spoils that film in the comments to this week’s Doux News. S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y.
Kyle Killen Has Influence
Although only three people watched it, all of us really enjoyed Kyle Killen’s Awake last year. So at least two of us are delighted that he’s been offered yet another chance to wow us on a weekly basis: ABC has committed to a pilot of Influence, a story about two brothers who approach “the real science of human motivation and manipulation” from very different perspectives.
While Awake, like Killen’s first show Lone Star, focused on one man living two lives, Influence clearly is about two men. I’m excited to see how Killen’s preoccupation with duality changes under this new format. So excited, in fact, that I don’t really care that the show is about them running an ad agency, which sounds horribly boring.
Feeling Blue? TV Can Help!
A new study in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal (Seriously, that’s its name. Would anyone like a comma? Or something?) has found that people “seek out familiar fictional worlds to become rejuvenated.” They focused especially on TV reruns—and, weirdly enough, the kind of reruns you find by accident, like an old I Love Lucy rather than a Firefly marathon on SyFy. I guess they’re not genre fans.
Regardless, it’s fascinating research. To me, at least: I thought this was something only I did, although for me it’s more about re-reading familiar books than re-watching TV. I can measure my stress by how many times I’ve re-read Heinlein’s To Sail Beyond the Sunset in a given year. (So far: 5 times. It’s been a bad year.) And, as the researchers found, I feel better after I spend some time in a familiar fictional world.
What about you? Do you watch your favorite TV shows or movies when you’re stressed out? Do you re-read favorite books? Do you think introverts are more likely to have this habit? Or is it universal?
This Week in Casts
I wasn’t the only one to immediately cotton to Sebastian Stan’s Mad Hatter on Once Upon a Time, was I? Well, even if I was, I’m happy to report that Mr. Stan will return for no fewer than three episodes early in Season Two, according to the inestimable Ausiello.
In other Once news, Jorge Garcia will play a giant in just one (at least one?) episode this season. I hope he’s a giant who finally gets the girl. I’m sick of Jorge Garcia getting stuck with the virginal roles. Give the guy some play, please!
This Week in Cats
Our beloved existentialist friend Henri has posted yet another update about his journey towards nihilistic acceptance of life’s vagaries. Perhaps now that he has won the Golden Kitty Award from the first-ever Cat Video Film Festival, he will find more meaning in life: