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Doux News: September 9, 2012

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:


  1. Yea! Josie is now on board with The Wire! Let me second her "Watch it now. Now, I say!" It's funny that the too familiar "reality" of the world initially turned you off, because it was seeing the city I grew up near and worked in for years brought to vivid life that is part of what drew me to the series in the first place. And, of course, the wonderful, wonderful characters.

    Great news about Kyle Killen. A show about "human motivation and manipulation" set in an ad agency sounds utterly fascinating to me. That's one of the aspects of Mad Men I've always found most intriguing. The look "behind the curtain" at the way the advertising field totally manipulates us. Although, I can imagine it might be tough to gin up advertiser support without the period trappings. :)

  2. I'll third that "Watch it now. Now, I say!".

  3. LOL

    There were an article on our local newspaper.....about the cat film festival. And I almost sent ya the URL...Almost LOL

    Sorry to tell you, but Henri's French is NOT prefect. But he's a cat AND gorgeous, so totally forgiven. And way better looking that the white one.

    The Wire : another one indeed incensed by the critics and now you. (same thing with Breaking Bad, but, wo, too much for me)

    Just wondering here : if you've watched Lost so many times, is your Life THAT hard ? Don't tell me you work in a coal mine.

  4. Life can be hard in all kinds of ways. You don't have to work in a coal mine to be stressed and miserable. And I do find good television (and books) to be a necessary escape.

    The Wire is brilliant. The season about the kids in particular stayed with me for a long time. In fact, I think it's still with me.

  5. I know what you mean, Billie. Such a fantastic season! Does it weird you out when you see those young actors in other places? Especially in less serious roles? On the one hand, it is lovely to see those faces in happier circumstances, but on the other, it somehow doesn't seem right to see "Michael" in ads for the 90210 remake or to see "Randy" on Suburgatory. (Although Maestro Harrell is pretty funny as Malik.)

    Truth be told, it weirds me out a little to see any of The Wire actors in different roles. At least for a time. I eventually warmed to Lance Reddick as Broyles on Fringe, and I came to really adore Michael B. Jordan (Wallace) as Vince on Friday Night Lights. But seeing Michael K. Williams, Clarke Peters, Jim True Frost, Wendell Pierce, Andre Royo, and so many others in other roles is still tough for me.

  6. I just finished the season with the kids (Season Four) a few days ago. (I haven't watched Season Five yet.) It really hit me, too. The extraordinary measures that had to be taken just to get a kid off the corner were heartbreaking. And Herc! Don't get me started. Grr!

    Billie, it's true that life can be hard outside of a coal mine. But, as a coal miner, I do think I get first dibs on hardness. :-)

  7. For some reason I find myself hoping that Garcia's character is based on Oscar Wilde's "The Selfish Giant" It just seems like a role that would fit him and I dearly loved the story when I read it as a child.

  8. Ok, let's face it AND admit it :

    a) the ENTIRE planet has become a coal mine in this twenty-first century...

    b) thanks to TV, movies and books, we are keeping our sanity.....

    (and c)) I'm waiting to see The Wire on sale on the stands....same with Breaking Bad. And the Sopranos, and a few more. It never ends.

  9. I promise to watch the Wire at some point..for now I've got Oz to catch up with. Great show.
    Oh and Christopher Eccleston is up for the villain part in the new Thor movie..Mads Mikkelsen had to turn it down for some reason..Still, this is great news.

  10. Sorry, I always seem to be the one who asks this, I don't mean to bug, but when are we going to get some more Farscape reviews?
    I want to carry on my re-watch, but don't want to do it without Jess's reviews!

  11. No need to apologize, Stephen! It's good to know there is still interest out there. Unfortunately, the answer at the moment is "not anytime soon." I'm battling some back problems that have severely restricted my extra-curricular computer time, so at present I'm not doing any reviews. I'm really sorry to leave you hanging on your Farscape rewatch. And I'm especially sorry to bail on those of you who were following the reviews for the current season of Warehouse 13. (Although to be honest, I'm in a very negative space with that show right now, so I doubt the reviews would be an enjoyable read.)

    Again, my apologies to everyone. When I'm able to start reviewing again, I'm hoping to restart with Farscape.

  12. Ah too bad about that Jess..really liked your reviews of Farscape. Warehouse 13 is in a bad place now so I know what you mean. Rumours of cancellation abound..we'll see i guess.

  13. (Aw SOB !) Sorry to hear that about you Jess. Bad space or good, I ALWAYS enjoy your reviews !

    One day at a time ! Get better ASAP !

    A ps : bad space or good, the best thing right now about W-13.....is Claudia....

  14. Jess -- a very late response, but I just saw your comment about your back. Been there, my friend, and I know how painful it can be.

    Take good care of yourself and get better soon!

  15. Thanks for the positive thoughts, all! I'm on the mend, and hopefully won't be sidelined for too, too long. I'm sure the start of the fall season will keep you all awash in new content, which will maybe take the sting out of the delay on the retro content. :)


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