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Doux News: March 31, 2013

This Week: Renewals, Cancellations, and Uncertainties -- More Wonderland News -- FX: Now with 50% More X -- Scientists Refuse to Suspend Disbelief, World Gasps -- World War Z -- Coming Soon to Your Computer -- Coming Soon to Your TV -- Speaking of Peeps…. -- Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary -- What’s Re-reading For?

Renewals, Cancellations, and Uncertainties

The Americans, Arrow, The Following, Hawaii Five-0, Person of Interest, How I Met Your Mother, Elementary, Justified, Person of Interest, Supernatural, and The Vampire Diaries have all been renewed for another season of delightfulness. Of the shows I watch, Community is the most uncertain—most of the sites I’ve visited (including TV by the Numbers) have is as possible, either way. What’s crazy is that I’m in the same situation: I could go either way on whether or not to bother with another season of that once-beloved zany comedy.

More Wonderland News

As J.D. reported last week, that Once Upon a Time spin-off about the Mad Hatter is now about Alice instead. This week, the role of Alice has been cast: actress Sophie Lowe from Australia. (I’m hoping Belle pops in to Alice’s Wonderland for a quick Aussie visit.) Michael Socha (Being Human, across-the-pond version) will play the Knave of Hearts.

FX: Now with 50% More X

American cable channel FX is transforming its sister station Fox Soccer into a brother station: FXX. FXX will focus on the 18-34 demographic with such shows as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and Legit. How does the channel differ from the 18-49 demographic? Dude, it has more X.

In other FX news, Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse are collaborating on a new vampire drama. Production on the pilot starts this summer. FX is also planning to start production on a TV show based on the movie Fargo in December, so now is a good time to gas up the woodchipper.

Scientists Refuse to Suspend Disbelief, World Gasps

A new article in Wired magazine revealed something previously unknown to mortal man: scientists can ruin anything, no matter how fictional. Confronted with the gigantic ice wall guarded by the Night’s Watch in the TV show Game of Thrones (and the books, of course), engineer Mary Albert explained that “even at very cold temperatures, large ice masses deform under their own weight. And over long time scales, ice flows, so it would not hold its original shape for thousands of years.” So now we know--Games of Thrones is nothing more than fiction. Arrrrgggghhhh!

Speaking of Arrgghh...

There’s a trailer out for the re-jiggered Brad Pitt movie World War Z, based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks. The trailer reveals that zombies are super-fast, swarmy corpses who could totally take over the Earth like ants, if ants were really big and had thumbs. The trailer also reveals that this movie has nothing to do with the book it is allegedly based on, which is a pity. The book was a lovely, moving, funny, sad, all-that-and-the-kitchen-sink exercise in creating exciting first-person narratives. I don’t think I’ll bother to see the movie. Will you?

Coming Soon to Your Computer

The Wachowski siblings (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas) have teamed up with J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5 for a 10-episode Netflix series set to air in late 2014. Called Sense8, the series was described in a press release “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.” The Wachowskis explained that “several years ago we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born.”

Coming Soon to Your TV

The Hollywood Reporter, er, reported that we have a new television channel to look forward to. The all-lowercase pivot will premiere in early August, and feature a TV show from Joseph Gordon-Levitt that has something to do with YouTube, as well as WILL, an all-caps serialized drama about William Shakespeare (Billy to his peeps). The channel will also air re-runs of Friday Night Lights, Farscape, and the Canadian drama Little Mosque on the Prairie, which for some reason never aired in the US.

Speaking of Peeps…

Happy Easter, if that’s your thing! Also, happy Game of Thrones Season Three premiere. To wet your whistle, here’s a recap of Season Two.

Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary

News about the now-filming Doctor Who anniversary special continues to leak out. Most recently, David Tennant and Billie Piper were confirmed as playing some sort of role in the special. And—perhaps more interestingly, perhaps not—John Hurt will apparently have a featured role.

What’s Re-reading For?

After reading, enjoying, and recommending Jo Walton’s Among Others a few weeks ago, I did some interneting and found a series of columns Walton has posted on the Tor website. One of her posts is entitled “What’s Reading For?” In that column, she “reading is usually the most fun I can have at any moment.” (How true!) But she also addresses a group of readers who see reading as a moral or intellectual obligation, and who had, on a previous post, begun “talking about prescribing childhood reading and talking about books as if they were vitamins that you should take because they’re good for you. There were comments about the immorality of re-reading because it causes you to miss new books, and comments about learning morality from reading. It all became surprisingly Victorian.”

I’m guilty of feeling guilty about re-reading, especially those dozen or so books that I’ve read so many times I can’t get anything new out of them. (Dark Tower, I’m lookin’ at you.) But I’m also a fan of re-reading, especially with a nice gap between reads. I’m still surprised that my recent fourth reading of Jane Eyre was so eye-opening. It’s a whole nother book once you’re over 30.

And I’m equally guilty of feeling guilty about re-watching. Right now, 11 episodes of Arrow are stacked up on my DVR—but I’m watching the commentaries for Lost Seasons Five and Six. The original Prisoner TV show has been in my Netflix queue for eons, but I’d rather re-watch Angel or Buffy. I don’t think re-watching is immoral—that’s absurd. But I do worry that too much re-watching or re-reading starts to limit my horizons rather than broadening them. Sure, I can always discover something new about an old story…but isn’t it sometimes better to discover something new about something new?

Anyway, I thought I’d throw the question to the smartest group of people I know: all of you. Where do you stand on re-reading or re-watching? What are some books, TV shows, or films you’re always happy to re-experience? What do you get out of a second or third (or thirtieth) watch or read? And what “classics” (again, books or visual media) do you feel like you should experience, but haven’t bothered to read or watch?


  1. World War Z was filmed AGES ago but they've spent at least a year editing it and trying to fix it. Never, ever a good sign.

    I love a good reread/rewatch. If there's enough of a gap, you get an entirely new perspective. Even if you just watched it/read it, you get new stuff every time. I've probably read Harry Potter all the way through at least a dozen times. I'm not exaggerating, I swear. Still, when I overindulge I find whatever I'm watching/reading loses its punch over time, you know? You may *understand* it better, but the butterflies are gone.

  2. Another channel? Interesting, although anything with Billy will get me to watch at least once. Speaking of which, Amazon Streaming is getting into Netflix territory and is going to be releasing its own series at some point within the next year or so.

    I grinned when I read your section on re-reading and re-watching as I had the same debate with myself yesterday. I had the week from hell, full of commitments, deadlines and funerals; so, by yesterday, I was shattered. I am a full week behind in all the shows I watch; I have about eight to watch for the “New Shows” piece; I am nearly through season three of Dexter; I am currently reading a biography of Ben Bradlee for an article I am writing on Watergate that I should have finished by now. I couldn’t bear the thought of any of them.

    What did I do? I fired up my iPad and read Little Women for the 284th time (maybe not, but you know what I mean). I’m not sure we are meant to get something new every time we re-read a book or re-watch a show. Sometimes, in a world where things are constantly shifting and people can be challenging, it is comforting to go to a place where you know exactly what is going to happen next and exactly who the characters are. Sometimes, even these characters that you know so well surprise you; it occurred to me yesterday that Jo March is probably one of the strongest influences of my becoming a writer so long ago.

    When it comes to shows, my problem is less about what I should watch and more about the fact that I struggle to give up a show once I start watching it. Similarly, I will struggle through a book I dislike until the bitter end. Most of the shows I grow to dislike or that grow to bore me usually only last a season, so like the book, I struggle through to the end. When I saw that The Following had been renewed, I groaned. Another year of this nonsense? I realized how ridiculous that was and immediately removed the show from my weekly list. Life is, all too often, all too short.

    Similarly, I have given up trying to read books I should read because someone else (usually my English professor parents) told me I should. I am nearly always in the middle of more than one book. As I write this, I am in the middle of four, three of them new to me. Not reading enough has never been a problem for me!

    For those of you who celebrate the day, I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of goodies.

  3. Between S2 and S3 of Game of Thrones, I've managed to re-read books 3, 4, and 5. I have a feeling I'll be reading them all again several times over before the next book comes out.
    And I've been re-watching Shameless with some girlfriends who haven't seen it before.

    I also feel like I need to actually finish reading Anna Karenina. It's just so big.

    ALSO YAY FOR GAME OF THRONES IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS. We get to see our blessed chihuahua once more.

  4. Great post Josie!

    I got a bit laugh with your re-reading/re-watching paragraph! I don't feel guilty about it (in fact lately I'll only buy a physical dvd or book if I think I will be watching/reading it more than once!), but I do recognise it limits my horizons somewhat in that it leaves me less time for mew stuff. But like ChrisB said, the familiar is often comforting! I read The Secret Garden maybe once a year. I have no idea how many times I've read Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (for a time there I also read them once a year), The Dark is Rising sequence, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy and on and on and on... I've discovered a pattern though! Most of those I regularly return to are books that were important to me in childhood/adolescence. Kind of like comfort food. And those are the books I inevitably pick up if I'm feeling a bit down.
    Movies on dvd I've rewatched many, many times! TV series less so because they're so loooong! But I have seen Buffy, Angel, all of Star Trek, BSG perhaps 3-4 times so there are some exceptions... And shorter ones like Firefly even more! :p

    Like Chris I need to make more of an effort to DROP shows I'm watching out of intertia, "just to see how they end it". I'd probably be just as happy reading the summaries and saving time!

    As for World War Z... it's got Brad Pitt!!! So yes, I'm there! Haven't read the book so can't compare. But I trust his judgment for the projects he picks about 95% of the time. ;o) (and the trailer looks cool!) :p

  5. Quoting you, no, Jo : ""It all became surprisingly Victorian."" Here we go again, people deciding what is good for others ! Please !!

    Live and let live ! Every time that I enter a book store (and by some magic, I loose track of time) I am STILL immensely flabbergasted at the number of new books coming up every year. So many out there, it is IMPOSSIBLE to go through all of it. So many, wow, insane really...

    If you love a book, a movie, a TV show, where is the harm in indulging yourself again ? Live and let live. Do I do it ? Of course. Will I stop ? No. Do I enjoy it ? Asking the question is answering it !

    I love to read, but when we have a fabulous sunshine outside after a snowy winter, I prefer to go outside.

    Yay for G of T ! I enjoy this one a lot and I HAVEN'T read the books....and I don't intent to ! Matter of personal choice, just simply. Did read AND see all the H Potter's on the other hand. Do not try to understand !

    FYI, the bunny up there is my fave bunny of all times.

  6. Cris

    Tu me d├ępasses, tu es tout le temps en train de te promener (ou presque) !

  7. Curse the cable universe! It's just not natural that I should be so excited for the very end of my weekend to arrive. But I'm on tenterhooks waiting for 9:00 p.m. to just GET HERE already! First up: Game of Thrones. Followed by a quick bathroom break and then a dive into the season finale of The Walking Dead. I've been looking forward to the finale for a few weeks, so that I can let go my unhealthy obsession with TWD, but now here comes GoT to take its place. Erg. :)

    As for re-watching/re-reading, I'm all for it. Like others have noted, I love to re-immerse myself in a familiar universe. And if its been a good while since I've seen/read it the first time, it often feels like rediscovering the material again. Plus, at least one reread can often reveal new layers, when you already know where things are going. And the passage of time and your own personal experience definitely brings a new perspective to the reading/viewing experience, so it is
    never exactly the same a second time through. Yes, there is a lot of new material out there to discover and enjoy, but there's also lots of dreck. Time spent with something you know is great (or very much to your liking), versus time spent with
    something you may end up hating, is not time wasted.

    The "Bitter Ender"/"I Wish I Knew How to Quit You" conundrum, on the other hand ... if only things you've grown to dislike didn't have the ability to shift back into something you can love again. Then it would be so much easier to just let go.

    I guess I'm going to have to give this "pivot" channel a try. If they are rerunning two of my all time favorite series, then odds are high that they might bring me something new of interest. Of course, now I'll really have to get back to the Farscape reviews. I wish I had enough time to watch new stuff, rewatch old stuff, AND write about old stuff. Curse my inability to express thoughts briefly!

  8. My apartment is fairly small, and yet I have ten bookcases in it, as well as books stacked up in the bedroom closet. I've read them all. Periodically, I bag up the books I'm not going to read again and donate them. But re-reading something you love is like snuggling up with your beloved cat -- it's a warm and wonderful pleasure, something you know is going to relax you and make you happy.

    I'm re-reading Pride and Prejudice right now. I have no idea why.

  9. I love to re-read/re-watch books and shows because it is so relaxing. The first time through, I always feel a certain level of stress and curiosity that can only be sated by completing the book/series as quickly as possible. I tend to ignore life and anyone who might be around if I'm really enjoying it. My husband recognizes "the look" and kindly lets me finish without complaint. But when I read or watch again, I can relax and just enjoy the story.

    I've read all of Austen more than once (some more than 5x) and seen the most recent versions easily 4-5 times each. Like sunbunny, I've read Harry Potter a dozen times (including twice in French). LOTR is also at the top of my reread and rewatch list. When I want to escape for a little while, returning to a known world is often the best option.

    That being said, I also enjoy new worlds and I find so many of those here at Doux. The comfort of knowing that the reviewers on this site enjoyed them enough to write about them, makes them easy to dive into--and eventually rewatch:)

  10. A quick follow-up on the re-watching issue. The hubby and I have been rewatching the first two seasons of Game of Thrones over the last couple weeks, and I've noticed that this second time through, I've been able to appreciate the show even more for what it is. The first time through, I was constantly stacking it up against my expectations from the book and doing the whole "Well, this is different, and that is different, and I wish they hadn't changed X, Y, Z." But, this time, already knowing the changes that had been made, it was much easier to just sink into the world and appreciate the show's version of the story for what it is. Last night we watched the last episode of S2, and I found myself actually liking what they did with the House of the Undying sequence. Since I didn't have book expectations anymore, I was able to really lose myself in the sequence and enjoy it for what it was.

    Similarly, the hubby has found it much more enjoyable to watch the second time, because he's not confused about who all the characters are and what's happening. He knows what's what now, and has really been enjoying the journey. So, sometimes, a rewatch can actually be more rewarding than a first viewing!

  11. Billie - I'm in the middle of P&P (again) too!

  12. Pride and Prejudice is one of the four I am in the middle of. Wonder why we all have this one on the brain these days?


  13. Stoked about the Del Toro news. I just watched Mama a few nights ago and really enjoyed it.

    I confess, I'm not much of a re-reader. The books I re-read tend to be books I read as a child (which I occasionally re-read out of curiosity... just to see whether they were any good), Stephen King's 'Christine' (because it was the first adult book I ever read which made me feel as though I understood the characters completely), Alexandre Dumas' 'The Count of Monte Cristo' (because... awesome!), and Daniel Keyes' 'Flowers for Algernon' (because it makes me feel all the feels). There are others, but I'm pretty much in the life's too short and the list of potential books endless category.

    I do re-watch a lot of TV/films, however. TV serves up its goodies no matter what your mental state. I can't read books when I'm mentally worn out, yet visual entertainment I can handle. Maybe it's because less effort is required in building worlds; it's all been done for you. I'm a bit of a one for extras, too. Somehow I think they make the visual arts more bookish. Whereas in books we know what the characters are thinking, films/TV seldom pull this off convincingly. Commentaries and documentaries fill in those blanks for me. They explain motivations, de-construct plot developments, and generally round out my awareness of what's going on. In essence, they make the visual arts almost as complete as the written. Almost!

  14. Just listened to an NPR This American Life podcast with a story about how comforting reruns can be (specifically, predictable sitcoms and such): http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/226/reruns

  15. I've been reading to my kids for years, and I always pre-read everything. We're in the middle of The Princess Bride right now (which is still a lot of fun). My daughter decided (at 12) that she was too old for this, which, it turns out, was mostly because she couldn't wait to finish the Deathly Hallows... Now (at 14) she hovers nearby as I read to my 10 year old son ... and she pretends to not be listening.

    Personally, I just finished To Kill A Mockingbird again, which hasn't lost any of its charm or wisdom in the dozen or so times I've read it...

  16. I love re-reading and re-watching, sometimes even more than reading or watching something for the first time! For me, books and TV are all about escapism. I love my favourite fictional worlds, and I tend to stick to them. When I re-read or re-watch something I love, it's like returning to a place I love :)

    Also, I'm currently in the process of re-watching the first season of Supernatural :) It's wonderful to see how much the show has evolved since its beginnings... and I don't mean it in a bad way. I love the first few seasons, less angel-demon war and more horror stuff...

    ... I'll stop ranting now.

  17. Coming from the perspective of and English professor, I see re-reading a well-written text as a natural and rewarding act. A major part of my job is to re-read the works I assign my students, and I always find it to be a pleasurable and enlightening experience.

    I just heard a This American Life American Icon episode on The Great Gatsby. Interestingly, many of the writers they interviewed including Jonathan Franzen said they re-read Gatsby often, some re-read it every year. It seems to have had an influence on their own writing. Many of us who enjoy writing and, certainly, those of us who write for a living or teach writing for a living re-read as a way to study good writing, even if we don't realize that is why we are doing it. This has been such an enjoyable topic!


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