Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall TV

They say that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, but I came close last night. It's funny how when I make a to-do list for myself, things take longer than I anticipate, but when I make a lesson plan for choir, things don't take nearly as long as I anticipate. Fortunately, I always plan for at least one extra item, and I did have to resort to the extra item, but the extra item was just enough. The Problem Child was late, and for a moment I thought we'd be off the hook for the evening. The other kids were rambunctious, but not obnoxious, and they were doing that endearing kindergarten thing of really, really wanting to impress the teacher and having to tell me all kinds of things about what happened in school that day. Then Problem Child showed up, and the boys immediately forgot about wanting to impress the teacher as they joined him in running around like crazy and ignoring everything any adult said. I don't know what it is about this kid that gives him this power over other kids. He just gets them in trouble and keeps them from actually having fun with the group, but they all want to be just like him. Meanwhile, I have several very proper little girls who are not at all amused by the boys' antics. As one little girl said very earnestly when I was explaining the class rules, "If you talk when someone is talking, that's called interrupting." Said with big, sincere eyes at me, and then a sidelong glare at the boys. I may have scared Problem Child a bit because just as I was telling him not to run because the floor is slick and he might fall down, he fell down. He looked at me with a bit of awe, like I'd done it to him, and I gave him an enigmatic smile with a hint of satisfaction. Though I doubt the lesson stuck. He was running around like a maniac during dinner, and his parents barely looked at him. I sat with his parents at dinner, and I repeated the "running will get him hurt and he has to stop that in my class" message a few dozen times. Oh, and I've learned from the teacher who had him last year that he actually likes time outs, so they don't work for punishment. I don't care about punishment. I just want to stop the running around. I suspect the other boys don't like time outs as much, and maybe if they suffer consequence from following his lead, he'll lose some of his power. Yes, I am now planning psychological warfare against five year olds.

Ah, well, at least I have a week to recover before I face them again. And it's going to be a good TV weekend. Friday night is the season premiere of Haven, and it takes me back to the Friday nights of X-Files days, in which I settled in on the sofa and created the proper atmosphere for absorbing all the details of a spooky show. It's still too hot for the blanket and hot cocoa, and candles don't work so well with the ceiling fan running, but I have the electronic candles. One reason I like this show is that I can't usually predict it (even though they often end up having the same plot elements that show up in whatever I was writing at the same time they were writing episodes -- I just can't predict which plot elements we'll both have grabbed from the ether). Last season ended with a mega-cliffhanger, and unlike most series, I haven't managed to mentally write the conclusion. Also, it was big enough a cliffhanger that I doubt it will be neatly wrapped up in the first minute of the show before they move on to another story, as happens far too often on TV. So, basically, calling me between 9 and 10 central time on Friday would be a bad move. Really, make that all of Friday evening because I will be finishing my season three marathon, probably with pizza and wine. Though I may have to plan a post-episode debriefing with a friend.

Then on Sunday night, Foyle's War is back on PBS. This is a mystery series that was about World War II in England, with the titular detective Foyle working in Hastings, near the coast. He wanted to get in the action of the war and tried to come up with all kinds of excuses why he was no good for the police force, but they needed him more as a cop to solve all kinds of war-related mysteries on the home front. Now the war is over, so it will be interesting to see where they take the series in the post-war era. My favorite part of the series was the quasi-father/daughter relationship between Foyle and his spunky young female driver, a proper vicar's daughter defying her father by getting involved in the war effort in the motor pool (the kind of job Queen Elizabeth did during the war). I'm hoping they'll find a way to continue that even after they're no longer working together or maybe find another excuse for them to work together.

The other night when there was some kind of delay in the TV schedule and I had to wait a while before the thing I planned to watch came on, I killed time by watching some of the network fall preview things that were available OnDemand. NBC's Dracula looks absolutely terrible. I found it hard to tell what was going on from the preview, though it seems as though they're somehow Twilighting the Dracula myth. I'm normally all over anything that even looks Victorian, but the pretty here wasn't enough to get me past the head-scratching. Not to mention, even the three-minute trailer was dull enough that it lost my interest.

However, I was rather pleasantly surprised by Fox's Sleepy Hollow trailer. I hadn't really put any thought into the series and watched the trailer out of curiosity, and then found myself watching the other material they had posted. It seems that Ichabod Crane was working for George Washington, died(?) fighting the Headless Horseman, and then has somehow been revived or brought back to life -- along with his nemesis and a bunch of other nasty stuff -- in the present day. Now he has to work with the one detective who believes him. The trailer reminded me a lot of Grimm and Haven, in that it looks like it will be a paranormal procedural that covers some dark topics, but does so with a lot of humor and snark. It's a dark world where the people are funny. The rapport between the two leads reminds me of Elementary or early Haven, with a nice mix of "you and me against the world," snarky banter and growing friendship. And then there's the fish-out-of-water element, which is the source for a lot of the humor. The part of the trailer that cracked me up, though, was when the cops who apparently aren't in on the secret encounter the Headless Horseman. They first see him from behind, where the giant collar on his coat obscures what isn't there. They start to tell him to turn around and put his hands on his head, but the words trail off when they realize he doesn't have one. Then one cop says to the other, "Can he even hear us?"

This one premieres Monday night, and I've gone from "maybe I'll check that out eventually OnDemand" to "I am SO watching this." But I have a feeling it'll make the final episode of Over the Dumb/Too Stupid to Live Theatre, or as the network calls it, Under the Dome, even more painful. That show has to win an award for worst execution of an intriguing premise. I was in when I thought it was a limited series with a defined endpoint, but they've renewed it and I'm out after I snark at the finale on Monday.

As part of my marketing efforts, I've decided to revive (yet again) my sporadic Stealth Geek blog to talk about all this geeky TV stuff in more detail and with spoilers so that I don't clutter this blog or spoil those outside the US. Maybe a dedicated blog that isn't an overt author blog will allow other people interested in the topics to discover me and then maybe eventually buy books. I'll post pointers here for those who want to follow both.

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