Friday, May 25, 2007

The Boob Toob -- Or Is It "Bube Tube"?

Did you guys see the finale of Lost this week? Was your mind not blown? And what about Heroes? I mean, a dude gets run through with a samurai sword, another gets transported to feudal Japan, and let us not forget the thermonuclear explosion. And for those of you who think I just spoiled it, shut up and watch the show. It's not what you think.

There were a few duds this year, too. I watched every damn hour of 24 this season just because last season was so awesome, but I cannot count the ways in which this show sucked. It basically took a plot element from each previous season and mooshed them together to make a wad of boring. And it started off well, too, which just makes its nosedive into crap that much more frustrating.

I did watch the three or four episodes of Drive that actually made it on the air. I figured if Nathan Fillion was the star it probably had to have something going for it. And it did, I think. Each episode managed to at least make me curious about what was going on, but I think the formula of complete strangers with murky pasts being thrown together for unknown reasons by unseen forces is getting played out. And the Matrix-style camera work on all the highway scenes, while executed adequately, just didn't add anything. It felt like scenes couldn't begin until the special effects got out of the way.

But at least Drive wasn't as craptacular as Studio 60. Holy shit, that show sucked. Was Aaron Sorkin always so condescending with his writing? Why am I just noticing this now? And I know that pretty much every real critic who's discussed the show has already pointed this out, but you can't have a show about comedy writers who are supposed to be geniuses and then show their material and have it TOTALLY BLOW.

So, as this television season comes to a close, I think I can safely say that Battlestar Galactica remains the best show that I can see, since I don't have HBO or Showtime and therefore I don't get to watch The Sopranos or Rome or anything awesome like that until it comes out on DVD. I will add that Friday Night Lights is far and away the best show on network television, and probably the best new show of the year.

O, Television! Whate'er would I be without thee? Curse you, Sweeps Week!

In On Writing, Stephen King suggests that we would all probably be better off if we just chucked our TVs out the window. I cannot help but think that is true, especially when I look back at the ruin my writing time has become in the past few weeks. It's an addiction. I am helpless against its charms. I'd be all right if they would just stop making shows that were so damn good.

It's the serial drama. I cannot get enough of them. Add that to the resurgence of science fiction as a popular television genre, and what am I supposed to do? Between Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Heroes and even Supernatural I have enough nerd-fodder to last me several lifetimes. Add to that shows like Friday Night Lights and The Riches and I might as well just live on the couch, subsisting entirely on Tostitos and cheese dip.

Thank goodness for summer re-runs. I can safely ignore them, and maybe now I'll actually get something done -- like catch up on my Netflix queue.


Have you guys seen this yet? I knew I should have gone to that extras casting call.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The First Draft of Anything Is Always Shit

So says Ernest Hemingway, who I suspect knew a thing or two about writing. I know nothing of writing, or so I am discovering. Or rather, I know nothing of re-writing. I don't think I've ever really seriously sat down and tried it before.

That's not to say I've never corrected anything I've written before. I mean, my dad was a writer. I couldn't write a two-page book report for my seventh grade English class without my dad marking it up with weird editorial symbols and sending me back down to make revisions on the old Commodore 64. But that was all cosmetic stuff. Spelling punctuation, adjusting the occasional turn of phrase. I never had to dig something out that had been sitting for a while and actually create a new draft that was significantly different -- and, more importantly, improved -- from the original.

Okay, the truth now. I suspect there was some composition class in high school that covered this. I guarantee that I was not paying attention, and did not do the homework.

Now, however, I find myself wanting to be a real writer. I have a first draft of a short story in my backpack which I carry around almost everywhere I go. I also have the draft of the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo in a pile next to my computer here at home. I think both of them contain ideas that could make great reads, but neither of them are there yet. And if I knew what the next step was, I would surely take it.

I'll figure it out. I kind of have to, really. It's either that or spend the rest of my life schlepping. I hate schlepping.

I am reminded of another quote, this one from Gloria Steinem: "I do not like to write. I like to have written."

That's me all over.