Saturday, September 17, 2005

TV Thoughts

Chris asked what shows had caught my attention. Since I'm hoping some day to be a published Christian writer whose blog might some day come under scrutiny, I had some reservations about publicly listing what shows I'm going to explore. Among the Christians I know, there are a wide variety of tastes and beliefs. Even in the 21st Century, I hear arguments that science and religion must be in conflict. The Harry Potter books and movies are also controversial in the Christian world. I have good friends on both sides of the fence. Some find Harry Potter to be delightful fantasy-a fun and harmless use of imagination that has encouraged many children to enjoy the wonderful world of books again. Other Christians find the witchcraft elements - however unbelievable to be a dangerous and perhaps sinful influence on young minds.

Because of our involvement in the Science Fiction community these past 30 years, I can say truthfully that while there are atheists and agnostics in that community, there are also faithful Christians who both write and read science fiction. There is a group at World Con each year that makes sure there are worship services. Some years there are even Jewish services.

I have found over time that I like many fantasy books - some include magic, but not necessarily "witchcraft." Some of these have magic as an innate ability (Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books and Katherine Kurtz Deryni series for example). Others are more like Superman in that the planet where the story originates has special geology or chemistry, or plants, etc that give the characters their "super" powers. Terry Pratchett's Ringworld series with his amazing suitcase are light, funny and I find them delightful to read.

Some writers, however, explore darker aspects of both human nature, and good versus evil. Some I can read and enjoy when good triumphs over supreme evil because there are noble and good characters. Some books are just too dark with no "redeeming" qualities.

I read some books because I have met the author or heard the author speak on panels. When I am impressed with someone, I will try to read one of their books. I was impressed with Ellen Kushner's presentation at one of the World Fantasy Conventions. She has a wonderful show on PBS radio. I also saw Delia Sherman on panels and was impressed. While I made it through their book "The Fall of the Kings," I can't recommend it as Christian reading - too dark, and way too much evil. I look for redemption and I don't remember finding any. It really left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not sure I will pick up another book written by either of these ladies.

I'm sure that after a few episodes, some of these shows will drop quickly off my radar. I intended to watch all of Battlestar Galactica. But Henry lost interest quickly in the show. After I mentioned that I was finding it dark, he went ahead and deleted it from the TIVO. I probably would have waded through it, just because there are some impressive things about the show. But the plots had some pretty dark elements - and the filming style accentuated this "darkness." Being a continuing series, I would want to pick back up where I left off. But there are other shows that I find so much more enjoyable that I'm not sure I want to spend my time watching humanity struggle to survive. Life has enough difficult and painful moments, I want my TV to be relaxing and fun - not to add stress.

So . . . . . . here's my initial list:
"Ghost Whisperer"
"Out of Practice" (Henry Winkler ande Stockhard Channing - HAVE to give it a shot. I saw Winkler on Broadway - NOT Fonzie anymore!)
"Threshold" (Brent Spiner - another have to see what he's up to)
"Three Wishes" (Amy Grant . . . . it seems to be in conflict with two other shows already set up, I'll have to figure out what the conflict is - perhaps I'll watch that one "live".)
"Night Stalker"

I've seen the first episode of "Supernatural." It seems to be going down the "scary" side. While it seems to have "good" characters fighting evil, the evil is pretty intense. It may fall off the radar quickly due to the "darkness element."

I don't care much for most sit coms - and I don't have any interest in "Reality TV" at all.

Other continuing shows that I like Monk, Medium, Veronica Mars, Smallville (although it wandered off onto the dark side last year), I have not watched any Wildfire yet, but the episodes are sitting there waiting for me. I saw the pilot for the 4400, but I need to see the first season(s) for the new episodes to make sense. I've seen a few Numbers, but not enough to have formed an opinion.

Since I don't get TV Guide anymore, I may have missed some promising shows, but this was what my initial search pulled up. And as Stargate and Stargate Atlantis are wrapping up their season, I'm glad to have some new shows to try out.

1 comment:

Chris Nystrom said...

You don't watch L O S T?!?!