Friday Night Sci Fi Goodness
The advantage of living in a small, relatively uneventful town is that I don't feel terribly guilty about watching TV. Sure there are events scheduled throughout the year, friends to hang with and outdoor activities to do (ha!), but for the most part my family and I stick around the house. This means interacting with them, of course, which I do, but it also means I can set aside evening time for my favorite shows. And tomorrow night, I will hit the Trifecta of Sci Fi Television Viewing! Break out the popcorn and soda-pop! I'm so excited, I think I just peed a little.
Friday (2/13) marks the mid season return of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as well as Joss Whedon's return to television with his new series Dollhouse, both on Fox.
Despite its less than rave reviews, I have enjoyed Terminator since it began last year. It's tough for a television series to carry the burden of being the offspring of a successful movie franchise, but I feel this one has managed nicely. Scary robot dudes trying to enslave humanity? Check. Time-traveling soldiers trying to protect their future leader? Check. Lena Heady and Summer Glau as two of the most kick-ass women on network TV? Check and check. The premise of the movies is maintained without losing the high-octane action, but the slower pace of a television series allows fabulous characterization. For example, for the first season and then some, Sarah Connor (Heady) is continually "on". She has to protect her son no matter what and does so with the ferocity of a mother lion. As I watched, I kept thinking, this woman is going to blow. It didn't happen right away, and I'm glad she was shown as such a strong person. Events kept pushing and pushing at Sarah, and she held tough, as she needed to. Until she started beating the "dead" robot's chip. The buildup and eventual display of her frustration added to the character. Did she realize her fierceness kept her and her son apart emotionally? Can she and John have a normal(ish) mother-son relationship? At the same time, they still have some Skynet baddies to overthrow. Geez, raising a teen is tough enough without having someone out to kill him.
Speaking of humanity, Cameron (Glau) is a machine who displays glimmers of humanity now and then. I think this is a nice reflection of Sarah's situation. It'll be interesting to see how that plays into future episodes.
After Terminator is the premiere of Dollhouse. I have heard little more than it's premise, which sounds cool, and I also like Eliza Dushku (Echo, in Dollhouse, Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, and Tru in Tru Calling). And Joss Whedon? Well, he is a god as far as I'm concerned. The man writes perfect snickerdoodle dialogue: snappy and golden. I watch Firefly and Serenity over and over again mostly for the dialogue. I would give an arm to write half as well as he does. So I have high hopes for Dollhouse. I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
Battlestar Galactica is also on Friday night. I'm late coming to this series and need to rent the previous seasons to complete the goodness, but I am totally hooked and greatly disappointed it will end in a few weeks. The ride had been short but phenomenal. Unfortunately, BSG and Dollhouse are on at the same time. We'll have to decide who gets watched and who gets recorded. It will be a difficult decision. But no worries, whichever is recorded will be seen immediately following the other. Of that there is no doubt. ETA: Dollhouse and BSG are not on at the same time afterall. Yay! But I had to pick up DD #2 at a friend's and missed the first 15 minutes of Dollhouse :( I'm sure I can find it on Hulu or the Fox site.
So how can I justify three hours of endless television viewing where I all but ban my kids from the room (They are welcome to watch if they sit and watch, not come in the middle and ask me what's going on) and make the poor dogs wait until everything is over before letting them out to pee? Research. No, really. What these three shows have in common are strong female characters and amazing premises. When I write, I want my characters to be like these women, I want my story lines to grab the reader and not let go. So while it may look like I'm mindlessly gazing at the screen, I'm actually learning characterization and plotting from some spec fiction masters of today.
What does the buckets of popcorn and other junk food goodness I consume have to do with that? Nothing. Oh, I mean...A girl has to keep her strength up, right?
Next time I'll go into my family's (okay, mine, actually) favorite Saturday evening entertainment: Sci Fi Channel original movies. Let's just say the expectations for those shows are a little...lower.