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Canceled Favorites

I’ve been hearing for the last week or so about shows that are being canceled and those that are being renewed for next season, and I’m a little depressed. A bunch of shows that I decided to try (many of which I like) are being canceled.

Some of the cancellations are not surprising, like NYC 22. I’m also not that surprised that Breaking In and Bent are being canceled, although I really liked them. GCB was one of my guilty pleasures. I didn’t look forward to it every week, but when I had some extra time, I’d catch up. Some shows I won’t miss, even though I watched regularly. Unforgettable tops that list. I liked the premise of the show, but something about the main character bugs me. Maybe it’s the actress, but there have been too many times that she’s come across as an airhead. Awake is a show that I’ve watched, but I have a bunch of episodes on my DVR to catch up on. Now I’m questioning if I should bother.

There are three shows that are chopped that I will miss. Missing doesn’t surprise me. I mean, really, how long could you draw out a single kidnapping? But I watched it every week. The Finder is another show that’s a little on the weird side, but since it aired on Fridays, it gave me something to watch over the weekend. The one show that’s being canceled that I think I’ll miss the most is Alcatraz. I like everything about that show. It had unique characters with some baggage, small conflicts in the search for the weekly criminal, and the overall plot arc of how and why the 63s were in 2012.

Image taken from Amazon

I will say that I’m happy that my truly favorite shows have been renewed — Revenge, Castle, Blue Bloods, Mentalist, Criminal Minds, and Bones. I have all of the episodes of Scandal on the DVR but haven’t watched them yet. Since it too is being renewed, I think I’ll catch up. Body of Proof has also been renewed, and I’ve watched pretty regularly, but if I could trade this for Alcatraz, I would.

The list I used to double check things I heard on Twitter is here. With all of these cancellations, I certainly hope there are good shows in the works for next year, otherwise, how will I fill all of my free time?

What show are you sorry to see go?

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Friday Favorites – Romance, Writing, & Good TV

As you know, this week was Valentine’s Day and there were lots of great posts on the meaning of the holiday and love and good stuff like that. But there was so much more than Valentine’s Day.

Romance and Writing:

August McLaughlin did wrap-up from her Beauty of a Women Blogfest. In addition, she wrote a fabulous post about how Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz) is a great heroine. For me, this is especially timely because we’re reading the abridged version of Oz at bedtime right now.

Heather Massey posted on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog about how Boba Fett would make a great romance hero. As a lover of Star Wars, I really liked this.

Jody Hedlund wrote a defense of the romance genre. She is much more eloquent than I was (especially since I’m more likely to flip someone the bird than offer valid reasons for my choice in reading).

Shelli Johnson wrote a list of things she wishes she could tell her younger self. Don’t we all have things we wish we knew then?

Jenny Hansen hosted Margie Lawson for a  guest post on  how to write fresh visceral reactions. The post is a definite must-read for any writer. I’m currently taking a class with Margie and it’s worth every penny. I’m looking at my manuscript with fresh eyes, and where I was frustrated before, I’m now excited because I know the changes I’m making are improving the book.

Fun TV:

Jessica O’Neal has run a series of posts about Robin Hood, but this week, she talks about her favorite version, the BBC TV series. I have to admit that I watched the first season and most, if not all of the second. I LOVE that Robin Hood. I missed some episodes and back then I didn’t have a DVR, but now, I believe it’s on Netflix. Reading her post made me want to catch up. Like right now.

Tiffany White gives us a run-down on The Finder. I’ve been watching the show and I like it. It comes on right after Bones, and like Tiffany, I’m a huge Bones fan, so I was easily sucked into watching The Finder. The show has a fun, quirky cast of characters.

Amber West goes in depth on Alcatraz. I wrote about Alcatraz a little, but if you want a better understanding, especially if you haven’t tuned in yet, check out Amber’s post.

Finally, lest you think I wouldn’t give any space to love and romance, I want to thank Alastair Stephens for posting this, so that I could then steal it from Overthinking It for the end of my post:

That about sums up how I feel about love and romance. How has your week gone? Anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Plot vs. Character

Obviously you need both character and plot for a story to be any good. It’s not that one is better than another. If there is more emphasis on one over the other, it’s simply a different kind of story. When I used to teach creative writing, I explained this to my students in the following way:

A plot-driven story is like an action film. When you see an action flick and you need to describe it, you might mention who the characters are, but you focus more on what happened. “There was a guy who had to rescue his wife and he did this and then the bad guys did this and then this blew up…” You get the point.

A character-driven story is more like a soap opera. It doesn’t matter so much what happens because we’re invested in the lives of the characters. When we describe a soap opera, we talk about the characters and what’s going on in their lives. When we’re invested in the characters, we can accept re-hashed plot lines (really, how many time can a terror plot with a bomb really land in Port Charles?) because we want to see how these characters will handle it.

It’s the same for TV shows. I’ve said lots of times already that it’s usually characters that draw me and and keep me watching a show. Even the cop shows that I watch, which by definition tend to be episodic (solve a new crime each week — plot), I keep watching because I love the characters. Shows that don’t get you involved in the characters’ lives run the risk of losing you. Honestly, I don’t know how the Law & Order franchise lasted so long. I watched for many seasons, but it got old. There are only so many ways you can rape, murder, or kidnap someone.

This season, though, there are actually 2 shows that are heavily plot-driven that I’m sucked into. One of them, Revenge, I talked about last month. In addition to being heavy on plot, this one also has a great cast of characters and I have a lot of sympathy for the main character.

A new show that has just started that I’m really digging is Alcatraz. For those of you unaware, Alcatraz is about finding the ’63s. In 1963, 302 inmates were supposedly transferred out of Alcatraz when the prison was closed. Now, these prisoners are showing up and committing new crimes. Here’s a trailer:

Each week, a new prisoner is being hunted by a super secret government organization, a regular cop, and a comic book author who is an expert in Alcatraz. We’re given some background into these characters, but not enough (at least not yet) for me to care about them. I don’t want to know what’s going on in their lives. I want to see them catch the bad guys.

I think what works for both of these shows is that beyond the episodic nature, there is an overall story arc that keeps going. Each week, Emily Thorne in Revenge targets a new person to ruin, but her end game is to bring down the Graysons. Each small bit of revenge has an impact on that family.

In Alcatraz, we want to know where these 302 men have been. We want to know who’s pulling the strings and releasing them to commit more crimes. We want to know why they’re not discombobulated by the world that is so different from 1963 and how they know about cell phones. We’re dying to figure out why some of the supposed good guys were actually working at Alzactraz in 1963 but they haven’t aged.

Although I am a self-professed character person, it’s the ongoing suspense that keeps me coming back for more with these shows.

I think the same holds true for series books. If there is an end game, an over-arching story, the books are more unputdownable. If it’s an ongoing series with the same characters but it’s just episodic I’m not going to stay as long. That’s not to say there isn’t a huge market for those books. Who wouldn’t want to be Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton? But look at the difference between those and Harry Potter.

Are you a character or plot person? Have you tried out Alcatraz? If so, what do you think?