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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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Plot Complexity and Missing

When Ashley Judd’s new showed premiered, I knew I’d give Missing a try because I’m a fan. The basic premise of the show is that Judd, a former CIA operative, is searching for her son who has been kidnapped while in Europe. If you want more details about the show, check out Tiffany White’s rundown here.

I really like the show. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the show on Twitter because some aspects are unbelievable. For me, I think I’m more accepting of the unrealistic parts because I love the idea of a capable, intelligent, kickass mom. Rebecca Winstone is that character. Some of the characterization is a bit overdone, but I can excuse that.

The more I watch the show, though, the more I am in awe of the plot structure. As an English teacher, I usually pay attention to how a story is put together, whether it’s on TV or in a book. As a writer, I have to be aware, but because I can’t plot and outline to save my life, my structure is fixed after I’m done writing. I push the story out and then make sure the structure holds together during revisions.

I get the basic structure that we’ve all been taught:

In Missing, I can’t imagine how far out the writers have had to plot. I wonder if they have the whole season mapped out, or if they’ve gone farther because every little detail has played together so beautifully. In some shows with complex plots, like Revenge, you don’t see the layers of complexity because each episode kind of tackles its own issue. In Missing, we’re dealing with a huge who-done-it where things that we saw three episodes ago and thought nothing of pop back up as an important detail.

****SPOILERS****

When the show started, I never would’ve guessed that Paul, Rebecca’s husband, was still alive. As viewers, we accept the reality that is Rebecca’s, so as her world falls apart, we fall with it. While the CIA doesn’t believe that Rebecca didn’t know, as viewers, I think we side with Rebecca.

A few episodes back, Rebecca followed a lead to figure out who had her son. A sniper took out the person she was speaking to, and he had the shot and could’ve killed her, but didn’t. As a viewer, I chalked it up to the ring leader wanting her alive because he wants something from her. Now, we see that Rebecca had a connection with that sniper when he was a boy. She had the chance to kill him but didn’t. So now, I wonder if he let her live because she didn’t take that shot 15 years ago.

****

My point is, even with knowing Rebecca’s backstory (as any good author would), the writers of this show must’ve plotted out the series in great detail because both Paul and that sniper returning to Rebecca’s life felt seamless. Shocking, yes, but it fit the puzzle.

This is why, although I’d love to write a mystery (I even have a great idea for a series), it will probably never happen. I can’t see how you can write aimlessly like I do if you want the mystery to work. It’s not just the dropping of hints and the well-placed red herring, you have to know what’s happening next and next and next.

I can’t imagine writing like that (but it might be a nice change).

Do you notice the structure of the plot when you are watching or reading? If you’re a writer, do you plot? And if so, how detailed do you get before you write?

I Wish I’d Known

On Thursdays, I usually talk about TV and sometimes relate it to writing because, really, you can learn so much about writing from TV, both the good and the bad. I watch a lot of TV and the invention of the DVR has only aided this addiction. Shows that I wouldn’t have given a shot because of time slot now get my attention as possibilities. I still come across shows that aren’t quite my taste (House of Lies), but I’m glad I’m giving more shows a chance because you never know if you’ll miss out on something great (like Lost Girl).

There are quite a few shows that I didn’t watch from the beginning that I now wish I had. While it’s true that I still might not continue to tune in, it would’ve been nice to know for sure.

image from tvequals.com

One show that I tried this season in Being Human. A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost live together in a house, trying to feel human. It sounds great. This show is in its second season and I hadn’t heard about it before. (Thank you Tiffany White for pointing out too many things for me to watch.) I watched the first couple of episodes of this season, and while I had no problems following along with the storylines, I didn’t fall in love with it. I think part of that failure isn’t the show itself, but because I hadn’t watched season 1. I think for most shows, that first season is critical for falling in love with the characters.

One show that I’ve heard nothing but great things about that I haven’t watched is Downton Abbey. The second season just aired and I know I can watch season 1 on Netflix, but because I didn’t do that before season 2 started, I feel like I’ll always be playing catch up. I’m not sure if I want to start it and continuously be behind everyone else.

It’s the time of year where networks start up some new shows as mid-season replacements. All of our favorites take breaks and new shows fill in. It’s a nice test market. Some of the new ones I’m going to try are Awake, Missing, and GCB.

Awake is about a man who is in a car accident. His mind creates two realities. In one, his wife survives, in the other, his son survives. He doesn’t know which one is real and he doesn’t care. He goes to bed with his wife alive and wakes up with his son alive. He doesn’t want to lose either, so it should be interesting to watch it unravel.

Missing stars Ashley Judd, who although she’s getting old, still looks great and takes on some awesome roles. In the show, she is a retired CIA agent who travels to Europe to track down her missing son. I love a kickass heroine and the fact that she’s a mom is even better.

GCB looks like brain candy. Nothing serious, fun fluff for relaxation. It’s about a former “Queen Bee” who returns to her hometown of Dallas after her divorce. She moves her two kids in with her mom and has to face everyone she tormented in high school.

Which shows are planning on tuning in for? Are there any you wished you’d watched and feel like you missed out on?

PS – If you want more information on any of these shows, I’m pretty sure Tiffany White has covered them in much greater depth. Check out her blog.