Saturday, June 22, 2013

TV Love

Hi, my name is Emily, and I'm a television addict (hi, Emily)

Really though, I love TV. And now that damn near all my shows are over, cancelled, or on summer hiatus, I'm going a little batty. What a perfect time to catch up on some critical essays!

Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly edited by Jane Espenson

Oh Firefly. Nothing will ever fill the broken, rusty hole you left in my heart. Luckily I'm not alone, as proven by this collection brought to your grabby Browncoat hands by contributors including crew members, fans, and even the best mechanic in the verse, Kaylee actress Jewel Staite. *hums theme song. You can't take the sky from meeeeee*

(remember what I said about going a bit batty? Yeah, Space Madness has definitely set in)

Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show edited by Glen Yeffeth

Speaking of our Lord and Savior His Great And Mighty Whedonness- Buffy! Not all of these anthologies are so big on the analysis, but this one is, which is very welcome as this series is so full of ideas, tropes, development and symbolism to be mined. Before launching into a rewatch, check this out. It's kind of like taking a Buffy-centered media studies course, and who among us wouldn't have rocked that elective in college?

In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural edited by Leah Wilson and Supernatural TV

This anthology is great- diverse, entertaining, and scholarly, while still being a celebration of the show. Have you ever noticed that Dean is kind of a soccer mom? Why do people write so much fanfiction, anyway? Read multiple essays on how awesome the Impala is, and trace the magnificently constructed arcs of the first 5 seasons. Decide how much of a crap father John was (my answer: very much, but maybe he did the best he could...?), and contemplate the differences between Sam and Dean. A great way to stave off hiatus angst (do we really have to wait until November??)

Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea

Chicks Dig Time Lords is, as the title implies, more a celebration of fandom than a book of insightful analyses about the show. The entries are short, and occasionally personal to the point of being of more interest to the authors than the readers. But still, many will resonate with fans from diverse backgrounds who all have different experiences with the show. I enjoyed the mix- long-time viewers, new converts, women who grew up watching the show who were then able to introduce it to their daughters, writers/readers of fic, costumers, congoers, authors and even an actress (India Fisher!!!). It's worth picking up solely for Carol Barrowman's (yes, THAT Barrowman) entry. There are two sequels: Chicks Unravel Time, which might fulfill my yen for more in-depth critiques, and Queers Dig Time Lords, an exploration of LGBT characters & themes in the show, and fans of all stripes who love it.

Serenity Found: More Unathorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe edited by Jane Espenson

One might think that this, being the second anthology about the Firefly 'verse, might be a little thin. Fear not! It was written after Serenity skewered us all in the gut premiered, so contributors have plenty of material to explore. There are some fantastic pieces from great contributors, all intelligent and insightful, which illuminated several ideas and themes in the series- and yet all I can think of right now is Nathan Fillion's entry, which pretty much proves that he is (a better adjusted) Captain Malcom Reynolds.

Reading these didn't just give me more insight into some of my favorite shows. Sure, they were often fun and funny, and I loved learning more about fans, creators, characters, sets and stories, but I also got to flex the part of my brain that has been languishing since I left my last English lit course. Watching tv is all well and good, but I'm not (just) in it for the pretty people, compelling baddies, striking sets and costumes. I'm in it for the stories, the connections, and I love finding out more about genre, the process of media production, and how tv can legitimately be called literature.

If any of that sounds interesting, or if you're looking for something tv-related to do in the long haul until the fall season, check out one of these books and let me know what you think!


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