Winter isn’t the best of all seasons for a number of reasons. There’s people creating incredible stress and drama about Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the felt 4527 family birthdays I have to remember. There’s bad weather and there’s a heating system in the house that the owners try to fix each year, and it only gets worse. One winter, I couldn’t turn the heating on. The next year, I couldn’t turn it off. Then I could turn it on and off as much as I wanted, but it kept making noises like the soundtrack of doomsday. It’s a no win situation. But more than the all the annoyances of winter, I dread one thing about summer.
The hiatus of nearly every TV series worth watching.
I am a TV junkie. Being detached from the “real world”, the screen is my window to so many things. In reality, people don’t make an effort to explain the reasons behind the things they do. On TV, it is easy and people make a lot more sense to me. And if I really don’t get a character, I can always switch on the commentary or read up on some website what’s going on. Summer robs me of this glimpse of understanding by mercilessly taking a break. Well, and naturally, it also puts a stop to my entertainment.
This year, it’s bad. I hadn’t saved up anything to watch. Usually, I keep a series or two for the long months of entertainment withdrawl, while waiting for my favorite series to continue. Some years, it goes really well and I run into a pearl like The 4400. Some years, it’s worse – like watching both seasons Stargate Universe or trying to convince myself that puppets make a fine main cast. (I’m looking at you, Farscape.) This year, I wasn’t prepared. I just thought I was.
American Horror Story, Grimm and Death Valley were recommended to me, but somehow, it just didn’t click. I toyed with the old Battlestar dilema again – old, new – and ended up dismissing both. The last two years spoiled me with incredible shows that had me from hello. Spartacus, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones – watching Law & Order reruns just didn’t live up to what I’m used to by now. In the end, I decided to give a show I hadn’t heard much about a chance for two semi-good reasons: It’s recent, and at least there are UFOs. I started watching “Falling Skies”, which no-one had recommended or warned me about. I knew it was “something with Spielberg” and more or less expected a firework of American patriotism. With the attention span of a goldfish, it takes a bit to make me sit through a pilot movie. I took it as a good sign that “Falling Skies” managed to capture my attention for 90 minutes, and that the only really irritating thing was the 7 minutes scene of children playing with a skateboard. No sign of flag waving. So far, I’m through the first 7 episodes and spotted only one flag. On a military funeral, so it’s even justified.
A slight issue I still have is that there are no characters I can identify with. In other shows that became my favorites, I had my favorite characters by episode 3, if not sooner, or at least a few characters that made me curious about their story. In Babylon 5, I knew from the start that Mollari would be the character I’d become most attached to. I saw a lot of myself in him – the bitterness, the acceptance and the big ego. In Deep Space Nine, the same happened with Quark. At first, it was mostly my fondness of rarely seen aliens, paired with the fondness for characters outside of Starfleet. The more he grew from comedy relief to a deeper character, the more I related – the sides Quark got over the seasons made it easy to identify. A brother with very different ideals, being an outsider for having different values than the majority, and being torn between giving a damn about the humans and their lifestyle and the desire to understand them. In Spartacus, as unpopular as he is, I immediately liked Ashur because he fought his battles with words and wits instead of swords and whips. And because I’m a big fan of actors speaking in obscure languages; that certainly added to it in Gods of the Arena. In Game of Thrones, the same reasons made me like Tyrion, the uncrowned king of deadpan. In Walking Dead, I became a fan of Merle Dixon for being controverse to the max, and to a lesser degree, also Daryl. As short lived as Merle’s stay was, he made an impression; and the more Daryl developed, the more I related to his position as outsider with trust issues.
In Falling Skies, I’m more than halfway through the first season, and the closest to “character I can identify with” is Pope, because, well, he’s the one who complained about a crying baby. And everyone else seems to be obsessed with watching children play soccer or do board games. Other than that… Well, he shares a trait with a favorite character from another show: He can cook, just like David Rossi in Criminal Minds. It’s not much to work with, but the general atmosphere and story of the show has caught my interest for now, so we’ll see if I end up listing it as a favorite series one day.