Television

Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Folklore – Revisited and Retold

We all grew up with the stories, so we know them backward and forward.  But in the past few years, some writers have taken those stories and turned them inside out, upside down, and sideways.

Usually when Hollywood decides to make or remake (or remake and remake!) a fairy tale or fantasy novel or folklore, the story stays basically the same.  Walt Disney stayed close to original sources, though he softened some parts of the stories and even introduced some original characters.

Politics and Elections and Comedy

On Tuesday, November 8, the United States will elect a new president.  It’s a big day for our country.  And it’s been a long, winding, doozy of a campaign this time.  No matter what happens, this election will make history.

But, as I said, this has been a long campaign.  Even though it will be over soon, maybe you can use a break from all the drama and -- inadvertent comedy -- of this past year with some actual real comedy about politics and politicians -- and sometimes their families.

Star Trek

Fifty years ago, a phenomenon was born.  A television series embraced and enjoyed to this day.

Star Trek.

There’s probably not much new about this series that I could relate here.  It’s known around the world.  But for those who may not be as familiar with the Original Series and its numerous spinoffs, here’s a bit of background.

Fall Into TV

fall leafIt feels cliché to admit this, but fall is my favorite time of year. After a long, hot summer, I can’t wait for the slightly cooler temperatures that herald fall and all it has to offer. Wearing cardigans without roasting, grilling outside without melting, eating pumpkin spice everything, and, most important of all, prepping the DVR to record all my favorite television shows.

That’s not to say that I haven’t watched any TV at all this summer. In fact, I have spent all summer binge watching random TV shows and it has been fantastic. I’ve discovered shows I never knew existed (all crime shows, because I’m obsessed with them), fallen in love with shows I originally passed over without a second glance, and caught up on shows I’d previously abandoned. Despite that, I miss my usual shows. I miss familiar settings and plots that feel comfortable while still moving the plots forward. But most of all, I want to catch up with my favorite characters and see how they fared after last season’s cliffhangers!

If you’re looking to pick up a new TV show this season, or just want to binge watch old episodes of a favorite series, check out the list below and see what HCPL has to offer. You just might find a new favorite show!

Fall TV Picks:

I Am A Librarian!

librarianIn 1999, the action-adventure film The Mummy was released in theaters. It opened to middling critical reception, but, ultimately, was a box office success. I remember seeing it at the movie theater shortly after it was released and enjoying it immensely. Since then, it has become one of my favorite movies and is, in my opinion, a perfect genre film.

In The Mummy, Brendan Fraser plays Rick O’Connell, an erstwhile adventurer who agrees to lead Evelyn, a librarian and Egyptologist played by Rachel Weisz, and her brother to the lost city of Hamunaptra. Of course, things don’t go as planned – they never do when you accidentally raise a cursed mummy from the dead. One of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the movie occurs while Evelyn is talking to Rick:

  • Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
  • Rick: And what is that?
  • Evelyn: I... am a librarian!

As a librarian myself, I have always loved this piece of dialogue. Librarians don’t often show up in movies, and when they do, they are generally written to the old stereotype: stuffy, staid, and grouchy. Evelyn isn’t like that at all, and it makes for a refreshing change of pace. While I don’t necessarily want to go off and battle reanimated mummies, I do appreciate that someone thinks that I could with my librarian know-how.

Below, I have put together a list of movies that feature a librarian or other library staff member. Some of these movies hammer straight through the stereotypes, while others embrace them. Either way, it is fun to see what Hollywood imagines my job!

Garry Marshall (1934-2016)

Garry Marshall didn’t win Oscars.  He didn’t win an Emmy, although he was nominated several times.  He was also nominated for Writer’s Guild awards, but didn’t win.  In later years he received honorary awards from the Guild.  But by and large, those accolades we associate with successful writers and producers and directors eluded him.

However, it’s safe to say that his work is among the most enjoyable, fun, and crowd-pleasing that movies and TV have to offer.

68th Primetime Emmy Nominations

emmy Last week the nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmys, which honor excellence in television, were announced. Like every year, the nominations in the drama and comedy categories are a mix of familiar names and newcomers. Since the television shows nominated in these categories run for multiple seasons, it makes sense that there would be repeat nominations each year. It is refreshing, however, to see new faces and titles added to the nominations list.

Although the nominations in the drama categories remain similar to last year, there are few new additions. New favorite Mr. Robot received multiple nominations for its first season, as did The Americans, finally recognized for its stellar fourth season. Game of Thrones also did well this year, with five acting nominations for Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, and Maisie Williams.

The comedy categories also showcase a few new faces. Nominated for outstanding comedy series, black-ish and Master of None also received additional acting nominations. Additionally, new actors in shows like Veep and Transparent received nominations for their work this past season.

Below, I have listed the nominees in the drama and comedy categories for Outstanding Series, Lead Actor and Actress, and Supporting Actor and Actress. With the mix of old and new in each category, it will be interesting to see which way the votes fall at this year’s Primetime Emmys. Who would you like to see win an Emmy?

A Murder of Crime Dramas

police lightI am a huge fan of TV - particularly of procedural crime dramas. For years, my favorite TV show has been Criminal Minds and I’ve watched the series so many times that I can pretty much place any episode within the first five minutes. (I honestly don’t know whether that’s a silly skill to be proud of, or if I need to find a better use for my time.) During the regular television season, I spend most of my TV time watching the whole gamut of network crime shows: NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest and Elementary. But once the season finales air, I have to explore new TV options to fill the summer hiatus.

Although crime dramas are hugely popular on TV, they don’t all fit the same mold. Some are fairly formulaic, yes, but many bring something extra to the viewing experience. Sometimes it’s a plot full of twists and turns or a case that lasts the whole season; at other times it’s a unique detective or interesting setting. Last night, in my quest, I started watching Longmire, which features a Wyoming county sheriff who solves major crimes. With its rural setting, sweeping landscapes, and a sheriff reminiscent of classic Westerns, it’s a compelling show that fills the gap in my TV schedule.

If you’re looking for a new show to watch this summer, I have listed out some non-network crime dramas below. Each of these shows has multiple seasons and would make for a great summer binge session.

Partners in Crime

It should come as no surprise that I have a great fondness for mysteries and, particularly, cop shows and movies.  From lighter fare to dark thrillers, I’ve enjoyed watching the good guys take on the bad guys.  That might come from my earliest years watching Perry Mason.  Then moving on to The Streets of San Francisco, Dragnet, Adam-12, Columbo, the original Hawaii Five-O.  Of course all of those series have one big thing in common: all the crime solvers were men.

If You Can Read This...

Many years ago, there was a very popular bumper sticker that read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

This is Teacher Appreciation Week.  And it’s fitting that we acknowledge those who spend their professional lives working for the benefit of children, young adults, and even older adults.  I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has a particularly teacher they remember as a role model or mentor.  My favorite teacher is one from elementary school, though I really liked some in high school and college, too.  I have several family members who have taken on the sometimes tough, more times rewarding career in education.  My admiration for them is boundless.

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