Television

The Art of The TV Marathon

tv remoteIt’s no secret that I love TV. I eagerly anticipate new episodes of my favorite TV shows each week and despair when they go on hiatus. Season premieres are cause for celebration, while season finales are crushing. But I have noticed that there are some shows that are simply better when watched all at once. I confess to collecting all the episodes in one season of some shows (Game of Thrones & Downton Abbey) on my DVR to watch one after another over a long weekend. This does, unfortunately, leave room for potential spoilers, but at least I don’t spend the days in between episodes in a state of cliffhanger-induced anxiety.

But there is something to be said about waiting until the series finale airs before tackling a whole TV show from start to finish. About building a pillow fortress on the couch, putting on comfy clothes, collecting tasty snacks and settling in for a no holds barred TV marathon. It’s sometimes my favorite way to experience a new TV show. With the last season of Breaking Bad in the bag and the DVDs set to release in a few weeks, I am looking forward to an epic marathon of what, I’ve been promised, is a spectacular show. No spoilers, please!

If you’re in the mood to take a break from family (or gather family together!) and marathon a TV show this holiday season, check out the list of great shows to watch from beginning to end!

Veterans Day in Hollywood

Next Monday we will take some time to honor veterans of United States Armed Services.  Throughout the history of our country, men and women alike have given a part of their lives to the defense of America.  Whether through the draft or through voluntary service, they devote themselves to us.  And we should all be grateful to them.

Witches -- and a Few Wizards and Warlocks

When I was very young, I knew of only two witches in TV or movies.  Actually, the same movie: The Wizard of Oz.  There was lovely Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, who had a lilting voice and traveled in a bubble.  And there was the hideous (and green!) Wicked Witch of the West.  I loved Glinda.  I was terrified of the Wicked Witch, especially when she’d laugh in that ear-splitting shriek.  But there was one thing that made her a little less frightening: she was in Oz.  And Oz was a magical place.  Not just an ordinary neighborhood such as where I lived.

The Post-Apocalyptic World

wastelandThis month, Harris County Public Library, along with other libraries in the Greater Houston area, celebrates Gulf Coast Reads 2013. This year’s novel is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. The Dog Stars follows the struggles of a man and his dog, taking refuge in a Colorado airport hanger after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population.

Novels depicting the world after apocalyptic events have always been prevelent, and television and movies are no different. Perhaps it is the conflicting emotions of the story that pull in readers and viewers: a fierce desire to survive and build a new civilization despite loneliness in the face of total devestation. The recent rise in popularity of books and movies about dystopian civilizations (e.g., The Hunger Games) feed this same desire to see a small group of people struggling together to overcome seemingly hopeless situations. Or maybe viewers just want to leave theaters knowing that no matter what happens, humanity will survive.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic thriller this weekend, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie or television show today!

Bob Newhart

The award came a few days before the big show on Sunday, September 22.  Bob Newhart won an Emmy for his guest star role on The Big Bang Theory.  And it’s about time.  In a career that began over 50 years ago, this was Newhart’s first award for acting.

65th Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy StatuetteLast night, the recipients of the Primetime Emmys were announced in a live telecast and, like many people, I tuned in to see what surprises were in store. Most awards shows are generally a mix of the expected and the unexpected, and this year’s Emmys were no different. Although the big winners of the night (Modern Family, Breaking Bad and Behind the Candelabra) were no surprise, the acting awards seemed to break every expectation. Even the winning actors often seemed surprised when their names were read! (Case in point: Merritt Wever’s four-word speech after her shocking, but deserved, win for her work in Nurse Jackie.)

Unlike most awards shows, last nights Emmys also had a more solemn tone than usual. In addition to the In Memoriam segment, the Emmys featured extended, more personal tributes to five industry greats who passed away this year. These, along with a somber tribute to Liberace and a segment on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy contributed to the reflective feel of the Emmys. Fortunately, host Neil Patrick Harris was always there to lighten the mood with a witty aside or glitzy song and dance number. Overall, the Emmys may have verged on the depressing, but the excitement of the winners made it fun to watch.

If you missed the Emmys last night, check out a partial list of winners below and a complete list at the official Emmys website.

The Return of Fall TV

tvTo some people, the end of summer means the beginning of a new school year. To others, it means a slow drop in temperatures to something slightly more bearable. For me, the end of summer means the return of my favorite fall television shows. The steady rise in popularity of off-season TV means that, more often now, there are plenty of shows to keep viewers occupied during the summer months. However, my favorite TV shows are still the network dramas and sitcoms that air September to May.

There are always plenty of new TV shows ready to hook viewers and become a vital part of the weekly lineup, and this year is no different. But fall TV is more than trying out new shows. It’s about finally getting answers to last season’s cliffhangers and discovering more about favorite characters. That connection with TV characters and that willingness to set aside time each week to escape into someone else’s imagination is why so many shows come back season after season with familiar faces and fresh ideas.

If you’re out of the TV loop, or just want to catch up on previous seasons of current TV, browse the HCPL catalog and see what we have to offer! And if you’re still trying to prep the DVR for the upcoming seasons, check out this handy guide to all the primetime network shows.

Fall TV Picks:

Brotherly Love

When it comes to stories of brothers, TV has given us some of the best examples of brotherly love – and, yes, sometimes big-time rivalry.  On sitcoms, we’ve seen the almost idyllic Cleaver brothers of Leave it to Beaver, the always-fighting-but-always-sticking-up-for-each-other brothers of Malcolm in the Middle, and the “I’m-only-putting-up-with-you-because-we’re-brothers” pair of Two and a Half Men.  Westerns gave us officially-half-brothers-but-who-cares Cartwrights on Bonanza.  Brothers fight crime on

Doctor in the House

Now that the 12th Doctor Who has been decided, I thought we'd take a look at some other doctors – and nurses -- of primetime TV.

Medical drama has been a staple of television from the beginning.  I have vague memories of the series Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare.  In the late 60s and early 70s, I faithfully watched Medical Center, Marcus Welby, M.D., and The Bold Ones: the Doctors.  The 80s brought St. Elsewhere.  The 90s gave us ER.  The 21st century ushered the brilliant but deeply flawed Dr. Gregory House into our homes. 

And the 12th Doctor Is…

TARDISLast Sunday after much secrecy and speculation, the BBC finally revealed the actor cast as the 12th Doctor in the popular television show Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi. First airing in 1963, Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction show on TV. It is structured such that the Doctor, a traveler through time and space, regenerates after traumatic experiences, allowing new actors to take over the role. Regenerations and subsequent casting decisions are generally met with mixed emotions and widely varying opinions from fans of the show, and Sunday’s announcement was no different.

A Scottish actor, screenwriter and film director, Peter Capaldi has appeared in a wide range of television shows and movies since the beginning of his career in the early 1980s. He also directed a live action short film (Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life), for which he won an Academy Award in 1995. A multi-talented actor, Capaldi is perhaps best known for his role as the spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in the British TV show The Thick of It, and its spin-off movie In the Loop.

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