The End of An Era

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​A few weeks ago, more like a couple of months, mid-May, I watched the season fourteen finale of The CW television series, Supernatural. It feels both very close and very far away at the same time. The plot twist, the cliffhanger, the new apocalypse, and we’re expected, as with all season finales, to wait three to four months (which always seem like an eternity) for resolution. In this case though, when Supernatural returns in one more year, the season finale will also be the series finale. It will end with (my guesstimate) three hundred twenty-seven episodes and fifteen seasons. I’ve seen them all except one: Bugs. My son tried to trick me into watching that one; he failed. I don’t have huge bug issues, but I’m not taking any chances. 

Now that they’ve announced officially the end of the series, re-announced at their final Hall H panel at SDCC, and officially begun scouting locations and filming for season 15, I thought I would write down a few thoughts about this wonderful part of my life. Like many things in hindsight, it came to me later than a lot of the show’s fans; about halfway through the run, although those of us starting in the middle wouldn’t know that of course. For several years, whatever the current season was we thought it might be the last until that final renewal-non-renewal video announcement that came directly from the actors, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins.

The series began in 2005, and I had heard about it around the time when it premiered. I don’t know why I made the choice not to watch it, and it was definitely a choice. I knew one of the lead actors from my soap opera, and that may have played into it, but I don’t remember, although I do think it was toted as a horror-genre series, and I do not like horror. That may be hard to believe considering what shows I watch now.

I began watching at the end of 2012, early 2013. It was the middle of season 8, and I binged like I’ve never binged before in order to catch up before the show returned from winter hiatus. I spent two weeks on Netflix, living and breathing Supernatural. I would not recommend this method. I was actually seeing things. There are definitely healthier ways to marathon a series.

There are also many emotional ties that I have to Supernatural and starting it at this time. It wasn’t a conscious decision to become a regular viewer. My friends were talking about the episodes, and I wanted to be involved in those conversations; I wanted to understand the references that my group was making. I didn’t really want to start a new series, but I also didn’t want to feel left out.

I was newly embroiled in a deep depression, just diagnosed and still adjusting medication, beginning talk therapy, beginning a writing class, beginning my religious conversion journey despite not being wholly aware of that. So many beginnings all at once. After seeing all of the episodes on Netflix, I rewatched them on TNT. I could come in at any episode, and whether or not I remembered it, I could still enjoy where they were, and I could watch them in or out of order. It became the soundtrack of my life, both on screen and on my MP3 player. It still is. When I’m having a low day, I’ll put on a random episode on Netflix and let it be my background music. Eventually, Supernatural would become one of my most steadfast coping components in my daily survival toolbox. 

My introduction to the series and the first episode I watched was The French Mistake [6.15]. It was a fourth wall breaking, meta-tastic, and gentle fan teasing (including the title which I’ve only just learned the meaning of!) all at once. They brought out all the actor stereotypes including huge houses, huge egos, behind the scenes backbiting, nods to tabloids and more. They killed one of the actors! The actor! They used one of the leads’ actual wedding photo. They played a clip from the other lead’s soap opera acting. They made fun of their unusual names. And in all of that it still kept the continuity of the storyline while having fun and giving the fans a gift in the process, and for me it cemented it as one of my favorite episodes even if I never watched another, but after a few days, I did. I don’t recall that second episode, but another one followed, and I stopped resisting, becoming like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

It opened up a whole new world.

I was in love.

Not with any one actor or plot point or trope or merch, but with all of it; the whole damn thing. It  made me smile.

Despite my dislike of horror and bump-in-the-night, suspend-your-disbelief but it could maybe actually happen scary shows, I was pulled in. I mean I didn’t even watch The Twilight Zone; that was too disturbing for me. But the opening of this: Mom dies, Dad’s missing, then Jess, and I was off to the races. Add in the puns, the geek culture service, the pop culture references, it was as if I was part of the writer’s room.

Even the bad episodes were loved by me. Each episode has something for everyone. I loved the brothers’ relationship. Their parental surrogate Bobby. The lore. The puns and pop culture shout-outs I’ve mentioned. The apocalyptic. The moral dilemmas. The character development for all the characters. The Linda Blair cameo, the catch phrases, the music. I began to recognize some of the writing styles – Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Bobo (Robert) Behrens to name three. 

It was (is) everything.

I saw myself in so many characters – Dean’s parenting, the ever present mother to Sam (and every other character from Krissy to Charlie). Sam’s search for knowledge and love of history and research. Castiel’s naivete and need to make things right. Charlie’s geekiness. Crowley’s and Gabriel’s snark. Death’s love of junk food. Chuck; the writer and world builder. Jack’s innocence and wanting to please. Jody and Mary; the Mama-bears. Mick, the outsider wanting to belong somewhere and full of regret. I’m all of them, and yet none of them.

This mini-love letter is also an introduction to a fifteenth season series of things I love of, from, about Supernatural. It may be monthly, it may be weekly during the season, it may be sporadic, but I have so much to say and share on this extraordinary and inspiring series and my journey alongside it.

It’s phenomenal. It’s mythical.

It’s…

Supernatural.

(c)2019

Supernatural returns to The CW television network for its fifteenth and final season on Thursday, October 10th at 8pm. I’ll see you there.

Fandom Friday – What to Expect in the New Year

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I, for one, am very excited for television in the New Year. Spoilers for everything in the tags follow. Read at your own discretion. Continue reading

The Fall TV Season Returns!

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Warning for minor spoilers from both last season and shows that have already aired this season.​ Continue reading

On the 8th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to Me:

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…a new year’s cold.

Why do they call it a cold when it gives you a fever?

Bones mini-marathon.

I love having enough writing and reading experience that I can come in in the middle of a story arc, and pick it up as if I’ve been watching it from the beginning.

It makes sick days very convenient. LOL.

50-18 – TV Writers…Writers on TV

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​Before I thought, or accepted that I was a serious writer with something to say, I read ferociously. I also watched television with the same zeal. I could literally sit down and watch the last fifteen minutes of a two hour television movie and be completely engrossed in it. I loved all genres then. We only had six, maybe seven broadcast channels, assuming the winds were right and the aerial was in its proper position. And of course, the only one who knew whether the aerial was positioned right was the aerial itself. It was never in the same position twice.

Our televisions went from huge hunks of furniture to little tiny ones that I could bring to college and get one station in black and white, and now they’ve returned to huge wall hangings, mounted like a movie theatre.

One of the things that never left me from my childhood was noticing and watching all of the writers that appeared on television. I don’t mean the people who wrote the shows or the books that the shows were based on, but the characters who were writers.

I grew up wanting to be a lawyer – slash – private investigator – slash – reporter. I always had a notebook with me, jotting down things I’d see on the street, the way the colors hit the water or the street sign or the sound made when a car drives through a puddle. I don’t know why I needed this information, but I did and I would have it when I did need it.

When I went to my first therapy appointment, I noticed that the therapist had a print of a Renoir hanging on the waiting room wall. In my head, in my best Remington Steele accent, I said, “The wall safe is always behind the Renoir. Where’s the Renoir?”

In the writing in my head, I would insert myself into whatever the storyline was, sometimes more than one, and I would be the journalist or writer, much like Richard Castle who the police or PI couldn’t solve the case without. It gave me the chance to be a recurring, supporting character which is something I probably am in my own real life story, never the main character.

I know a lot of my love for journalism came from the movie, All the President’s Men. I was young and impressionable at a time that journalists were revered, both in real life: Woodward & Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and in fiction as well:

Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote

Ian Stark from Stark Raving Mad

Billie Newman from Lou Grant – my favorite of favorites

Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane of the Superman Adventures

Jake Sisko of Deep Space Nine

Ray Romano of Everybody Loves Raymond

Oscar Madison, another sportswriter from The Odd Couple

Murphy Brown – news writer and reporter

Chuck Shurley, aka Carver Edlund of Supernatural

Iris West of The Flash

Todd Manning of One Life to Live

John-Boy Walton of The Waltons

Richard Castle of Castle

Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza of Seinfeld

Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City

Maya of Just Shoot Me

Rob Petrie of The Dick Van Dyke Show 

Phoebe Halliwell of Charmed

And those are just off the top of my head.

Today, I have more respect for the real writers and the current ones who inspire me include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Bernard Cornwell, and Sharon Kay Penman. They are who I go back to time and again because they are just that good. Not to leave out Wil Wheaton who is truly an inspiration and one of the main catalysts to my beginning this blog. Watching him navigate through his own freelance career, adjusting to the markets and changing, rebooting his life, but always writing and contributing; being his own boss, but also his own motivation. Writer and artist, Norman Reedus who inspires me to break out of my comfort zone and experiment with my art. 

To call myself a writer, I belong to a family of writers, both fictional and real, and each one gives me something, and that makes me better.

50-10 – The Men on the Moon

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This Day in History – 1969

Apollo 11 landed on the moon today in 1969.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon with Michael Collins supporting their mission from the capsule.

My parents tell me I watched it on television, and I have vivid memories of visiting the Kennedy Space Center as a child. Space has always played an important role in my reading and television watching life from Star Trek to NASA to the Challenger to Pluto’s return as a planet with amazing photos.

Source: This Day in History – 1969

 

Originally posted one year ago today, I thought I would reshare it along with an additional anecdote that is part of my family’s lore. We all have those apochryphal stories that may be slightly embellished but it’s been so long that no one remembers where it came from or started.

My parents tell me that I watched the Moon Landing when it happened and despite being only two and a half years old, I was very much engaged in what was happenening on the television.

I have two uncles, both my father’s brothers; one named Neil and one named Buzzy. Upon hearing the astronauts’ names, I thought my uncles were the ones landing on the moon and pointed at the TV with as much excitement that a toddler can muster.

Another moon related family story is actually a piece of memorabilia that my grandfather had – a signed photo of the Apollo 13 astronauts with a flag that went with them on their misadvernturous trip to outer space. We still have this framed bit of history on my son’s wall, or at least that’s where it’s supposed to be. Photos at another time.

Somewhere in my assorted boxes, I have a doll-shaped, doll-sized, astronaut pillow from my family’s visit to the Kennedy Space Center. I loved that thing.

We also grew up near the Cradle of Aviation, Roosevelt Field. Long before the museum that is there now was there, there was a much smaller version, like old space equipment in an airplane hangar, warehouse-style that we took our class to. We played on the replica Apollo capsules and wandered around, learning about space exploration. It was a fabulous adventure.

A trip to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum during their Star Trek exhibit in the early 90’s gave me the once in a lifetime chance to sit in the Captain’s Chair from the original series and use the transporter.

These are memories I will cherish and long before digital cameras, so I can’t readily access them to share with you. It does give me incentive to get into the basement and sort through some of those boxes, though.

InstaPops

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New Pops celebrating the almost end of the off-season. Ride with Norman Reedus finished yesterday, Major Crimes continues tonight, and Containment finishes tomorrow night.

We also just finished The Day After, a Russian drama with English subtitles on Amazon Prime. Entire first season, worth a watch.

50-7 – Sick. Bleh.

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In Food, posted Monday, I mentioned eating sweet potatoes when I was sick. The truth is I was almost never sick. I had the chicken pox like everyone of my generation and got a week off from school, staring out of the front window of our apartment with my brother who also had them that week. But I was never sick. I didn’t get colds, no ear infections. While my friends were out sick, I was always in school. I did miss senior skip day and I never went to class in college (or work later on) on my birthday and while I always worked Christmas, I never worked New Year’s. I also never called in because of having too much to drink.

So I was completely stunned when in my 20s, working for a child development center for the US Navy, I got an ear infection. Having never had one before I had no idea what it was except that I was certain that I was dying. The pain was unbearable. I tried to lie down to make it stop, not realizing that is pretty much the worst thing you can do for an ear infection. When I finally got diagnosed and on antibiotics, I thanked G-d for science and medicine and medical advances that would remove that pain.

Since then, I have had a few more ear infections, chronic ringing in my ears (thanks Stray Cats) and hearing loss (again, thank SC), but I still never really get sick.

My second pregnancy.

One or two bouts of food poisoning and a couple of flus, all after my kids were born. Kids wear you down. They really do.

I am pro-vaccine. I feel the need to say that in this world of maybe science doesn’t work, but science does work and vaccines save lives. I have the mark on my left shoulder from the small pox vaccine that my kids will never get because we eradicated it and no longer need a small pox vaccine in this country. I went to Jonas E. Salk Middle School, named for the man who discovered the vaccine against polio, a disease that killed our thirty-second president.

On Monday, I had my yearly physical, complete with a tetanus booster. I moaned in that childlike way of no like shots, but I took it and there was no doubt that I would.

It hurt for that split second and I went about my day, getting my hair cut, eating lunch which fit into my new prescribed diet (except for the diet coke which so far is the last one I’ve had). I watched Major Crimes. I slept and got up on Tuesday and went grocery shopping. I felt great.

Then I felt fine.

then I was achey and whiney, and my head was throbbing and I had a fever, but I was so cold that I needed a blanket and then another. I fell asleep in my office chair, which is an overstuffed living room chair.

I barely ate dinner. My eyes hurt (which is why I haven’t been here as often as I had planned), even as I listened to Containment on the television.

Wednesday was slightly better but not by much.

On Thursday, I was able to leave my bed, eat lunch and go to my meeting for the day of service for my church. I’m the secretary.

I will be calling the doctor today, although I should have called on Wednesday morning. I have never had a reaction to a vaccine before. Obviously, this is better than getting any of the things the Tdap prevents, but it was still pretty miserable.

I couldn’t even watch television which is usually very comforting when I ‘m not feeling well. Sweet potatoes and the blue glow of the television used to be the only medicine I needed.

Take your shots kids (and adults) and have some extra water, fruit, Netflix, wifi, and of course, sweet potatoes on hand. Just in case.

The New Television Off-Season

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Besides the usual television, there are also tablets and phones with apps to watch network shows.

When I was a kid, television shows had seasons. They were very specific. School started and so did the new fall season. School ended right after the shows did. September through June without fail.

There was an occasional hiatus, but without the internet we drowned our sorrows in our bedrooms or outside playing in the fresh air. At least today we have other fans to commiserate with, not to mention reading and writing fan fiction and drawing fan art.

Sometime around high school (1981 for me) there was the mid-season replacement. A new pilot with a half schedule that started in January and if it got good ratings it would be back for the new fall season, sometimes with a cast change or schedule change.

While fans today talk about when a favorite show jumps the shark (it was also a Supernatural episode title in the seventh season), I remember the first shark jumped – Happy Days – and my kids are surprised that it was a literal shark. It was. I saw it happen live.

There were three channels, broadcast free (ABC, CBS, NBC) plus your local PBS station (operated out of Boston or New Jersey usually) that had some great murder and mystery mini-series and comedy, almost all British, which gave me a life-long love of them.

I loved my television shows. Summer was withdrawal. I always had the television on even when I was in the shower. I’m happy to say that while I still watch more than a little TV, I’ve stopped putting it on and leaving the room, and I’ve nearly all but given up on the news unless it’s something important that I can investigate online through reading.

I was with my great-grandmother watching television when Thurman Munson died. That was watched on a big box piece of furniture television.

I sat on a green velvet sectional sofa in the basement of my house when the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey team beat the Russians. Most people forget that they won the gold one game later against Finland. That television was a smallish one that you had to get up to change the channels on. It stood on a TV cart that looked almost like a drink cart with handles and wheels. I think there was an Atari on the bottom shelf.

I got a new television when I graduated college. That was in 1988. It started giving us trouble two years ago.

One of my favorite shows all through school was The Fall Guy. I loved the behind the scenes aspect of stunt work. Being a stuntman was one of my fantasies. LIke riding a motorcycle, it was something that was just too cool for me to do but if I were stronger, or braver or more self-confident, I could, but I could never. It was also one of those shows that gave me the inside look into the television industry, which is something that still interests me and that I get to see a bit through the online world of fandom, especially where Supernatural and The Walking Dead cast and crews are concerned.

Then reality shows became popular. They were unique and unscripted, and then everyone was doing them. They’re everywhere. There are even scripted shows around reality shows. Law & Order, Bones, etc.

Today’s shows don’t get much of a chance. Supergirl was a good show but it wasn’t for CBS. I could see that. Fortunately, they dropped it and The CW picked it up so it will have its second season at a network that will love it and care for it.

One thing that started this past Sunday was the non-season. All of the shows had their season finales last week or will this week, right before school lets out.

There are new shows in mini spurts for a few weeks. I began with Major Crimes, a police procedural on TNT. I never watched the original show, The Closer that it was spun off from, but it has a great cast and interesting and entertaining stories. It’s similar to Law & Order in that the focus is on the crime, but you do get a glimpse of the personal lives, perhaps more than Law & Order always had.

Sunday’s show on AMC, Ride with Norman Reedus follows The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus as he rides his motorcycle around the country delving into the motorcycle culture, equipment and meeting some personalities. I saw the first episode where he went up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Major Crimes airs on Mondays.

Tomorrow, The CW’s Containment continues for another few weeks. As I understand it, it was not picked up for a second season. I’m still interested in the story though. I know that it’s somewhat predictable and I know exactly where the romance is going, and what the importance of the kid is, and how everything will turn out, but I still like it and I want to watch it play out. It’s my guilty pleasure.

So the non-season season starts this week and it goes for about six weeks, I believe. This will get we TV-aholics through half the summer and in my case, maybe give me something extra to write about.

Later in the week, for example, I’ll give a better review/reaction to Ride with Norman Reedus’ first episode with some links that might strike the fancy of the motorcycle enthusiasts visiting my page.

50-2 – Family Time

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Another week passes. Looking at it in its minutia I’ve learned nothing. I’m sure in two more months I’ll remember something important from this time of the year. Time passes so slowly in the moment, but so fast at the passing of another week, or month, or year. My son will be turning 19 in another month. He was just awarded firefighter of the year. It feels as though it was yesterday that he was dressing up as a fireman and running around the house making siren sounds.

Our family has been doing a lot of family television. We eat dinner, and then settle down in the living room with that night’s program. It’s the mid-season and most of the shows are back. The Walking Dead returned last weekend, and Gotham comes back on the 29th. My kids get very upset when I miss a show and have to catch up the next day, like I’ve done the last two weeks  Legends of Tomorrow. The first week I attended a memorial service and this week was another show I wanted to watch. Luckily, the CW has a great app to catch up as well as to watch interviews and previews. I wish the AMC app was that good.

Last night, we watched The Martian. My husband has been picking out new things for this year. I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it, but when he put it on, I started to watch it. It was good. I was afraid that it was going to be Matt Damon alone on Mars for the whole movie. I was happy to see that it wasn’t that at all. I did enjoy it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in space travel, suspense, and action. It’s also funny and emotional – all the things you want in a good movie. I told my husband that I thought I preferred Apollo 13. They’re not exactly comparable, and The Martian is more modern, taking place in the future.I think what I found more compelling about Apollo 13 was that it’s history; it’s a true story. We know the outcome, and we still find it suspenseful and we worried along with the astronauts’ families.

Family time is what we make it. Whether it’s watching movies or reading comic books, preparing food or shoveling the walk. We’ve been spending a lot of time together. In the afternoon while my husband is still in his office working, the little ones and I are together with our tablets or our books, reading and laughing, no one doing their homework, and trying to get as many snacks as they can before dinner.

The kids are home this week for winter recess even if it hasn’t been much of a winter. I’m definitely not complaining about the weather. I can’t stand the snow, and almost never drive in it. We’re going to be full up on family time by the end of the week.

Unfortunately, this is also our low money week. The paycheck where we pay the mortgage leaves us not much left. We get by – we don’t use credit cards so we kind of have to work with what we have.

This might be the week I start the taxes.

I wish money didn’t make the world go round.