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22 December 2011 @ 10:13 am
TV Year in Retrospect  
Yesterday evening, I tried doing one of the "My Year in Fandom" memes that seem to be floating around at the moment, but eventually I had to acknowledge the fact that my personal TV year has been far too retro-oriented to tackle most of the questions. So, here's a format-free version of the time warp that Cavendish and I have been performing...

Apart from the most current season of Doctor Who (which wasn't exactly my cup of tea), the by far "youngest", most up to date shows I watched were ST: Enterprise (2001-2005) and Farscape (1999-2003). Perfectly fine turn-of-the-millennium genre tv, and ideal for a study in contrast, regarding about every aspect that one could possibly think of.

The most noteworthy difference, however, would be how differently both Farscape and Enterprise dealt with the aftermath of 9/11. One show - the one which had started out with a clearly pacifist mission statement - suddenly laden with unreflected militarism and themes of retribution, therefore alienating a good portion of its core viewership, including me, and the other show - the often wild, violent, chaotic, over-the-top maverick - offering its viewers the much more differentiated, complex approach of "Terra Firma". My love for Farscape has never been greater than during that scene in which a visibly upset Jack tries to explain the impact the 9/11 attacks have had on American society and himself, but ultimately leaves his son John unable to understand.

Poignant and valid on several levels, just as good television should be. (Btw., when I wrote this entry, I caught myself making a rather intriguing Freudian typo, "fathermath" instead of "aftermath".) As I've already said to [personal profile] selenak, Farscape's S4 brought along not only some of the show's worst episodes but also the very best.

So much for my first TV highlight of 2011. For the second one I really have to thank Cavendish, who, once we had finished our business in the Unchartered Territories, kindly suggested to re-watch two of his own childhood favourites, and thus catapulted us straight into the realm of the 1970s mini-series.

Rich Man, Poor Man (1976-1977) and Roots (1977). As incredible as it might seem, to say those shows were equally fascinating to watch (the occasional "head desk" moment included), would be an absolute understatement. The creators of both shows were ambitious, the format fresh, and the production values high. I guess, to do both series justice in regard to their origins, contents, scripts, and acting I really ought to come up with another entry.

So I'll leave you with this:

Most generally underestimated actor/director of my personal TV year: Bill Bixby. Yup, the Bill Bixby.

Favourite female character: Maggie Porter (Susan Sullivan), workaholic and highly competent lawyer and part time love interest of Rich Man, Poor Man's male lead Rudy Jordache (Peter Strauss) during the show's somewhat uneven and soapy, but nevertheless extremely addictive second season.

Favourite male character: Roots' s Chicken George Moore, played by the wonderful Ben Vereen. Chicken George and his wife Mathilda (Olivia Cole) would also be my number one candidate for "favourite TV couple" and the characters I wouldn't mind being adopted by.

Sorry John, sorry Aeryn ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://www.dreamwidth.org/12345.html. Comment there or here, as you like. I'd be glad to reply to your comments over on DW.
 
 
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Selenaselenak on December 22nd, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
The odd thing is that I've read Roots the book and have watched the follow-up series (Roots the next generatio? Anyway, the one ending up featuring Alex Haley himself), but have not watched Roots the tv series, though I know Levar Burton plays a young Kunta Kinte in it.

From the book, I remember liking Chicken George and Mathilda very much, but was always frustrated we basically went from Kitty sold and raped to Chicken George growing up solely from his pov, with Kitty having no story of her own (she's either described from her father's pov or her son's, with the brief rape chapter in between). I wonder whether Haley felt uncomfortable with female povs?