Watching telly

Insanely having decided to not start another book until I had finished Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and not being able to connect to the story or the characters, I have spent January, and now a great deal of February, watching TV instead.

Part of the reason is I finally succumbed to Netflix, and upon doing so realised they had some series on that I hadn’t been able to catch previously but had wanted to watch, so it’s not solely Mr Stoker’s fault. But I want a scapegoat and this would never have happened if not his vampire classic hadn’t turned out to be so… boring.

So, what did I watch?

Firefly has been on top of my list for a long time. Never aired on Swedish television I couldn’t justify getting a DVD set, and the TV media never have been important enough for me to make use of illegal services. So, I started out with Firefly. Quite fun, and imaginative, utilising clichés in an inventive way. Somehow this is Space Western for real, the Wagon Train to the Stars Gene Roddenberry never made and never could had made, and I can see how it has acquired a following. Watching an episode now and then has been fun. Still some to go before I’ve watched them all I take them as mood arrives.

Meanwhile the rest of my family dove head first into Netflix – January really has been an orgy in television, except I had had other things to do. Work-related stuff.

Then one Saturday evening when none of us wanted to watch the same things – husband likes series such as Klovn and Shameless while I absolutely hate watching people making asses of themselves – we compromised and watched Black Books. We both laughed hysterically, so now we sit down and watch an episode whenever boredom threatens. Not the most inventive show ever it is at least European angst-humour, not the eternal same-same blandness of the US sitcom. And I do love that it takes place in a bookshop :)

One such night, a Friday I guess, I suggested we’d watch Sherlock. It aired on Swedish public TV about a year ago but none of us manages to catch scheduled TV – the time is just not there. We both like a good crime series, so agreed to try it.

About three and a half hours later we had watched the two first episodes, back to back. Husband, of course, is a whodunnit master, so always knew ahead what was coming, but I loved the visuals, the pacing, the inventive use of text overlays, and the apparent chemistry between the two main characters. So the next evening we sat down to watch the third episode. Then we wanted to watch the first episode of the second season, and realised it wasn’t on Netflix.

Watching back I think that is when I lost it. Because instead of sitting back and accepting the facts I went out and got the second season DVD. And the first season too, just to be sure.

Season two showed to be less whodunnit and more like fanfiction.  The mysteries and crimes are important but the characters is even more so, and some of the plotting is …obtuse, for lack of a better word. Husband lost interest sometime during the Irene Adler episode so the two last ones I watched alone. Which allowed my obsessive streak to emerge.

This is nothing new. As a pre-teen and in my early teens I read and reread Lord of the Rings almost on a daily basis. Since then monomania has reared its head every now and then – most recently the first time I read Cherryh’s Foreigner series, for example, or her Chanur books, or… – but there’s many more examples of this happening. It is like some stories or some character portraits just click with my brain chemistry.

As when I ended up watching the original Star Wars trilogy checking the set design.

(I know. I’m a geek. There’s no denying it.)

With Sherlock I ended up watching all episodes several times, every time finding something new, something which I had previously missed, growing increasingly irritated with the world for the main cast to be engaged in fickle projects like The Hobbit, denying the audience a third season. (As a Trekkie I do make exceptions for Into Darkness. May 17 can’t be here soon enough.) It’s not that I deny them their success. It’s just that Sherlock is so much more interesting than those other things and I do worry a bit that simple TV productions will be a beneath them now when they have both hit the mother lode, economically speaking.

So. Now I need to get back to Dracula. Only 60 pages to go it shouldn’t feel like an impossible task. But I just can’t get my heart into it. There’s a stack of books I’d rather read, waiting for me, but NOT finishing it feels equally impossible.

Meanwhile I wonder if real British people live with the kinds of wallpapers featuring so extensively in Sherlock or if it is just me that thinks them fascinatingly ugly? Which leads me to a stay in Berlin were I learned something about cultural differences in interior decoration.

But that, surely, is another story.