I see you there, watching your British TV

We are readers. We delight in the heady escape into the endless possibilities of the written word. We live vicariously, we invest our emotions in characters who we love too much to admit to their inexistence outside the confines of the page. We live for the moment when we grasp a shiny new novel in our hands and crack the binding.

So am I the only one who feels more than slightly guilty when I would rather curl up in front of the television and let it do my imagining for me? We book bloggers are a dedicated bunch, but we are more than our blogger identity would suggest. We are students, we are professionals, we are mothers who barely have time to breath, let alone indulge in our every literary whim. And sometimes, when we are just too tired to do what we love, we welcome the shallow comfort of regularly scheduled programming. I know I’m not alone in this, though we might not like to admit it too often. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I would share some of my guilty television pleasures in return for suggestions of shows I should check out. Be forewarned: British TV makes up the majority of the list below, though I doubt this will be a problem for most.

Misfits
I’ve pimped it recently, so I figured I’d lead off with this one. I’m dismayed to learn that the upcoming fourth season will actually see the departure of not two, but three of the original cast members. Still,  I’m looking forward meeting the new characters and seeing what crazy adventures the writers come up with for these young offenders.
 
Sherlock
I’d followed the progression of this show for a long time on Tumblr before I finally found out what all the fuss what about for myself. This was prompted in no small part by the fact that literally EVERYONE I know was telling me how absolutely amazing it was, and oh were they right. It will be a long, cold winter until the third season brings us back our two favorite mystery-solvers.
Game of Thrones
Speaking of a long, cold winter…I was completely unprepared for the epic sprawl of this show and how completely invested I would become in the slow unraveling of motivations and machinations. I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired to such absolute loathing toward a character before (Joffrey, I’m looking at you, you sick sick boy-king). What really keeps me enthralled, though, is how very much my feelings toward most characters have evolved into a murky ambiguity as the show has gone on.
Mad Men
Serving as another nice seque, perhaps the epitome of murky ambiguity this year was the unexpected evolution of Don Draper. Don is not a moral man; we knew this going into the show’s long-awaited fifth season. Yet in an odd turn of events, Don was in many ways the most moral of the bunch this season. How long it stays this way is anyone’s guess, but it’s time to realize that, underneath it all, Don isn’t a bad man. I’ve got my qualms about many secondary characters in that regard, but that’s what makes Mad Men so compelling.
The Syndicate
And once again, the BBC proves to all American broadcasters that a fantastic story can, in fact, be wrapped up in only five episodes. I became completely engrossed in this show about a group of supermarket workers whose lottery win irrevocably alters their lives. Unfortunately, though the show was picked up for a second season, it will follow a completely different cast of characters. I’ll tune in nonetheless.
Bones
After years of being jerked around by Hart Hanson and company, this past season finally saw many fans’ dream plotlines come true, though many complained about the manner in which they were executed. Still, after six years’ worth of foreplay, I’ll take what I can get; Booth and Bones are together, and that’s all I can ask for. Well, no, that’s not strictly true, as I’d also love a more pronounced return to the sharply-written, humor-laced crime plots that characterized earlier seasons (along with more Hodgins screentime, some more guest appearances by Gordon Gordon and Caroline and, hell, the return of Zack while I’m at it).
The Office
Once you’ve written fanfiction for a series, you really can’t divorce yourself of your love for it. I was never actually a huge Michael fan, and so his departure this season wasn’t the calamitous event for me that many found it to be. In fact, I wish James Spader were staying on as undeniably creepy Robert California, but instead we’re stuck with Nellie. Still, I’ve stuck with it this long; I think I’m in for the long haul, however much longer that winds up being.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
My first, my forever favorite. I could go on for ages about how witty, wonderful, wacky, and completely relatable Buffy and the Scooby gang are, how much better off Buffy is with Spike than with Angel, how Buffy serves as the foundation for every YA paranormal written today whether the author wants to admit it or not, and countless other things that make this series one of the best in recent decades. Instead I’ll just go back to my Season 6 marathon and cry as Buffy saves the world- again.
Skins Generation 1
I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Skins (UK, of course), and I got sucked in despite myself. It was only after finishing the storyline for the first generation that I realized how much I cared about certain characters. It’s a bit uncomfortable at times, usually completely irresponsible, and not at all realistic (unless I led a much more sheltered teenage life than I am aware of). It’s also replete with moments of cheeky brilliance (see the out-of-left-field musical number in the first season finale).
So what should I add to my watch list? Should I attempt to tackle Dr. Who? (And are there any brave souls out there willing to give me a primer guide to how, exactly, that should be done, which season to start with, etc.?) Are there any other shows I’m missing out on? Being Human? Castle? Revenge? Merlin? (Though from what I’ve seen, I rather think not). Come one, come all, bring me your suggestions!
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Meandering Around the Interweb

In my various hours of wandering through book blogs far and wide, I’ve come across some pretty fantastic posts lately, so I thought I would spotlight my favorites. Hopefully I can make this a semi-regular feature, although my laziness will test the bounds of my determination to do so, so stay tuned for now.

While I’m drowning in the tears that can only be brought on by The Reichenbach Fall, perhaps I’ll drink away my sorrows with some of these delightful Sherlock blend teas. I’m particularly curious to try Moriartea.

Heroes and Heartbreakers had some interesting television news this week. Apparently, come fall we will have a new Beauty and the Beast adaptation, this time with an update of the classic 80’s TV show. I can’t help but be rather disappointed with the trailer (and not only because I was an adamant Lana hater during the Smallville years). I’m sorry, but a little facial scar does not a beast make, especially when the monstrous attitude is replaced with a penchant for altruism. From the snippets we get here, it looks like he might become a tad more beastly when he’s in angry mode…but, no, wait- scratch that, he’s still handsome. Oh, well. At least we still have time to hope that the Anne of Green Gables modern update is better. But honestly, I’ll take Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie any day.

The Piper’s Son happens to be my favorite Melina Marchetta, and Kat Kennedy over at the Cuddlebuggery Book Blog recently wrote a wonderful review that expresses all the reasons I love this book more eloquently than I could. In other Marchetta-related news, according to Goodreads, the fourth book in the Lumatere Chronicles has a name, and it’s…Ferragost. Thoughts? Do you think this the official title, as it doesn’t really fit in with the first three.

There’s some interesting discussion of late about just what dystopian actually means, and how it differs from post-apocalyptic fic.

I’m guaranteed to track down this Princess Bride-inspired wine pack for my next dinner party. And don’t worry, according to the website, the Inconceivable Cab holds no traces of iocane powder.

I can’t help but love reading Amber at Down the Rabbit Hole’s reactions to recently completing her first viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While I don’t agree with everything in her post about why Buffy and Spike are meant to be, she makes some good points nonetheless. I’m even more interested to hear what she has to say about her foray into the world of Season 8 comics, as I’ve abstained from them myself. Personally, I love how Whedon ended the show, and while I’m somewhat intrigued by what I’ve read of the comic continuation, I’m also too apprehensive to delve in myself.

The world lost a wonderful writer last week. As always, Neil Gaiman’s words regarding the love he held for Ray Bradbury’s work are beautifully poignant and a lovely tribute.

A Spell of Vengeance by D.B. Jackson

I’ve been salivating for D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker since spotting the gorgeous Chris McGrath cover last year, and was so excited to receive an advance copy from NetGalley. The short story, “A Spell of Vengeance,” written for Tor.com makes me all the more excited to read it this weekend.

Once again, the scientific community has made a discovery that has gone shockingly unremarked-upon by the general populace. Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered human remains from the Middle Ages with iron stakes protruding from their chests. These skeletons serve as evidence of actual vampire hunting back in the day. Beware, ye squeamish; the link leads to some relatively graphic images.

Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews had a Twitter battle on behalf of their respective heroes, Bones and Curran. I think this speaks for itself.

Lynn Flewelling has written a short story in which Seregil from her Nightrunner series and Bast from Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind have a cage fight. I’ve never actually read Rothfuss (I know, I’m getting on it), but regardless, my money’s on Seregil every time.

And possibly one of the best things I’ve ever seen, Super Mercado has graced the world with Game of Thrones of Muppets. While they’re all super clever and fit in with the real cast surprisingly well, I think I stopped breathing when my eyes landed on Petyr Beakish and Dr. Varys Honeydew.

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a meme created at the blog of the same name that poses a different question about reading each week.

This week’s questions is:

1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?

2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?

3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was either the participant or recipient in a read-aloud. I vaguely remember my mother reading an American Girl book to me back in grade school when I was stuck at home with the plague (likely only the flu, but it felt worse). I

If there's anyone who could convince me to go audio, it's this man.

savor the experience of reading myself so much that I don’t think I would want to supplant or replace it with being read to.

This partially explains why I don’t purchase audio books. Not only do I think it would drive me crazy to be forced to digest a story at someone else’s pace, but I need to be able to add the book to my shelves when I finish it. I don’t like the idea of having to rely on a machine to be able to extract the underlying story. Secondly, audio books are just so darn expensive that, considering the amount of hard copy books I buy, I would be broke if I indulged in them as well.

That’s not to say that I am against audio books (unlike my hatred of e-readers). I simply don’t choose it as an option for myself. However, I might have to make a tiny exception in the future, as apparently James Marsters is branching out of his Harry Dresden persona to be the voice of Clay and Susan Griffith’s Vampire Empire series. Bestill by fangirl heart.

You might be a Buffy nerd if you know who Nerf Herder is

I can now admit- I was the ultimate Buffy nerd. I owned an entire series franchise worth of videos and guidebooks. I owned a Buffy backpack. I went as vamp-Buffy for Halloween in fifth grade. (I believe I may have stage-staked myself at some point during the evening).

And have I ever surrendered an ounce of my Buffy-obsessive ardor? A resounding no. Put Buffy on to this day, and I am a happy camper. Sure, it was a teen show, but under Joss Whedon’s skillful tutelage, the show’s cast tempered the usual high school melodrama with wit and wry, self-deprecating humor that belied an intelligence not often seen on TV. I defy you to undermine Buffy’s influence on urban fantasy, on pop culture, and on legions of closet Buffy-dorks like myself.

In tribute to my favorite television series, now and always, I’ve rounded up a few pieces of fanart that have caught my eye. Prepare yourself, the Scooby Gang is back.

Buffy Sketch Cards by SaraRichard

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The Doppelgänger Willow, the Gentlemen, the Spike…could there be any more awesomeness crammed into this piece?

Check out SaraRichard‘s gallery.

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Kill us both Spock by leftygohome

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Alright, so there could be one more awesome thing in the drawing above. That’s why Xander gets this one all to himself, like an artistic version of The Zeppo.

Check out leftygohome‘s gallery.

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The Gentlemen Sketch Card by Dr-Horrible

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While Buffy didn’t shy from its fair share of monster movie magic, Hush presented one of the eerier hours of television in recent memory. I love the angle and shading of this piece; the best Gentlemen interpretation I’ve found.

Check out Dr-Horrible‘s gallery.

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And because no Buffy post would be complete without it: one of the best moments ever to air on television.