Every Story Has an End

Day 16 of the month of Tater and I’m sure based on the title you’re thinking “Oh no. Another one of his sappy ‘feelings’ posts about death or change or something”  Good news, fake reader! You’re wrong! This is about actual stories in books, TV and movies.

I watched the series finale of Vice Principals this week. It was only on for two seasons and Danny McBride says that this was always the plan. He had a story. He told the story. The story is over. I like that. Every story has an end and it is better if the creator of that story writes the end(unless your name is George RR Martin). Too many times, a story is not allowed to end naturally. It goes on way past the natural end or it is ended early due to ratings issues.

Under the Dome was a good Stephen King book that would have been a good TV mini-series. Unfortunately, the ratings meant the network kept asking for more, so the story dragged on and on way past the natural end. The Mist, on the other hand, was a TV series that I worried would suffer the same fate, but instead, was canceled after one season mid-story. I would rather a TV show have two very good seasons and then end than go on indefinitely, even after there are decent stories to tell. Unfortunately, it is a business and driven by money, not story.

The same happens at the movies. Some movie franchises end before the story is over because of poor earnings. Some franchises(I’m looking at you, Transformers) go on way too long. Sometimes, the franchise tells the story in full but does something stupid like split a book in to two movies when one would suffice(cough, Twilight) in order to wring some more money out of the fans. Again, a creative industry driven by money, not creativity.

Alas, the same happens with books. Usually, with books it is the problem of a series going on too long. I’m not sure I need another Stephanie Plum or Alex Cross adventure, though I admit I am part of the problem because I keep reading them.  If you can keep the stories fresh, a long series is fine. John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport, Connelly’s Bosch series and Crais’ Elvis Cole/Joe Pike are some examples of that. The worst offenders in the “stop already” book series are the “the author keeps writing after they are dead” series. I get the desire to finish a book if the author was close to done upon their death, but that’s about it. We don’t need more Vince Flynn books if they aren’t written by Vince Flynn. Terry Pratchett had the right idea when he directed “whatever he was working on at the time of his death to be taken out along with his computers, to be put in the middle of a road and for a steamroller to steamroll over them all” to stop people from writing “Pratchett novels” after he was gone. More authors should go this route.

Every story has to end. Please let them end naturally.

 

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Watching Until the End

I came really close to not doing day 10 of the Month of Tater. I feel weird doing the blogging thing when people are around. My family does not understand why I do it and look at me weird when I say I am writing a blog post. I’ve not been alone all day, so I was leaning toward not doing it. I did, however, say I was doing this every day this month, so here it goes. I had two thoughts on what to write today. A very shallow post about long running TV shows I’ve watched beginning to end or a deep, introspective post inspired by a line of dialogue on one of those shows. I’m going shallow.

There are a handful of long running shows I’ve watched from the first episode to the series finale. I’ve given up on a lot of shows because I lost interest. A lot of shows get canceled early. These shows lasted a long time and held my interest for the entire run. I’m probably forgetting about some older shows, but these are my memorable ones.

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I remember when they announced that Joss Whedon was doing a TV version of the movie. I was very excited and people thought I was weird(I am) for being excited about a TV show based on a mediocre movie. Turns out I was right to be excited. It is still one of my favorite shows ever, even though the Riley and the Initiative storyline was terrible. I also watched the entire run of Angel, but it was a shorter run. I’m sad that I can’t get my kid to watch it.
  2. ER – This is one that almost lost me. As time went by, most of the original cast was gone and they finally hit a season that inspired me to write a blog post that ER was crashing, but I kept watching. Every medical show I’ve watched since has been compared to ER and have come up short. I’m not sure anyone will ever do one as good.
  3. Gilmore Girls – I almost didn’t include this one because I wasn’t sure I watched from the beginning. I realized, though, that I had to have started from day one because I didn’t have access to old episodes easily back then. I have always unapologetically loved this show that most men wouldn’t admit watching. The dialogue was great. I loved the characters(until they destroyed Rory in the Netflix revival). It was a great show.
  4. Santa Barbara – I watched soaps with my mom. I loved Days of Our Lives, but Santa Barbara was my favorite. I watched the first episode and the last episode and most of the ones in between. I doubt I got all of them as I went to college in the middle of the run. I did, however, find other Santa Barbara fan in my dorm and we watched together whenever we could.
  5. Grey’s Anatomy – The show that inspired this post. I was watching the 300th episode this morning and thought about other shows that I’ve watched from the beginning. I love that they still have 4 of the original characters on the show after 300 episodes. I like a lot of the new characters. I hope it’s true that this season will be lighter and funnier. I think it is a better show that way. I don’t plan to stop watching any time soon.

Do you have any shows you started on day one and watched to the bitter end?

Some Random Friday Thoughts

Just a quick post with some random thoughts that are not interesting enough to warrant an individual blog post:

Twitter – I’m not good at Twitter. I mainly use it to follow sports and news feeds. I don’t post a lot, so of course I am qualified to talk about Twitter use. Twitter was created with a limit of 140 characters. It wa nice and short and easy.  Now they have expanded that to 280 characters. Before that the dreaded Twitter thread had become the norm. So many times I am on Twitter and I see a post that says it is the start of a thread and then the person proceeds to write an essay 140 characters at a time. Twitter was not meant for long form writing. If you want to write an essay, start a blog. I am proof that they will allow any untalented hack have one.

How Do You Like Me Now – The Toby Keith song is stuck in my head this morning and I have to admit that I always wanted to have a “How do you like me now” moment. I wanted something that would allow me to show the people who doubted me that they were wrong. I’ve never had that moment. I didn’t achieve fame. I don’t have an impressive job. I’m just a boring, normal person. Part of me still longs for one of those moments even though I know it is not going to happen. Boring, unattractive, middle aged librarians don’t generally get that type of thing.

TV – I ddn’t do my normal “What’s on TV” posts this year because I was out of the country when the new season started. I’ve watched several of the new shows this year and I have to say that I’m not impressed. The military shows all seem like the same show. The comedies were OK, but not good enough that I kept watching. So far the only new shows we watch regularly are The Orville and Ghosted. We like The Gifted, but it is still on the bottom of the list when we are scanning the DVR. Maybe the midseason shows will be better.

I probably have more, but it is time for me to get ready to head out to work.

Tater Takes on the Fall 2017 TV Schedule

I’m am one of the weird people who looks forward to the network upfronts every year to see what is renewed, what’s canceled and what’s new. The upfronts were this week. I will go night by night and post my thoughts. If you want a good grid, TVline has a good one.

Sunday: ABC has To Tell the Truth, Shark Tank and Ten Days in the Valley. CBS has Wisdom of the Crowd, NCIS: LL Cool J and Madam Secretary. Fox stays with comedy with Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Ghosted  and Last Man on Earth and NBC has football.

Most of my Sunday night viewing is on AMC and HBO(Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, etc) but we do enjoy Madam Secretary.  Otherwise, I will try Wisdom of the Crowd only because it stars Jeremy Piven(a charismatic tech innovator who creates a cutting-edge crowd-sourcing hub to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime-solving in San Francisco.) and Ghosted with Adam Scott and Craig Robinson(a comedic X-Files) and football.

Monday:  ABC continues Dancing with the Has Beens followed by the new show The Good Doctor, CBS has Big Bang, 9JKL, Kevin Can Wait, Me Myself and I and Scorpion. FOX moves Lucifer to 8(weird) followed by The Gifted. NBC has The Voice and the Brave and CW has Supergirl and Valor.

Lucifer is one of my favorite shows. The move to 8 is weird. We also really like Supergirl. My wife and daughter like Scorpion. As for new shows – I think the only one I will watch is Gifted(set in the X-Men universe). I might give in and watch the new comedies, but I don’t think they will stick.

Tuesday: ABC has The Middle, Fresh Off the Boat, Blackish, The Mayor and The Gospel of Kevin. CBS sticks with NCIS, Bull and NCIS:Gumbo. FOX moves Lethal Weapon to Tuesday followed by The Mick and Brooklyn 99. NBC has The Voice, Superstore, The Good Place and Chicago Fire. CW has Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.

Tuesday night is always hard for us and the reason we need to upgrade to a DVR that allows for recording more shows. This will be complicated. At 8 we watch Flash and Lethal Weapon(best new show last season). My wife watches NCIS and I like the ABC comedies. Looks like NCIS and the ABC shows will watched on On Demand. At 9 we watch Legends, the NBC comedies and Brooklyn 99(the one comedy my wife likes) and I think The Mayor sounds good. More On Demand somewhere. 10 is easier. My wife watches NCIS: Gumbo and we all watch Chicago Fire.

Wednesday: ABC has The Goldbergs, Speechless, Modern Family, American Housewife and Designated Survivor.  CBS has Survivor, Seal Team and Criminal Minds. FOX is Empire and Star. NBC has The Blacklist, Law & Order SVU and Chicago PD. CW is Riverdale and Dynasty.

This night is even more complicated by the fact that I work until 9(I need to figure out how to be paid to stay home and watch TV). We really like the entire ABC slate. Speechless and American Housewife are two of the best sitcoms on TV. Survivor was the one show I watched live until I started working on Wednesday nights and is now the one I watch as soon as I get home. We also watch Riverdale and The Blacklist. So, at 8 we will record Survivor and one other show and watch the rest on On Demand. at 9 I will record the ABC comedies and will likely try Seal Team(because I am a fan of David Boreanz) and Dynasty(because I’m a sucker for a reboot), 10 is easy because we only watch Designated Survivor.

Thursday: ABC continues Shondaland night with Grey’s, Scandal and How to Get Way with Murder. CBS has football and then Big Bang, Young Sheldon, Mom, Life in Pieces and S.W.A.T. FOX has Gotham and The Orville. NBC has Will and Grace, Great News, This is Us and Law & Order True Crime(football from Nov 9-Dec 14), The CW has Supernatural and Arrow.

I still watch Grey’s and I don’t think I will be able to resit the Will & Grace reunion. We watch all of the DC universe shows so Arrow will be on the schedule. I will probably try The Orville(comedic Star Trek type show with Seth McFarlane) and S.W.A.T.(because my wife is a sucker for cop shows).

Friday: ABC has Once Upon a Time, Marvel’s Inhumans and 20/20. CBS has MacGyver, Hawaii 50 and Blue Bloods. FOX is Hell’s Kitchen and The Exorcist. NBC has Bindspot, Taken and Dateline. CW is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin.

My wife likes Macgyver and Hawaii 50 and I like Blue Bloods, so we will record the entire CBS slate. She also really likes Taken. Otherwise, nothing here for me. I still can’t figure out if all of these shows are here to die or if the networks are trying to revive Friday night viewing.

I won’t bother with Saturday because it is all encores and football. Use this day to watch DVR’ed stuff if you are boring like me and never have plans on Saturday night.

Mideason shows I’m looking forward to seeing: The 100, Black Lightning and iZombie on The CW. Shield and Alex, inc on ABC. AP Bio, Rise and Timeless on NBC. Amazing Race and Code Black on CBS.

To read more about the new shows go here for a synopsis on each one.

 

Some Thoughts on Last Night’s Episode of Survivor

Some random thoughts about last night’s episode:

In the reward challenge why did Tai’s team never put him in the chair? Shouldn’t you put a smaller, weaker player in the chair at the end instead of leaving him as one of the ones lifting the entire time?

I don”t disagree that Zeke is a strong, strategic player but shouldn’t he have been a little more subtle with his bonding with Culpepper? Especially when you know your current alliance already has little trust in you?

Math: Your current alliance is up 6-4. I know that mathematically you can get rid of one of your own and still be up 5-4, but that means you only need one person to flip to be in the minority. I don’t get why people always want to make the move on an alliance member with such a small advantage. It makes more sense to get it at least to 6-3 so you would need two flippers to change the game.

Andrea wins the battle with Zeke and was correct that he was going to turn on her. If not for idols and advantages(legacy and secret) I would like her chances to go to the end. Instead she has a 5-4 advantage but has alienated Michaela and Sarah by pushing them to go after Zeke. If Sarah flips you have a 5(or 6 with Michaela) with 3 idols and 2 advantages. She is also doomed because my daughter says she is the only one left that she really wants to win. I see a final 5 of Sarah, Sierra, Tai, Troyzan and Culpepper(perhaps saved by one of Tai’s idols).

A Very Emotional Survivor Game Changers

Caution: Spoilers ahead:

 

I should have known something big was gong down in tribal council last night. After the normal “previously on” and the scenes of the tribe after tribal, we moved quickly to the reward challenge, saw brief scenes from the two tribes and then moved on to the immunity challenge and then to what I will be writing about: tribal council.

At tribal council, Jeff Varner started out trying to explain to the tribe why they should vote out Ozyy instead of him.  In doing so, he talks about a secret alliance between Ozzy and Zeke. Of he had stopped there, everything would have been fine. Unfortunately, he did not stop there. He turned to Zeke and asks him why he has not told them that he is transgender. He then goes on to say that this shows he is capable of deceit.  Zeke looks like he is in shock The rest of the tribe, to their credit, immediately turn on Varner telling him, rightly, that no one has the right to out someone. Varner tries to backtrack and says he is sorry, but I’m sure at that moment he is only sorry it didn’t work. I guess he thought the tribe would either agree that this means Zeke is deceitful or perhaps be bigoted enough to vote him off for being trans. In the end, they don’t even need to officially vote. Probst asks if he is correct that Varner is going home, they all agree and off he goes.

There have been a lot of villains on this show. Many people have done despicable things to try to win the money. Outing someone on TV has to be the worst. You have to be a pretty terrible person to 1. reveal such personal information without his permission and 2. think that Zeke being trans is a reason to vote him or his alliance out. I’m glad he is out of the game.

 

 

Survivor Game Changers: The GOAT vs the goats

Caution spoilers ahead:

 

 

We started the episode with a tribe swap and a switch from two tribes to three. I enjoy tribe swaps because it shakes up the game. People in trouble get new hope and people in power positions have to start over. I do feel sorry for the third tribe that has to go to a brand new camp and start from scratch. The bad thing about this switch was that it created clear majorities and easy votes unless someone decides to make a big move. Last night was nit the night for big moves in tribal council. Caleb being voted out was obvious and lacked any suspense at all. Luckily, the other tribes gave us some entertaining TV.

At the luxury beach we start with JT sailing his new tribemates out to snorkel and fish and then leaving them there while he makes up an excuse to go back and look for an idol. It was a smart move at the start, but he stayed gone too long and they all knew what he was doing.  This puts an even bigger target on his back until the self proclaimed GOAT of Survivor met the goats of Survivor. Apparently, there are a lot of goats living around this cam ad Sandra wants to eat them. They seemed to have no trouble catching some goats, but they are a mother and baby goat. The rest of the tribe have hearts and feel bad about eating a baby or leaving a baby motherless by eating the mom. Sandra does not care. She will eat them all. There is debate and they decide to free the goats and eat the chickens now that chicken king Tai is no longer there. The chickens are the big losers of the tribe swap. It’s probably good that Tai isn’t there. Sandra might opt to eat him if he tried to protect the chickens. I think this goat drama might lead to Sandra’s demise.

Over on the other beach, it’s clear that Troyzan will be the first to go, so he goes off to look for an idol. He finds a clue and discovers that it will be hidden at the immunity challenge. I love this. It makes for good TV watching someone try to grab the idol in front of everyone. He is successful so their first tribal council could be very interesting. Not much else about this tribe is that interesting at the moment.

They tried to make the vote on the losing tribe suspenseful, but it wasn’t. It was pretty clear it would be Caleb. What I found odd was that Caleb and Hali didn’t seem to be doing much to try to stay. They didn’t show any scrambling, looking for idols or anything. Maybe there was some of that, but it was boring. It just seemed odd. I’m not that sad about Caleb going. I liked him, but not nearly as much as I do the others in the game.

Next week: The revenge of the goats,