Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

TV is very different from when I was a kid. All I really remember growing up between the hours of 8 and 11 were sitcoms (Cheers was always my favorite). You ever see the one where Cliff goes on Jeopardy? And the categories are all stuff he would know, like ‘Bar Room Trivia,’ ‘the U.S. Postal Service,’ and ‘Sons and their Mothers’? And Norm keeps on being like ‘He’ll blow it.’ So they get to final jeopardy, and Cliff wagers all of his money, and the answer is just three names (probably historical figures, or something), and Cliff writes ‘who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?’ and insists that, technically, his answer is correct. That one kills me. But yeah, everything was really static growing up. The relationship between a show's characters changed, sometimes…but only very, very slowly. And shows only kind of did one thing- they were funny, or they were an action show, or they were a soap opera. There was very little mixing and matching. Not so, these days- now, we’ve got a plethora of really captivating dramas that feel more like Hollywood movies than sitcoms or soap operas. I remember when Twin Peaks came out. There was a turning point here, I think- it was a serial story (every episode was one ‘day’ in Twin Peaks), so it built on itself. Initially, the idea was that you never knew who killed Laura Palmer- the writers would just keep the show going for as long as possible. Eventually, they had to break down and come up with a solution before the fans went nuts. This was to the detriment of the show's ability to keep going. Still, I totally loved it. It was funny and sweet one minute- and then disturbing, dramatic, and poignant the next. And their was just a little bit of really freaky H.P. Lovecraft/Stephen King kind of stuff going on that would keep you up at night. David Lynch freaks me the &*$# out. So many shows are the heir to this legacy, I think- Alias, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Heroes… I still have faith in Heroes. It’s got everything it needs to be a great show (as already postulated by so many reviews by our resident editor)- they just need to tone it down sometimes and crank it up others. First of all, if they’re going to hire an actor to play a part? Than they better damn well make sure that actor is going to be around (I know this isn’t always easy)-so that way they don’t have to drop an entire storyline just because the individual playing the part isn’t available. Remember the invisible guy, the first season? Soon to be starring in the G.I. Joe movie? Yeah, I remember that part of the story too. Hmm. Yes, Heroes is great- it just needs a little more planning, a little less action if the action doesn’t result in any real, lasting change, and a little more action that DOES result in real, lasting change. I don’t have a healthy relationship with Lost. Although I love it. Generally, I end up renting or buying a season of it at a time. Over the span of the next 2-4 days, I watch the entire season straight. Than I have a post-Lost freakout session, in which I frantically comb the internet, searching for answers that are not yet available. Than I break down and cry in my shower for two or three hours. You know what I think was a show worth watching? Jericho. Of course, I never watched it. My feelings on this show are very much in keeping with my feelings on Firefly (i.e. I am such an asshole for not watching and supporting this show while it was on the air). It only ran for two seasons, but the gist was so- suddenly, a small town in Kansas witnesses a nuclear attack on Denver, Colorado. They lose all radio communications and satellite images: all there is is a big mushroom cloud in the sky and a whole lot of panicky, confused people. So what’s the show about? Well, survival, for one. And there’s the obligatory soap opera factor. But on the other hand: it’s a show about the tension between civilization and the individual. For example: do you keep selling groceries, at fair prices, if the world is ending? Or do you jack up the prices, start making ‘deals,’ because you need to protect yourself? Is it worth it to give to the community, instead or yourself? Should you give to the community JUST to give to the community- because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it helps you survive? Things in Jericho get crazy- and, I’m sorry to say, probably frighteningly real. A neighboring town actually declares an unofficial war on the residents of the community, raiding it for supplies. Thieves and con artists start profiteering and the roads aren’t safe to travel. Is there a government left to rely on? Or is it every man for himself? Do you keep waiting to hear from the United States? Or do you start preparing for the worst, turning your back on the old way of life? This piece is, of course, about comics. There have been some rumblings of continuing Jericho in either movie or comic book form. Given the serial nature of the story, I’d highly recommend the latter. I would love to see a well written book on this series- as long as it stays true to the spirit of the show. But before that comic book can be written, people have to know what Jericho is about. Hence today’s informative prose. So get out there and watch it- now. Go. You know what to do. I said Go.