Monday, March 28, 2022

Characterization Lessons from Old TV Series

Recently we joined the 21st century and started using tv streaming services. 

I really like the access to old tv series whenever I want. Columbo. Blue Bloods. The Twilight Zone. And the two Hawaii Five-Os.

The original series starred Jack Lord and aired from 1968-1980. 

Link to Wikipedia description:

I didn't watch it when it first ran. (It probably conflicted with something else I preferred.) It's a police procedural, set in Honolulu. The dialogue and the acting style is kind of dated. But it's fun in its own way. Jack Lord runs around scorching Honolulu chasing criminals in a wool suit and tie (wide lapels, wide tie). The young people are always hippies and dumb (and usually the criminals). But there's always a mystery to solve and lots of action.

The reboot, most of which I watched when it was current, is much better. Why? Because the main characters on Reboot Five-O have personal lives, aside from their jobs. Families, romantic interests, personal conflicts, and background stories. They aren't just cardboard figures to slot into a plot to solve a mystery in 53 minutes. They're rounded characters, not flat. There's lots of humorous dialogue, interplay between McGarrett and Danny. We care about them. And because we care about them, the stakes are higher when they're in danger.

Another example of this is the original NCIS. Gibbs is more than just the leader of the NCIS team. He has an elderly father, three ex-wives, a former partner, and a first wife and daughter who died tragically. He dates from time to time. Tony has a problematic relationship with his father, too. And he doesn't relate well to women until Ziva comes along. Ziva has a problematic relationship with her father, has to decide which country has her loyalty (Israel or the U.S.), and has a lovely, teasing relationship with Tony that plays out over several seasons. Even Ducky has lots of background stories: the military, a long-lost brother, an elderly mother with dementia. These are truly rounded characters and we care about them.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Echo's Leash Dance

 In celebration of what would have been Echo's birthday, March 20,

Echo would like to remind you to

"Dance with your leash!"