My fellow blogger Helen Yendall has published an excellent post called Reality TV as 'Research for Writers', which you can read here.
In similar vein, I've just rewatched the pilot of the wonderful series House, and it struck me that it is a masterclass for writers in how to avoid the awful information dump. There's some witty dialogue between the main protagonists in which we learn the relationship between them, along the lines of 'Just because you're my boss...' and cleverly posed questions, such as as when a patient asks Dr House 'What's wrong with your leg?' This seems like a perfectly natural way to find out what's what.
There are subtle pictures, too. As a way to give a patient mints instead of painkillers to achieve the placebo effect, we see Dr House empty a tub of vicodin into his pocket and replace them with the sweets; but why doesn't he just get a spare pot in the first place? Because he wants the drugs for himself, course!
I loved this series when it was on, and bought the box sets when it switched to a channel I didn't have. I watched it all the way through again, and delayed watching the last episode because I didn't want it to end. I did the same with Breaking Bad.
Give me a moment and I'll come up with some British shows that I've enjoyed as much.
Hi, Julia, now I've found your blog and added it to my list on mine. I'm happy watching comedy shows, or nostalgic programmes, like George Gently, or Endeavour - Inspector Morse in his younger days.ReplyDelete
I'm gradually rewatching 'Inspector Morse'. They're on ITV3 in the mornings at the moment and my Virgin box has taken it upon itself to record them for me, based on other things I like. They are still great, but so slow even compared to 'Lewis'. It is also interesting to note how technolgy has come on in the last 25 years. Imagine what Morse could have achieved if he'd had access to the internet.Delete
Thanks for the mention, Julia! Must admit, (to my shame, because I've heard it's very good!) I've never seen 'House' - one to add to the BoxSet list.. along with the pile of books I've got to read...! HelenReplyDelete
Helen, I've never seen The Sopranos or The West Wing or The Wire. Can't watch everything, I suppose.Delete
House was excellent!ReplyDelete
Glad you think so, Dixie.Delete
Having worked in the medical field I hated House, only watched it a few times and doing so made me irritable. He was everything a Doctor shouldn't be and I never could figure out why people liked the show. Feel the same about Breaking Bad...the premise behind the show is very annoying to me. It glorifies inappropriate people where our youth are concernedReplyDelete
I'm under no illusions about the realism of House, Sandy. I have doctor friends who say 'That would never happen' to just about every episode. I watch it for Hugh Laurie, really, as well as the writing, of course. I enjoyed BB just because it was so different from anything I'd seen before. I know what you mean about the glorification, but I don't think any of the bad guys come out as winners.Delete
I LOVE "House"! I was glued to it every season, though the last few went directions I didn't really like. It was amazingly written. I miss it.... I think reality shows are less reality and more improv and over-acting. I learn a lot more from TV suspense series and their tight plotting. Have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
I agree, Lexa. There's not much real about reality TV shows.Delete