The Sunday Salon: Bookish Fall Television 2013

Because I didn’t know how network television worked until 2005 (shows come on every week? What dark magic was this?) and thus developed a taste for long-form narratives very late in my development, my television watching habits are pretty scant compared to my peers. And they look downright minimalistic compared to the tumblrinas. (A tumblrina is anyone on tumblr who makes me feel old.) This past television season marked the first time I ever had appointment television shows—ElementaryOnce Upon a Time (I should probably review the second season soon, eh?), and Saturday Night Live. And, as another first, I’m actually making decisions about what shows I should pick up come next fall. There’s a few bookish options, and I’d like to share those with you today, in order of ascending ridiculousness…

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Man, how many times can you flash the Marvel logo in three minutes? Disney knows how to brand. In an interesting extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. gets its very own show, focusing on a group of agents doing the work that’s not big enough to require the Avengers themselves. And one of those agents is Phil Coulson, who “died” in The Avengers, because remember, if you scream loud enough, your media producers will hear you. It reminds me a bit of Heroes, the first show I ever started watching live, but I’ve got bigger and better hopes for this: being able to explore the Marvel universe at ground level will be very interesting. I also wonder how it’ll play into the movies.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

The Once Upon a Time crew takes their special blend of nineties fantasy, sloppy plots, and wonderful character development to Wonderland, bringing us a swashbuckling Alice struggling against the forces of the Red Queen and a institution of dudes telling her what to do in order to save her genie love. Sebastian Stan returns as the Mad Hatter. I didn’t know I needed something like this, but I do. I love Once Upon a Time dearly, but I’m interested to see what’ll happen in a piece with a protagonist, rather than an ensemble. (It does look like there’ll be plenty of fairyback, as the fans call the flashbacks in the main show.) Plus, Sophie Lowe looks engaging, her genie boyfriend looks suitably dreamy, and I reacted very well to Michael Socha as the Knave of Hearts. And I’ve been promised more Barbara Hershey as Cora, which is all I ever want in life.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers tackles the meaty (bloody?) role of Dracula in this show’s vision of Victorian London. The trailer is a little murky, but, essentially, Dracula is taking revenge on the other vampires but then gets sidetracked when he meets Mina Murray, who may be the reincarnation of his lost love. I think that plot point is taken from the Francis Ford Coppola Dracula, but I’ll let that slide—I find it interesting, plus it’ll give an emotional anchor to what is, presumably, a very bloody quest for vengeance. One of the odder additions to the fall line-up, but we don’t really have a primetime Victorian show on at the moment, so you get a pass, Dracula. Be good or delightfully bad. Those are your two choices.

Sleepy Hollow

This, however, can only be delightfully bad. Genevieve Valentine has a wonderful write-up, but, essentially, it’s National Treasure, Charmed, and Law & Order all rolled into one confusing package. Tying “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” into the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Interesting! Throwing an update, a surprisingly diverse cast, bad jokes, witches, and murder mysteries into the mix? It can only be the side of Kurtzmann and Orci that wrote Transformers. I look forward to seeing Nicole Behrie be one hundred percent over the supernatural crap that starts tormenting the town and Tom Mison be affably confused by the modern world. Of course, there’s only one question left: how is Nicolas Cage not in this show?

It’s finally June! I always love having a nice new month on my calendar to cover with plans and scheduled posts. This week, I went to see The Great Gatsby, and I read The Black Count, Openly StraightThe Times of the EightiesThe Bloody Chamber, Cinnamon and Gunpowder, Decades, The History of Caliph Vathek… yeah, it was a great reading week, and I hope to keep this pace up to create the bucket of scheduled posts I need to have for July and August. Then again, I also got my assignments for that time period, so… well, we’ll see.

This week’s links:

Are you going to watch any of these fine programs come next fall? What are your favorite bookish television shows?

10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Bookish Fall Television 2013

  1. “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

    Ugh, yes 😦

    Curious about OUaT spin-off even though I never really connected with the main show. Also, Dracula! I’d love to have an enjoyable piece of TV Victoriana in my life.

  2. Ahhh how had I not heard JRM would be in Dracula and that it was going to be made by the Tudors people. I mean those people make the best trash TV. And OJC you don’t even know my love for him (which is entirely based of watching him be an artist in the awful Mr Selfridge). It’s going to Sky Living here which means I can probably watch it.

    I’m excited for the OUaT spin off (although ugh Jefferson – I know he has to be in it, I just hate him). I’m about six eps into S2 of the main series though and I miss S1 – more ladies, less David being sherrif please.

    And maybe I’ll watch Sleepy Hollow depending on if we get it here, I like the detective casting (also John Cho as a regular cop – one time I’m like, ‘s cool that you probably got this job partly because you’d worked on a previous project with the creative team).

    Are you getting the BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell in the US? That should be great as long as they don’t mess it up (I have faith BBC – just saying, be careful).

    • Trash TV? 😀 I think I just found my new favorite fall show! I should probably read Dracula over the summer to compare.

      I do love John Cho. He played another cop in FlashForward, and he’s very adept at it.

      If we do, we’ll be getting it a bit later on either BBCAmerica or PBS; I haven’t heard word on who picked up the license for that. (It’s a bit of a mess; BBCAmerica recently got back the Doctor Who license from Syfy, while PBS got the Sherlock license. Entertainment copyright law is fun!)

  3. That post about Moffat and Who is so good. The sassy = strong thing has been bugging me for a while, as has the lives revolving around the Doctor. But that post identified a big storytelling problem I’ve been trying to put my finger on. Moffat Who is primarily about the Doctor and Davies Who was as much or more about the companions. If the companion isn’t fleshed out, the show loses its heart.

  4. Ugh, I have so many problems with the way Moffat writes Who. I wish he were leaving instead of Matt Smith. I am sure they would find someone to replace him who MAYBE WOULD HIRE A WOMAN WRITER EVER. And honestly, Moffat’s been pretty resistant to criticisms of the way he writes the show, so I doubt he’ll be the least bit receptive to race-related criticisms of the show (let alone change).

    Love the Snape “Nice Guy” tumblr. True facts. Snape is the worst.

    • Ugh. The opportunity to have a new Doctor is exciting, as people are throwing around the names of very diverse actors—and then we realize they would have to be under Moffat’s reign. Nobody wants a lady Doctor near him.

      UGH SNAPE. I hate him so much.

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