Here we are, once again. Snow. Still, we need the moisture. It's been bone dry here during our nice weather. I was just out looking over the garden. The little blue swills don't look happy at all. The hyacinths are just starting to bloom and are sitting there with a resigned expression. The yellow crocus have firmly closed up shop for the day. Some little blue and white flowers that I don't have a good photo of yet are looking very cranky. The main clump of hens and chicks is now buried. The tulips and daffodils are still growing taller every day. The roses haven't done anything. I can't see the white peony stalks.
Still, we need the moisture, and it's likely to soak into the ground. We haven't set up the rain barrels yet, though it would be nice to capture it. We're pretty sure there's going to be some nights where it's well below zero.
Work is quiet just now. I'm getting some time to think about my own projects, on my own time, at my own speed. Some of it is photo related projects that have been on hold a bit, and can now (well, sort of, damn you COVID) move forward.
But mainly I've been thinking about characters. The characters in the various things I'm writing, or working on writing, or editing, or just noodling, whatever you want to call it. Plus their relationships to the other characters, and the timeline of the whole darned thing. Just lately I've been musing some news that Les and Ceridwen got, and how it affects their relationship with Belinda, and what happens about then to Belinda's sister. None of it's written down yet, or even storyboarded, but the characters have been having fun trying different roles.
Like many other people we've been binging TV on Netflix lately. We've never watched much TV, though that's been changing. Some shows are really good. One example was the new Battlestar Galactica. I remembered the horrific 70's version, so full of promise, so badly executed. Even the science fiction fans were embarrassed about it. So when the new version came out, how good could it be? Except it was, and eventually we drank the kool-aid. We took to getting discs out of the library and eventually got a deal on the whole set. Seeing Katee Sackhoff in Big Bang Theory reminded me that I've been meaning to rewatch it.
Along the way we discovered other shows that tickled our fancy. Elementary and Sherlock both came along at about the same time. We turned out to be Elementary fans, and think the show got progressively better over the run, while Sherlock got progressively worse. Curtis was a huge Elementary fan and loved watching it with us, while other shows he would often amuse himself doing whatever cats do when their humans aren't around.
Lucifer was a happy chance. We watched the first one and got hooked. Silly and a bit over-wrought in places, but it was fun watching Tricia Helfer show up, and we're eagerly awaiting the last half of season 5.
We were scrolling through the Neflix suggestions the other night after watching a dreadful SF movie, and Grey's Anatomy came up. What the heck, we thought. We'd heard of it, and thought putting in 45 minutes before bed to scope out episode 1 was fine. You know how that turned out, since it seems everyone has watched at least some episodes of the show. Hooked. We just finished season 2. We're only 15 years behind the times, which is about par for the course for me on current trends. There are several hundred episodes for us to go, if we stay the course. This is beyond a weekend binge. We'll have to pace ourselves.
But what makes shows compelling, at least until they jump the shark? Yes, there's all the exciting action. Will that ambulance patient make it through the radical risky surgery to walk out of the hospital? Will Sherlock and Joan solve the murder? Will that rag tag band of humanity escape the Cylons and find a home?
But really, I think it's the characters. If you don't care what happens to the characters, you won't watch the show no matter how explosive the action. You'll put that book down and pick up another. You might not like a character, but for whatever reason you are emotionally invested. Maybe they remind you of you at a time in your life, and you want to see if they make the same changes you did. Maybe you're in love with McDreamy. Maybe something they say or do just hooks at your soul.
Writers would give non-vital organs to be able to reliably create characters that hook the audience like that. Just making someone quirky doesn't do it. A left handed albino tuba playing vet specializing in rhinoceroses might be quirky and memorable, but will it hook the audience? Probably not, because it will seem put on and fake.
And once you have a great character, you need to introduce them to the reader/watcher. Reveal a bit, but not too much at once. Show the start of their relationships in a plausible way, but with some barrier or conflict. Like-ability is one fairly reliable way of hooking the audience. If a character is someone you could see yourself being friends with, you're more likely to keep watching. And yet some unlikable characters are so compelling. Many people love a good bad-boy or want to see them get their comeuppance.
Is Grey's Anatomy realistic in terms of hospital behaviours? No. This is a drama series, not a medical procedural. I'm pretty sure that in any hospital, for almost all the time, the people are either too busy, or too tired, to be off shagging in obscure rooms. But it does make for interesting character development because shagging is more interesting than writing reports and doing lab tests. You want the audience asking themselves, will they or won't they? It's worked for 17 seasons. That's a huge testament to the skill of the writers and the actors.
Meanwhile, at the moment for us, we're waiting to see if McDreamy finds the stones to tell his wife the news. How Izzy copes. If George screws it up.
In the yesterday was so nice department, here's where a sound wall is going, soon, they say. You can just see the stakes in the ground where it will go. I'll probably visit this spot a bunch over the coming weeks to see how they're doing.
That was during a walk yesterday. 20+C. T shirt and shorts. Just to remind you, today it's snowing.
Of the Day
New Zealand, of course, in one of the eco-sanctuaries.