When I was but a youngin my sister and I were Soap Opera addicts during our summer vacations. The first one we cut our teeth on was Santa Barbara. We were devastated when it was canceled but soon forgot our distress when we started watching Days of Our Lives. That escalated into Another World because the two shows ran back to back. So you can imagine our immense pleasure when Beverly Hills 90210 came to television. This was a show that we could relate to, beautiful teenagers living in sunny California and dealing with hardships like abortion, drug addiction, cults, eating disorders, stalkers, rape, and of course, lovers triangles. You know, your basic teenage life. I was pretty hooked for a few years and then my own drug addiction, cult, and eating disorder got in the way of my television time and the show was lost to me for a few years. 90210 aired for ten years and in those ten years along with their dedicated weekly night show the networks also ran 90210 reruns and 90210 marathons. So in any given week you could probably watch about a dozen episodes of 90210. So. Awesome. And now, finally, after years of anticipation, Beverly Hills 90210 is coming to DVD! Aren't you excited? I'm excited. You should totally be excited too. I know Adam is. And they certainly are...
You'd be surprised how much the topic of television comes up in conversation. I guess I'd never noticed it much before because my general knowledge of television programs was sufficient enough for me to take part in most of those conversations, but ever since we canceled our cable almost a year ago, well, I have no idea what the hell goes on in that little dumb box anymore. My response to TV inquiries, "Did you see what happened on Grey's Anatomy last night?", "Oh my god, can you believe that girl won on America's Next Top Model?" is, "I don't have cable so, I don't know." The reaction is generally two-fold. First it's, "But you have general broadcast, channels 2-13", or, "What do you use rabbit ears?", and to both questions I say, "no, we don't have anything. turn the TV on and you get a blue screen". The second reaction is always, "How do you live like that?!" The second reaction strikes me as both funny and unfortunate. Funny because hey, I've been there, I can relate. There was a time in my life when I couldn't imagine the idea of not watching television. Unfortunate because, well, there's a hell of a lot more to do with your spare time then watch the tube. One guy here at work even said, "How do you unwind at night?" and I said, "Many times, I read" to which he responded, "oh. that." Like, he'd completely forgotten about those silly things called books.
But saying I don't watch any television programs would be very untrue indeed. I have a rather large DVD collection full of movies and favorite TV shows, and I'm also a member of Netflix. The majority of my TV watching has been all Joss Whedon and David Attenborough's fault. Joss brings me the horror, David brings me the knowledge, and really, there are no greater forms of entertainment to me than horror and knowledge. Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about today. Last night Adam and I finally finished "The Life of Birds" documentary. At first I thought, how much information can there really be about birds? I mean, they shit, they eat, they fly. But after only the first episode of the program I realized how amazing our little feathered friends truly are. For me to go into the vast amount of information I now know about birds would take me days to write and post. There were after all, over 8 hours of documentary that we just watched. But the highlight of the program for me was an episode called, "Signals and Songs". In this episode you discover the different signals and songs birds across the world produce. The most remarkable of which was the Lyrebird, whose ability to mimic sounds of the environment was so great that it captured and reproduced man-made sounds like, a shutter on a camera, and the sound of a chainsaw. See for yourself.
I'd never given much mind to the Gilmore Girls despite its rather high critical acclaim. For years it aired coinciding with Buffy the Vampire Slayer so that alone put it off my radar, not to mention the cutesy-wootsey mother-daughter advertising for the show, way too pastel and fluffy bunnies for my taste.
One Friday night, about a year ago, I had the apartment to myself. The evening was to be spent cleaning so that I'd have my weekend free from the chores, and in anticipation for the hours of scrubbing and dusting ahead I channel surfed to see what on television could brighten my rather dull evening of events. I flipped through the Guide and nothing of any interest presented itself, no Star Trek marathons or fun movies, nothing. Just when I was about to abandon all hope and pop in Spider-Man on DVD I spotted a four hour marathon of the Gilmore Girls. I thought, what the hell, and turned it on. I went about my way, cleaning this, scrubbing that, and ever so often I would catch something clever on the show that would pull me into the living room to see what was going on. Throughout the course of the first hour this kept happening, and each time it happened I stayed in the living room watching in longer increments. During the second hour there were times that I'd come in and have myself a sit on the couch, letting five, ten minutes roll past, suddenly engrossed in this charming and clever show. By the third hour I'd abandoned all cleaning and had settled myself in for the duration of the Gilmore Girl marathon, a silly smile plastered to my face, the dusting rag still at my side. After the fourth hour I was completely head-over-heels for the Gilmores. The very next day I went out and bought the complete first season on DVD and from there, over the next year, I would come to watch all five seasons on DVD, not once, but twice. Every day for the next year I would make room in my life for a 45 minute trip to the world of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, the world of the Gilmore Girls.
I first started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while it was in its fifth season back in 2001. I didn't set out to watch it, I'd honestly never given the series a thought beyond "you've got to be kidding me, who would watch this?", but one evening while alone I channel surfed my way right into the world of Joss Whedon and his vastly imaginative world of demons. I don't remember the specific episode that managed to reel me in, but I do remember that when I landed on the WB and found myself staring at a tiny blond girl kicking some vampire ass I could hear the voice inside my head saying, "you cannot watch this, of all things, turn the channel right now". But my eyes kept with her fluid fighting movements as she kicked and spun and punched her way through danger, landing a final stake through the heart complete with a witty one liner that made me giggle in spite of myself. I allowed myself to watch for the rest of the hour, indulging in the silliness that I felt, finding comfort in the fact that I was alone and so no one would have to know. But by the end of the episode, I wanted more, and I didn't care who knew. I was hooked, just like that, I didn't even know what hit me. And so it began, the start of what would prove to be a very long love affair that continues to this day.
The spin-off series "Angel" was already on the air for a year by the time I found myself an official fan of the Buffy series. I wasn't familiar at that point in time with the character of Angel, he had departed Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the fourth season, one season before I became a viewer. At that point, I was so enamored with the Buffy world that I had no interest in this other series that contained a former character that I knew nothing about. Besides all of that, I try not to have more than two TV series addictions at a time. So the Angel series went completely ignored by me for years to come.