Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - But Not for TV

December is the worst for TV junkies like me. While cable shows we all know and love (Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds) have sadly ended for the season, and we await upcoming seasons for other cable shows (Californication, Big Love) AND while network shows have gone on their month-long hiatus (seriously?!, is that necessary), I find myself scrambling to find something to stimulate the visually-obsessed person that I am.

Then again, in a way it's nice to catch up on shows I haven't had the chance to add to my already-jam-packed schedule. And so, the time has come to embrace this holiday season and (re)visit some fantastic TV shows - I suggest you do the same.

Breaking Bad. First things first, I have a ridiculously weird obsession with stories about drugs and addiction. With a really cool premise, kind of like an old-favourite of mine, Weeds, it's one of those 'do what you gotta do to survive' stories about a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. To secure his family's future he starts making and dealing meth, and the rest is award-winning history. Bryan Cranston, who stars as the meth-dealing Dad, has won an Emmy for this role three freaking years in a row. If that doesn't make you wanna watch, then I don't know what will.

You can actually watch the entire pilot right from

The Walking Dead: I've only heard good things about this show's gruesome depiction of a post-apocalyptic world. It tells the story of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, following a small group of survivors as they fight, basically, to live.

My So-Called Life. Two words: Jared Leto. Oh, yeah, and Claire Danes was in it too. For any child of the 90s, this is a welcome trip down memory lane. One of the first teen-centered dramas, My So-Called Life dealt with hot-button teen issues (at that time), but in a realistic way. There were no quick-solves, five minutes before credits.

Freaks and Geeks. Not a day goes by that we don't hear about, or see something new from the ridiculously talented artist, James Franco. There could be no better time than now, to go back to where it all started, when James Franco was the eternally-tortured bad boy Daniel Desario, who could steal, melt and break our heart in one episode. It's so unfair this talented cast only got one season, but it just goes to show people don't want to watch the outsiders. Instead, we're force-fed a regurgitated archetype of severely vacuous, popular kids.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife - Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen was kind of awesome. Way ahead of her time, she wrote stories about independent women. Free-thinking, full of spirit and angst-y for their time, her female leads always had something extra, something special. Her most famous, and a personal favourite of mine was Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Best freaking book ever. No joke, this book has ruined the idea of men for me. Every man has been and will always be compared to the brooding Mr. Darcy.

Her classic novel gave birth to an amazing BBC adaptation, with the dreamy and talented Colin Firth playing the misunderstood male lead we all love. Today's Jane Austen's birthday and to celebrate, this weekend I'll probably be cozying up in front of the fire, and watching the six hour BBC Pride and Prejudice mini-series. If you haven't seen this one yet, you are seriously missing out. It's addictive and the length of it allows much more plot-accuracy and attention to detail than the Keira Knightly version does. As romances go, this tops them all.

A quick shout out to Bridget Jones' Diary, where Colin Firth kind of reprised his role of Mr. Darcy. All you Bridget Jones' fans, if you didn't know that the story was based on Pride and Prejudice, shame on you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Madison Avenue's Mad Men Take Over Twitter

Mad Men may take place in 1960s New York, but its devoted fans are as modern and current as they come. Pretty much every character has their own Twitter account, right down to the very minor ones. And each Twitter feed personifies that character's personality and attitude to a tee. Their lingo and the historical references are all from the 1960s while they play dumb to things we know today. My only question is, how the hell do they actually go on Twitter from 1960s Manhattan?

If you can get around that minor issue, they're probably the best TV characters to follow on Twitter, really personifying (in 140 characters or less!) what their character might be doing when they're not on our televisions.

Continuing to tweet in-between seasons, the characters make sure we haven't forgotten about them. We get insight into what Joan's going through during her pregnancy, how the future Mrs. Don Draper (Megan) is planning her upcoming nuptials, and of course, into the very childish mind of Betty Drap-er-Francis. There are character blogs, too. And, the best part of it is it's all completely fan-generated. If that's true, and this isn't some hidden ploy by AMC, they're succeeding even more than expected at building a genuine relationship with their audience. Talk about dedicated fans.

This probably sounds like a nightmare to all you PR professionals who strive to control what information is released and what's said about your clients but let's face it, we're living in a different world now. Where anyone can set up a blog (like me) and banter on about whatever they want (me again). And isn't my Twitter feed my own personal press-release service? I can promote what I want from it and represent myself however I see fit.

So I say, embrace the change and work together with these creative fans. Free promotion is great for the brand, and for social media marketers such as myself, fan-created content is like living the dream - when the audience itself is driving interaction and engagement with the brand.