Viewers Advisory: One and Done
Who We Are
We are a couple of librarians who take television as seriously as books. If there is a good show out there that can be watched for free, trust us to tell you ALL about it. Because readers advisory is our profession, but viewers advisory is our calling. We love good TV and we simply must share. In real life you might call us Appleberry and Lowell, but together, in the vast blogosphere we are called Viewers Advisory.
What We're About
Gone Too Soon
This month we decided to highlight some of our favorite shows that never got a second season. The sad truth is that sometimes critical acclaim and the cult-like fanaticism of loyal viewers are no match for out-of-touch network execs.
One Reason You Should Watch Freaks and Geeks
Lowell: For me, the best part of this show -- by far -- is all the great talent that was discovered in Freaks and Geeks! Most of the cast went on to make more films and starred in other shows. Plus, there are a good number of cameos and guest appearances of now established actors in this show. They are all baby-faced and adorable! At the time the show came out, I recall sympathizing with Lindsay Weir, who was trying to find her place in the social hierarchy of a typical 1980s high school. I also remember crushing pretty hard on Daniel Desario, who turns out (some 20 years later) to be a grade-A jerk.
Appleberry: It's so hard for me to pick one reason to watch Freaks and Geeks. It's just so good! Not only is the cast impressive because of what they've all gone on to do, but they were so perfectly cast at the time when no one even knew who they were. I mean, just look at those geeks. Those are some bona fide geeks! I think what I really love about Freaks and Geeks is that it's so relatable. It probably doesn't matter too much when or where you went to high school, you'll recognize these characters - maybe you'll see yourself in some of them. There are no heroes or villains because all of the characters get complexity and context. And there is an emotional depth to the show that feels very authentic.
My Wait-For-It Episode
L: "Tricks and Treats," episode 3, is worth the wait. If you are on the Stranger Things bandwagon, then you will thoroughly like this episode. It is 1980s trick-or-treating, which always sets a nice scene and tone. The freaks get into mischief. The geeks decide they haven't outgrown trick-or-treating, and as a result find themselves on the receiving end of mischief. Mostly, I love this episode because it serves as guide for mothers of small children and how not to act once they are grown. Note to self written; future bullet dodged.
A: An early stand out episode for me is "Kim Kelly Is My Friend," episode 4. This episode marks the beginning of Kim and Lindsay's complicated and hard-won friendship. Following a disastrous dinner with Kim's family, the Weirs are totally freaked out when Lindsay brings Kim home to hide out. One of the best lines from the entire series IMHO is in this episode when Kim -- in tears -- says "You're like my only friend, Lindsay, and you're a total loser." Being a teenager is intense, in case you forgot. Also, Rashida Jones is in this one!
For Your Information
- Linda Cardellini was 24 years old, playing a 16-year-old in high school! She still looks much younger than she is! Watch her as Meg Rayburn in the Netflix original Bloodline, for some serious acting.
- Many of the storylines come from the real-life high school experiences of creator, Paul Feig, and the writers.
- Martin Starr, who plays geek Bill Haverchuck, is actually very athletic in real life and had to be told not to work out so much.
One Reason You Should Watch Firefly
A: Firefly is a great underdog story. Your classic rag tag bunch of misfits make up the passenger and crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity. Part sci-fi and part western, Firefly takes place in a future where humans have terraformed and colonized other planets after life on Earth has become unsustainable. Captain and crew scavenge and take on odd jobs, including stealing and smuggling, in order to survive. But they always strive to do the right thing and loyalty is valued about all else.
L: To my surprise there's some pressure for me to give this show a shining review. As it were, librarians love Firefly. I aptly fall into this category. Since we all can't be librarians, I will elaborate on a universally-great reason to watch this show: legit science fiction. One of my favorite examples is solid portrayal of space as a vacuum. That might seem trivial, but it matters. While Star Wars revolutionized sci-fi cinema, the "sci" to George Lucas' "fi" was way wrong. Why are the battles in space so blasted loud?! Disney made things even worse, in more recent years. But, I digress. Whenever we see Serenity move through space, it is soundless. Also, Joss Whedon's idea to terraform the planets in our own galaxy works within believable boundaries of space travel.
My Wait-For-It Episode
A: I was introduced to Firefly by a friend almost a decade ago and "Bushwacked" is one of the episodes that really stayed with me. Reavers are referenced in the very first episode but we see the horrors they are capable of in episode 3 when the crew comes upon what they believe to be an abandoned ship. Deciding to investigate and see what they might scavenge, the crew discovers the aftermath of a Reaver attack and soon cross paths with the lone survivor. Would you be surprised to find out that they will regret bringing him back?
L: "Our Mrs. Reynolds," episode 6, is a great episode. First and foremost, we are introduced to Saffron, a reoccurring but not main character, played by the one and only Christina Hendricks. Saffron appears on board Serenity, claiming to be Mal Reynold's lawful wife. I also recall thinking that the show really hits its stride as equal parts Western and Science Fiction. The cowboy speak starts to feel down-right natural on Captain Reynold's spaceship -- or boat. And at this point, the banter and jokes between characters have a nice history, making it easy to laugh along with the crew.
For Your Information
- Firefly fans believe the show was doomed from the beginning since FOX didn't even air the episodes in chronological order! The actual pilot aired as the last episode. All episodes were put back in original order for the DVD set.
- We have Firefly to thank for Zach Effron! Yep, his first acting role was for this show. Can you spot which character he plays?
- The series ends abruptly, leaving many/all of the questions unanswered. The film Serenity may help you get some closure or you can get into the four part graphic novel series of the same name (available from SJPL as eBooks).
...According to some, Lowell gets a little too cocky too early in the baseball season. And Appleberry wonders if maybe there is such a thing as too much washi tape.