In the last few years I’ve grown more and more appreciative of television – helped chiefly by its maturation as a storytelling platform. Witness “The Wire,” best viewed as a five-part novel on a city’s life and conflicts, told with such character depth and intertwined storylines it could give some of the great Russians a run for their money. Or “Deadwood,” which creates a community amongst disjointed individuals who realize they don’t fit in anywhere else; or “Breaking Bad,” arguably the next big step in television storytelling by painting a chemistry teacher/drug dealer’s path to Hell (the special kind reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater).
So I have a great deal of interest in the narrative of television writing, but it’s not something I can see myself placing much focus on in this blog as books are our first focus (though some shows, like “Dexter,” are in the queue for proper analysis). There are many people who do make this their focus though, and a new source for such study has popped up in Tarah Scalzo’s “TV Girl.” Tarah, a fellow alumni of the Daily Cardinal’s arts columnist fraternity as the author of “The Taraminator” movie column in 2006-2007, has turned her attention to TV shows in a blog that adheres to the tagline “Television is literature.”
It’s a fairly brief affair so far with only four posts – three on Christmas episodes (part of a Top 10 list I assume) and one on the decline of “House” as a TV show (which I wholeheartedly agree with) – but it’s off to a good start. The writing reflects the crucial entertainment blogger attribute of both knowing and caring about your subject matter, and the writing is engaging without the semi-frequent dips of pretension the Onion’s A.V. Club is guilty of.
So if you’re a professional TV viewer (thanks to my Portland drinking partner Kevin for that phrase) I endorse paying attention to it in upcoming months. There’s always more than one way to tell a story after all.