Archive for September 23rd, 2010

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 by Candace Havens
A Little TV for Inspiration

TV can be a giant time suck but it can also serve as inspiration for writers. When the snooty folks say, “I don’t watch television,” as if it is beneath them, I say, “too bad because you’re missing some of the most artistically diverse programming ever. Television has had a creative boon the last two years and it isn’t over yet. I don’t know about you, but it’s also a great place to do some research. Need some ideas on how to make quirky detectives work? Check out “Castle.” Want to lawyers who are funny? Check out “The Defenders.” Want to liven up your prose with some spies? Take a look at Nikita and Undercovers. These shows might inspire you to do your own little twist on a well-worn genre.

I started talking about the new season on my personal blog at you can find the information for some of the new series that I’ve added to my DVR. And I honestly talk about the good and the bad for Monday – Wednesday. I’m going to finish off that post here, and my hope is you’ll be inspired to check some of these shows out, and in turn they will inspire you.


This is one busy night of television, at least in my house. I’m a fan of Bones and Fringe on Fox, Nikita (a new spy series) and Vampire Diaries on the CW. That doesn’t leave a lot of room on the DVR, which is why I had to buy another one. I wasn’t going to miss one of my all-time favorite shows BIG BANG THEORY. Here’s a show is a great example of how to write some funny nerds. I’m actually angry that CBS moved this show from Mondays, because that quite honestly made Monday a perfect night of television for me. And I’m not sure I can ever forgive CBS for pairing it with the awful William Shatner show $..! My Dad Says. Ugh. That’s some bad television you won’t find inspiring at all. There’s a funny new comedy that has an incredibly diverse cast, Outsourced on NBC, that is so funny. This is a show that reminded me we also need to keep the characters in our books diverse. And it’s also a show that will make you laugh. One show that won’t make you laugh is “My Generation” on ABC. I didn’t find it very entertaining at all, but if you’re doing research on 20 somethings it might be one to check out. They were all a little too whiny for me, but I did get some good ideas for character development. I watch the other NBC comedies and ABC dramas online. There’s just no room at the inn on the DVR’s.


This used to be such a dead night, but it’s a busy one now. I love me some Supernatural and since it’s paired with Smallville, I’ll be keeping up with that one too. I’d given up on Smallville after the third season, but I started watching last season again and it’s an entertaining series. This is Smallville’s last season and I hope they go out strong. Fox moved Human Target, one of my favorites to Fridays along with The Good Guys. I’ll be watching both of those. All of that pretty much fills up the DVR for the night, but if you like law shows you should check out Jimmy Smits in Outlaw on NBC. It’s a different twist on a law show, and Smits is charming as always. Another charming guy is Tom Selleck and I also adore his co-star Donnie Wahlberg, but their show Blue Bloods is like watching paint dry for me. I should probably give it another chance but it’s a cop show with just nothing new for me.


This is a busy night in cable. If you aren’t watching Boardwalk on HBO, you should. It’s amazingly well done. I’ve never been that interested in the Prohibition Era, but this show has changed that. Steve Buscemi is just a revelation in this series. He’s finally found a role that takes serious advantage of his talent. I’m also a big fan of Bored to Death on HBO, which follows Boardwalk. It’s the crazy life of a writer, only he gets into even more trouble than I do. I still watch Brother & Sisters, which ended with a couple of big cliffhangers last season, and I’m still a fan of Desperate Housewives. Um, if my friend producer Jeff Greenstein wasn’t working on DH, I’m not sure I’d watch any more. Vanessa Williams, who guests stars on this, gave me the meanest look while I was interviewing her. It wasn’t anything I said, I promise. I just don’t think she thought I was worth her time. I wish that sort of thing didn’t keep me from enjoying a show, but it does. Fox animated is back strong. Goodness knows I still love me some Simpsons, and my kids live for Family Guy.

Well, if you can find a little inspiration in all that, well there’s something wrong with you. Do I watch all these shows every week? No, I wouldn’t get anything done if I did. But I do turn to them when I need to get out of my head and into someone’s world other than my own.

Tell me what shows you watch, and which new ones you’re looking forward to.