FANGIRL FRIDAY: Rewind, Remix, Recycle, Reuse, Reduce?

I’ve been feeding my insomniac self by watching midnight movies and shows, rather than having a midnight snack. Despite ratings, despite warnings, depending on who’s talking, I watched Terminator: Dark Fate and Bad Boys For Life on back to back evenings. Then, I recently caught myself up on the final season of Lethal Weapon and saw a commercial for a new Punky Brewster series. This semi-FLASHBACK FANGIRL FRIDAY post maybe hit me with the nostalgia bug finding some connection to characters I knew and loved, but I started to wonder if that’s all there was anymore.

In a recent article about a possible Criminal Minds revival, it got me excited. I’d recently binged the final season and already miss the characters. The article explained that a revival involved original cast and crew members, though no actors had yet to be attached to the project at the time of announcement, whereas a reboot could have completely different characters or a redo of a previous iteration with new actors. Revivals, reboots, reunion specials, series based on the big screen, movies inspired by the small screen. Different versions. Different perspectives. Same enjoyment?

What keeps us coming back to these types of stories? Is it the formula? Is it the familiarity? Is the market so saturated that we go with what’s comfortable? As a writer, this is something I think about a lot and it scares me as much as it motivates me to want to share my stories with the world.

As for the fangirl in me, I do enjoy these types of shows and movies–when they work. There’s a fine line between beating a dead horse and realizing the horse ain’t dead and you need to let it live its best life. When it came to Terminator: Dark Fate I think I wanted more. I loved Terminator 2: Judgment Day and remembered watching it in the theatre (*sniff* remember movie theatres?) and leaving so empowered. Linda Hamilton‘s portrayal of Sarah Connor is iconic. This (final?) instalment that reunited her with Arnold Schwarzenegger should’ve been awesome, but it ended up being too campy and dare I say, felt like the production was banking on their names to lure us in. I mean, it worked. I was lured, but I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I wanted to.

Bad Boys For Life, on the other hand, answered a question I’m sure every fan had asked. I wonder what Mike and Marcus are up to these days? Yes there were cheesy moments, but the chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is undeniable that it’s like they fell right back in step with each other–or maybe they’ve been fighting crime on the streets of Miami this whole time. Who knows? Maybe it was the storyline in Dark Fate or what I perceived as forced acting between Hamilton and Schwarzenegger, but I didn’t feel as emotionally invested in their lives as I did our Boys from Miami.

Maybe that’s why I don’t want to always hedge my bets on these types of offerings. Expectations are too high and sometimes we’re left with disappointment. It’s also perhaps a good reason why I’m such a fan of shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision. They’re expanding on storyverses that I’ve grown to love and are giving us new characters and storylines that can satisfy our late night binge watching hunger. You can be certain that I’m all in for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when it comes out next month.

How about you? Are you into revivals, reboots, redos, and/or continuations, or are you a one and done type of viewer? Whatever it is, there’s definitely something for everyone. Enjoy your midnight visual snacking.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: We Interrupt This Research Session…

a.k.a. Getting Nostalgic Down a Digital Rabbit Hole

I do solemnly and lovingly proclaim this to be the first of potentially many FLASHBACK FANGIRL FRIDAY posts. I had something previously planned for today’s post, but there was a slight detour while doing research for my impact x SKYDANCE submissions. Depending on the day, I might have something playing in the background while I work. Earlier this week, it was essentially a slew of John Mulaney videos on YouTube, because, why not? One particular vid was him chatting it up with Desus & Mero. While it was entertaining, in itself, there was a moment when John brought up the 1990s classic TV show, (in my humble opinion), Ghostwriter. They talked about it for a spell and even sang a bit of the theme song. It’s funny how a simple phrase can activate the recall sensors and I paused to reminisce about my personal enjoyment of the program.

A while later, I was reading up on story structure for a television series when it just so happened that the post’s author mentioned their time working on a show called, you guessed it, Ghostwriter. Was this the universe telling me something? I can say for certain that my posterior was telling me to take a break, so I got up, stretched for a bit, then decided to feed my curiosity. I was tickled to find that you can watch the entire original series run on the YouTube channel IBeGhostwriter. Yeah, I subscribed. Apparently there’s a reboot, but I haven’t seen it yet. This post is all about old school shows I enjoyed. Let the fond memories continue.

Of course, the White Rabbit was calling me, so down, down the rabbit hole I went. More nostalgic feels washed over me. It’s like the one recall opened the floodgates and I was trying to name as many shows as I could from my childhood. The next show that came to mind was The Edison Twins. I happened on a random episode on YouTube that featured a very young Corey Haim, later of Lucas and Lost Boys fame, among others. I enjoyed the grainy quality of the episode and I’m chuffed that the episodes of The Edison Twins can also be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

Determined as I was, there was this one show title that I was stumped on. I tried google searches for “kids mystery shows” or “kids detective shows from the 80s-90s”, to no avail. A handful of hours, several lists, and dozens of cross-checks on YouTube for clips and/or theme music later (that was a fun trip down memory lane!), I found it. The moment I saw the title, I smiled, then it was confirmed when I watched the sometimes creepy opening credits. Friends, a show I loved to watch back in the day was called Read All About It!, that ran from 1979-1982. When I started watching it in the late 80s, it had already been in syndication for a few years. I’m so happy that the complete series is also wonderfully curated for your infotainment on YouTube. Yep. Subscribed to that, too.

Among the many shows that took me back decades, these three stood out. Campy? Yes. Dated? Sure. All around good fun? Definitely. All three had to do with kids trying to solve problems through investigation, experimentation, a lot of times using words, puzzles and critical thinking. Many years later, long after I’d watched the last of the episodes, I now realize these shows were the early foundations of my wanting to become a writer.

By the night’s end, I welcomed this sidetrack, of sorts. The premise behind these shows and the effect they had on me as a child has certainly informed the way I choose to tell stories in my fiction today. Perhaps these choices would emerge from the deep recesses of my subconscious, or maybe the pattern of storytelling that appealed to me over the years has been ingrained in me as I write. Either way, I’m grateful for shows like these. They were important for curious young minds and serve as a reminder that I have the opportunity to have the same positive impact on the next and all generations with the stories I share with the world.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some binge watching to do this weekend.

Nostalgia. Such a beautiful thing.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.