Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cue the intense opening music...

This week's theme on Brave New Words is Favorite TV Shows! Which is completely awesome, even though I actually no longer have a television subscription (thank you, internet). So I tried to narrow down some of the great shows that have had a profound impact on me personally, and as a writer:

This creepy, freaky show first aired in 1987 and is still on the air to this day! I haven't watched it since at least the late 90s, but part of that is because I used to get so freaked out by it, I would have nightmares from watching. The show covers everything from UFO sightings/abductions to unsolved murders, ghost stories, miracles, psychic experiences/ESP, strange legends, and just about anything else weird and unexplained you can think of. The show was originally hosted by Robert Stack, who I thought was William Shatner for the longest time (sorry, Shat), and it was set up a little like America's Most Wanted where you could call in if you had any information about the unsolved experience featured that night. There were often dramatic reenactments of the strange occurrences, but I think the alien encounter episodes were the scariest of all. Just hearing the original intro music still gives me chills!

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Everyone, start whistling! Okay, you're noticing a theme here, right? Emily likes the strange phenomena shows. But that's also why we're all here on this blog, right? Go science fiction! All right so, I think The X-Files might be the one show that left the most lasting impression on me. I started watching it as a teenager and recently re-watched the entire series episode-by-episode up until David Duchovny left the show because...sigh. Every show has to jump the shark eventually. But for at least 5 to 7 seasons, The X-Files had everything. A kick-ass duo of FBI agents investigating strange paranormal events all over the country. Freaky monsters just about every week. Consistent and compelling (though sometimes slightly beaten to death *cough*Samantha*cough*) subplots. And did I mention the crazy-ass stories that often involved teenagers doing bizarre things? How much cooler can you get?


Who killed Laura Palmer? It's the question that plagued America for two years in the early 1990s. The theme song from this show still makes me reach for tissues. Except if you've watched (and own) the entire series, as I have, you kind of find yourself wondering why you're getting all sniffly...because this show was screwed UP! But this is David Lynch, people. Season 1 was relatively tame. Prom Queen Laura Palmer's body is found wrapped in plastic, floating in a river. It's a terrible, haunting tragedy. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by a swoony young Kyle MacLachlan) comes to town to investigate Laura's murder...but you quickly find out EVERYONE in Twin Peaks (including Laura) are not what they seem. Things go from strange, to bizarre, to twisted, to just...WTF by the end of Season 2. The characters in the show, however, are so three-dimensional and unforgettable they start to feel like people you actually know. People you're kind of glad aren't really real. You do eventually find out who Laura's killer was, but the discovery is so completely wrong and bizarre, I kind of wanted to forget it afterward. Twin Peaks is a twisted, insane show with a compelling mystery...wrapped in good old home-town packaging.

The music for Doctor Who makes my blood PUMP. If you hear it, you know you're about to be taken on an unforgettable adventure. The British television program is the longest running science fiction show in the world. It began in 1963 and has had a major makeover/surge in popularity in the last six years. The Doctor himself has been played by various actors over the years (pictured is David Tennant with Billie Piper as Rose), since The Doctor must periodically "regenerate" if he is seriously wounded. Along with rotating Doctors are a changing cast of "companions" who join him on his journeys through time and space. The writing for this show is especially complex and layered. Each season has a theme (or several themes) that all tie together at the end, though it's almost impossible to figure it out until the end. The stakes are high in almost every episode--life and limb are almost always at risk. The show also manages to send compelling messages about what is is to be human and the value of human (or non-human) life. The Doctor almost always promises adventure, a little history, a little speculative fiction, and a lot of emotional investment. In my highly-biased opinion, it might be one of the most perfect series ever written. :)

Emily Hainsworth is the author of THROUGH TO YOU, (Fall 2012 Balzer+Bray / HarperCollins), a sci-fi novel about a seventeen-year-old boy grieving for his dead girlfriend until he discovers she's still alive in a parallel reality--one where he's the one who died. For more information, visit her website.


  1. Oooh, I LOVED Unsolved Mysteries and X-Files when I was a kid!

  2. I love Doctor Who! Great show! X Files is a great one as well!

  3. Yay X-Files fans! You really can't go wrong with any sci-fi shows, though, amiright? ;)

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  5. Unsolved Mysteries! Yes. I loved that show. And I also thought it was hosted by the Shat.

  6. Jenn, I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who made that mistake...maybe Robert Stack and the Shat are really the SAME PERSON. D: