Putting the Period in Period Drama


I have been obsessed with period dramas recently. British period dramas (though that might be a bit redundant. Can something be a bit redundant? Hmm).

I have absolutely no idea why. I’m not a person with a shiny nostalgia for the days long past. I know well enough–mostly from watching period dramas, I guess–that not everyone was the lady in the fancy clothes imported from France. And even she had her constraints, not the least of which was her corset.

But still, there’s something about them, something about opening a television-sized window into the past, thinking about the day-to-day lives of people from a hundred years ago as people, not as hazy lines of paint in the works of the impressionists.

It’s a way of remembering that, all the way along, people have simply been people. They were not bustles or feather-and-ribbon-laden hats. They were not horse-drawn carriages or cobbled streets.

They were simply people. As are we.

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Psych No More


So we said goodbye to Shawn and Gus of USA’s “Psych” last night in what had to be the most perfect possible ending to the show. If the show had to end. And someone said it did, so here we are.

Yes, it’s true, I would have loved to see it go on and on and on, decades of Shawn and Gus’ adventures, until they were solving mysteries at their kids’ colleges. But somehow I think that actors James Roday and Dule Hill might have other things to do.

How dare they.

There has been talk that we will see them again, and that seems totally reasonable, that every few years or so, they pop back up for a special. Maybe I’ll get my college episode yet.

But given that ending was my least favorite option among the bunch, it couldn’t have gotten better. As creator Steve Franks said on the “Psych Live After Pshow,” we really got the sense that the lives of these characters we’ve grown to love over eight years will continue. We just won’t get to watch.

And that’s so much better than a series finale that makes you avoid reruns when you see the syndication heading toward it.

Bye, “Psych,” and the people who made me laugh mysteriously, week after week. This pineapple’s for you.

All I Want Is to Be Lazy


Do you ever have one of those days when all you want is to sit on the couch, a marathon of shows or movies ahead of you, knowing that the only place you need to go is the kitchen?

Yeah, well, today is not one of those days. I kind of wish it were, though.

But it’s not.

Instead, it’s got a to-do list that gets longer every time I scratch something off of it. I’m not an expert in to-do lists, but I thought that they were supposed to get shorter the more you do. Not at this rate.

Nope, the soonest I can have a lazy day is Sunday, though when you think about it, Sunday’s really the prototype for days like that. What I wouldn’t give for another “House of Cards” run of episode after episode, but I did that already, and Orange is the New Black doesn’t come back until June. Everything else is miserly, giving us one measly episode at a time.

I need a new series on Netflix, that’s what I need. I’m open to suggestions.

Oh wait, right. My to-do list. Still, if you have any ideas…you know. In case.

I Love Lucy was a Long Time Ago


The other day, I woke up far too early to get up, but much too alert to go back to sleep. So I turned on the TV to find an episode of “I Love Lucy.”


The Ricardos and the Mertzes sat together in that iconic living room, listening to a beautiful radio, Bakelite by the look of it. One of the questions was about the last state to be admitted into the Union.

It was Arizona. Think about that. Back then, in the early days of the Lucy looniness, before the chocolate conveyor belt and weeks after Vitameatavegamin, Arizona was a baby state, only admitted in 1912, not yet dreaming of what was to come.

Then Lucy said she thought there were 46 states, and covered her embarrassment by saying she must have forgotten about Alaska and Hawaii, which was funny to them and not to us, because, of course, those states wouldn’t be admitted for seven more years. Such a strange thought.

Lucy, in that black-and-white living room, with the love seat sofa and the curtains in the background, only had 48 states. That we have 50 seems so immutable, so permanent.

But even these things change.

My Heart Belongs to British TV


I’ve got a problem. I’m utterly, hopelessly addicted to British television. The comedies. The dramas. The dramadies. I love it all.


It’s gotten so ridiculous, I sometimes think in a British accent. I think that might possibly mean I’m overdosing. And I also think that might possibly mean I’m not so sure I care.

A combination of factors make it so irresistible. There are the locations, from Cornwall, spectacularly showcased in “Doc Martin,” to the most consistent character of “Monarch of the Glen,” the Scottish Highlands. There are the storylines, often tight, nearly always concluded.

And then there are the actors. In the U.S., actors seem to be chosen for their appearance, primarily. An ability to act is often a bonus feature. British actors tend to look like people, not burnished Plasticine, and seem to get the roles not because they look the part, but because they can transform the part.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some amazing shows here, but unlike “Breaking Bad,” “Luther” is no anomaly in the British TV landscape.

Also, it’s where we get “Doctor Who.” So there’s that.