The Art of Television

Grey's AnatomyHere’s my dirty, little secret: I love Grey’s Anatomy. Every morning, after my husband and I spend some time in the Word, we go out to our garage and exercise. Over the years, I’ve gotten a variety of television series on Netflix—one episode is just the right amount of time to complete a good workout (45 minutes without commercials.) Often, it’s the next episode that gets me out into the cold at 5:30 in the morning. And Grey’s Anatomy does that for me.

I often opt for a second workout later in the day—between hours of sitting behind my computer and making dinner. I’m okay with watching so much television, because I’m in the best shape of my life. But, aside from my activity level, there’s another side benefit to watching dramas unfold on a daily basis—it inspires and improves my writing while reminding me that no character is all good or all bad—even Alex Karev!

When viewing Everwood, I studied the art of the day-by-day transformation of a stuffy, by-the-book character (Harold Abbott.) The writers eventually revealed his true heart and hurts which made him real. And I fell in love with Ephram, Andy and Delia, rooting for the healing of their broken relationships.

Snappy dialogue and obscure references (mixed with a little pop culture) kept me on my toes with Gilmore Girls. Parenthood and Brothers and Sisters put the love and function in dysfunctional families. Lost taught me that you can take things too far and lose viewership (and readership.) And with 24, I learned the importance of character depth, or lack thereof—because by the last season, I couldn’t care less if Jack Bauer survived his next mission.

Bones, Private Practice, House, NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife have helped hone my imagination while defining my muscles and strengthening my heart. And I know a show is truly captivating when the last season ends and it’s like I’m saying good-bye to good friends.

As a writer, I’m supposed to pour over books on craft and read works in my specific genre. I do this, but I find it just as helpful to study the art of relationships on the screen. Because good writing is good writing, whether it’s a novel, a movie or an hour-long drama.

When a television show can bring tears to my eyes, as Everwood did on a regular basis, or make me laugh out loud (thanks Gilmore Girls) then I know I’m hooked. And I pray the day comes when my readers can say the same while reading my novels—God willing.

One thought on “The Art of Television

  1. There are good characters in many genre. Those who are neither all good or all bad are usually the best because they are more like ourselves. You are doing fine. I can’t wait to read your books.

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