You know what’s worse than a book or a TV show being downright terrible? A book or a TV show being boring. I came to this conclusion a few weeks ago, when I was desperately trying to stay awake during the critically acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Boasting a stellar cast, a beautifully detailed period setting, and a big name production team, it should have the recipe for success…except for the part where there’s a heaping helping of molasses where any significant movement in the story should be. It’s not a bad show, but geezy criminy it’s so dull. I’ve taken to using it as a sleep aid. Anytime I need a nudge to the Land of Nod, I flip to the HBO on demand menu and catch up on what I’ve missed.
On the flip side, there are projects with no “name” actors or producers and a shoestring budget that will end up engaging me, because there’s a spark of humor or a dose of angst that just hits me at the right spot. I love soaps. I love teen-oriented shows. The CW’s 90210 reboot may not be garnering critical raves any time soon, but I haven’t missed an episode since I decided to tune in this season, because it’s so much fun. I posted about how much I hated Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, right? Meanwhile, this past week on the subway, I’ve been rereading Suzanne Brockmann’s old Tall, Dark and Dangerous series and enjoying myself thoroughly. I always tear up when Forever Blue‘s Blue recounts the story of how he carried Joe Cat down the beach during Hell Week, and the whole “pencil shortage” bit from Harvard’s Education never fails to make me giggle. High art? Not exactly. Brilliant literary fiction the likes of which Jonathan Franzen would bow to? Nope. But I like it. It entertains me.
At the end of the day, that’s all I want from what I’m watching or reading: a few hours of diversion. If I want sleep, I’ll just go to bed!