A Newbie’s Guide to the CW: Mondays & Tuesdays

Hopefully I convinced you last week that the CW is not a network only for hordes of giggling teenage girls.  Now that you know that it’s the home of interesting programming for adults, male and female alike, I’d like to guide you to some shows that you might enjoy.  What better time to catch up and join in then during December and January, when all that is on is reruns anyway?

I’ll guide you through the schedule by day, and it’s easier than most networks.  The CW only has hour long shows, and they only have two hours of primetime a night, for a total of ten shows.

Mondays:  Hart of Dixie & Don’t Bother

Missing all the wacky citizens of Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow, Connecticut?

Missing all the wacky citizens of Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow, Connecticut?

Did you love all the small town hijinks of Gilmore Girls? But, did watching Lorelei making poor life choices and forcing her daughter be the responsible one make you overly anxious and queasy?  Good news! Hart of Dixie has all the lovable characters from Stars Hollow with none of the stress!

Try the lovable residents of Bluebell, Alabama.  The outfits are better, and there's less bad life decision stress.

Try the lovable residents of Bluebell, Alabama. The outfits are better, and there’s less bad life decision stress.

HofD follows Zoe Hart, a NYC surgeon who inherits her father’s small town Alabama family practice.  There’s a little bit about her patients, but mostly only so zaniness can ensue.  Other main characters include Wade, the good looking, wise-cracking bartender; George the straight arrow lawyer; Lemon the southern belle antagonist that is so much fun you never really end up hating her; Annabeth the chipper, goodhearted friend; and Lavon, the former football star/mayor.

Half the fun of watching is seeing what they'll dress Lemon in next.

Half the fun of watching is seeing what they’ll dress Lemon in next.

There’s even a kooky couple that eventually get married and the groomsmen all dress up as Jedis and the bridemaids are elves.  It’s in its third season.  Past seasons are on Netflix; the current one is on CWTV.com or Hulu.com.

Ugh, even the title card for this show is terrible.  How brave is your love?  I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Ugh, even the title card for this show is terrible. How brave is your love? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Beauty and the Beast comes on after HofD, but it’s horrible and soon to be canceled according to TV by the Numbers’ Cancellation Bear, and the Bear is rarely wrong.  I’m shocked that it made it out of its first season, frankly.

Tuesdays:  The Originals & Supernatural

If you thought Emily was dangerous with a red Sharpie, you'll love watching Klaus's reign of terror.

If you thought Emily was dangerous with a red Sharpie, you’ll love watching Klaus’s reign of terror.

I do a little TV dance on Tuesday nights these two shows make me so happy.  If you liked that first twisty delicious season of Revenge, with the dark plotting and shifting alliances, then you’d like The Originals.  Okay, if you absolutely cannot watch another show about vampires, werewolves, and witches, then I suppose you might not like The Originals, but even then I feel like you should give it a shot.


The show follows three siblings:  Elijah (the noble one), Rebekah (the passionate one), and their half brother Klaus (the wounded one that has a tendency to be more villain than hero).  They are half of a group of siblings (the others are unimportant) that were the original vampires.  Klaus also has the benefit of being a hybrid (he had a werewolf dad).

Besides the original vampires, the show has warring clans of witches, werewolves, and regular vamps.

Besides the Originals, the show has warring clans of witches, werewolves, and regular vamps.

The series takes place in New Orleans with numerous other supernatural creatures engaged in power struggles.   All of that is fun window dressing, but the show is about these three and whether or not they are going to trust each other and come together as a family, or try to kill each other.  The actors that play the three are just fantastic and mesmerizing.

For more delightful Originals mayhem, go back and watch them on The Vampire Diaries.

For more delightful Originals mayhem, go back and watch them on The Vampire Diaries.

The siblings all began as villains on The Vampire Diaries, so if you want to see more of them (you will), you can watch back seasons of that show on Netflix.  Otherwise, the current season of this new show is available on CWTV.com and Hulu.


I explained the premise of Supernatural last week when discussing shows for guys, so I won’t repeat it.  If you like Sleepy Hollow, or if you ever caught Syfy’s Warehouse 13 (another blatant rip-off of the show), then you should like the original.  Otherwise, I don’t know what to compare it to, because before I saw its imitators, I’d never really seen a show like it.

Fan favorites Crowley and Castiel.  Both great with one-liners, not so much with wardrobe changes.

Fan favorites Crowley and Castiel–both great with one-liners, but not so much with wardrobe changes.

The only two constant characters from all nine seasons are brothers Sam and Dean, but the angel Castiel has been with the show since season four, and the demon Crowley I believe has been around just as long.  I realize going back and watching eight back seasons (Netflix again) is a pretty large commitment, so if you want to just jump in, I honestly think you’ll be fine.

If you get bored in season one, you can laugh at Sam's bad hair.

If you get bored in season one, you can laugh at Sam’s bad hair.

It’s worth going back, though.  I think I joined in somewhere around season six, so I had to do some decent catch up myself.  A warning: it took a little while for it to find its footing, so season one can be a bit slow.  I can’t stress enough, though, how funny this show is.  I usually watch it after my husband has gone to bed, and multiple times I’ve woken him up laughing so loudly.

Coming up on Wednesday:  I’ll take you through the Wednesday-Friday shows.  I know, you can hardly wait.  The surest way to get me to shut up is to give one of these shows a shot 🙂

What Can Make Even a Loyal Reader Ditch Your Book

I am loyal to the point of folly. People, I watched season seven of Supernatural. Every. Single. Episode. The Geneva Convention is holding talks about whether Netflix should be required to pull those 22 hours of slow torture. It was horrible, but, by golly, I had logged a lot of miles with Sam and Dean in that Impala, and I was not giving up. I’m glad I didn’t since season eight was greatly improved, and I’m downright giddy about season nine.

I am just as teeth-clenched determined when it comes to reading.  Robin McKinley wrote two of my favorite young adult books, The Blue Sword and The Hero and The Crown. Her adult fiction can be sort of hit or miss for me, but I will read every page. I had to check out Sunshine on three different occasions over two years to get through it. It ended up being excellent, but the beginning was painfully slow. If Robin McKinley’s name hadn’t been on the book cover, I would have chucked the thing out the window the first time. But I am LOYAL.

Pushing through a boring book.

I have a professor friend who because of time constraints and because she reads slower than I do, has to be aggressively picky about what she reads. She has a formula for how many pages she will read of a book before she decides whether she’ll continue. It is as follows:

100 – (your current age) = the pages you allow the author to woo you

She’s 35, so she gives a book until page 65. I’m generous. I’ll give you 200 because I’m really hoping you’ll have a miraculous turn around half way through.

Even so, I’ve had a rough time lately with books. I returned more unfinished books in the last six months than I ever have before. Others I finished out of sheer tenacity, but I never grew to like them.

All of the books were critically acclaimed and from a literary perspective were well written. Some were the author’s first book, others were not. Two were science fiction, two were fantasy, two were mainstream fiction. What united them was their universal problem:

I did not care what happened to the characters. Not at all. Not a one. Zilch, zip, nada. Blow them all up, heroes and villains alike, and I would have slept like a baby.

Readers should care more about the book than their beverage.

The authors were very good at other aspects of the writing. The fantasy writer was a masterful world builder. He created one of the most interesting systems of magic I’ve ever seen, and then he plopped down a set of characters into it with all the relatablity of dry toast. Both of the science fiction writers wrote wonderful scenes of tension and suspense that I made notes on. One of the mainstream writers had lovely description of the world of her two protagonists. Sadly, her setting had more depth than her characters.

At the same time I read these books, I was alternating reading a series of paranormal romances. You know the type. They have the kind of covers that encourage you to buy an e-reader. The writing is atrocious. Every single time I read one I wonder how this author ever got a publishing contract. The dialogue is cringe worthy, and she is constantly telling instead of showing. BUT—this is huge—I am currently reading the ninth book in this series. These horribly crafted things are New York Times bestsellers. I continue to plod through the inferior writing because the author made me care about her characters.

If you make me fall in love with the people in your story, I will put up with a lot. I watched plots revolving around Pepperjack Turducken Slammers(! ) because I had already loved Sam and Dean Winchester for years.   If I don’t care a lick about your characters, I don’t care how pretty your prose is, I’m chucking your book.

Dean eats a Turducken Sandwich.

In the words of the great Sol Stein, “The fiction writer’s primary job is creating an emotional experience for the reader.”

So, please, make me feel something.

Questions for comments:

  1. Think about your favorite book. Why did you like it? Was it the writing style or the characters?
  2. What makes a good character?
  3. What makes a reader apathetic about a character?
  4. Why do you most often abandon a book?