TV I Am Reading: Episode One

(by Grace Gordon)

If you've listened to a couple episodes of our podcast, or you've met me in real life, you probably know how much I love television. From  Gilmore Girls to True Detective, I love watching TV shows. There is something special about devoting yourself to a full season (or more than one) of character development, extended plot lines, mysteries, and drama. My attachment to movie characters can rarely rival my attachment to TV characters......

....Similar to how I feel about book characters.. So, thanks to Sarah's recommendation, I am here to tell you about the books that started some of my favorite TV shows.

1. Daredevil (Netflix Original Series)

Stream instantly on Netflix!

Order your copy of Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller.

I started this show months after it was released, and I was so enthralled I kept posting online about it. "Talk to me about Daredevil!" "Why hadn't I watched this til now?" "Where can I learn to box?" Most of my friends agreed that I was a little late to the party. To be fair, all of us are late to this Daredevil party, because this comic has been out forever. I went to Atomic City Comics and had a lovely staff member show me where to start in the comics. See above for a link to Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller.

2. The 100 (The CW)

Stream Season 1 on Netflix!

Order your copy of The 100 by Kass Morgan.

I think The 100 was one of those random TV shows I started on Netflix, uninspired with my options one late night. That was one of the best accidents of my TV watching career. This show starts off lukewarm: 100 teen criminals are sent down from the last remaining space station to see if post-apocalyptic radioactive earth is inhabitable, because the space station is running out of oxygen, and these teens have broken Space Laws and are therefore "expendable".  (Why teens? Why not adult criminals? Well, because if you commit a Space Crime and you're over 18, you are immediately executed.)

There is need for suspension of disbelief here. But after a few episodes of world building, and characters getting more multidimensional, and was that a f**king two-headed deer that just walked by, the viewer is hooked. This show is special. The actors on the show get progressively more fantastic, and invested. The story becomes so complex and emotional that you forget why you ever doubted it. The thing is, the story isn't about science fiction special effects, or teen romance, it is about survival. It is about sacrifice, leadership, and the reprehensible decisions the characters have to make to protect their people.  Oh, and the lead characters are hugely compromised of women: a woman doctor, women battle commanders, a girl who lived UNDER THE FLOOR til age 16 because of the 1 Child Per Family Space Law, and Clarke, our leading lady, who was the good girl thrown into jail for trying to release Space Government secrets that would have lead to the death of the rest of the human race.

So why read the books? The 100 trilogy by Kass Morgan (The 100, Day 21, and Homecoming) is completely worth the read if you are addicted to the first two seasons of the show like I am. They are worth the read because they are completely different. Kass Morgan's book was optioned for a TV series before is was published. Which means that, although many characters and the basic plot premise is the same....the story itself is surprisingly different than the show's. 

3. The Leftovers (HBO)

Available on HBO Go or HBO now.

Order your copy of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. 

Full disclosure: I have not finished this book yet. I'm about halfway through. The first season of HBO's series took the TV community by storm. Season 2 released in October! 

If you don't know what the story is about, it starts three years after one day, suddenly, ~3% of the world's population disappears. Not "goes missing". They just vanish. Was it the rapture? Why were those people chosen to disappear? The story follows Kevin Garvey, (Police Chief of Mapleton, NY in the show, and mayor in the book) as he picks up the pieces of a broken town, a broken family, and a broken world with no answers. This show also features some creepy cults, Christopher Eccleston (the 9th Doctor) as a slightly insane, depressed church pastor with the best intentions, and some really great scenes with weird/uncomfortable sexual content.

Up Next in TV I Am Reading:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. (TV miniseries by BBC Two)