So, if I haven't made it clear, I've got a kid. And along with kids come kid television. Its unavoidable, and for those of you who have avoided it, awesome.
Me, I love TV. BB (Before the Bean), I probably watched fifteen hours of scripted TV a week. I had my entire life based around what was on TV and what I could record and watch later. Supernatural, Lucifer, Sleepy Hollow, Criminal Minds, Big Bang Theory, Eureka, Defiance, Castle, Walking Dead.
Now AB (After the Bean), I only watch Supernatural. So you can bet how excited I was to find out there was going to be a 12th season. I have one constant in my life. and one hour a week that I get to hide in a corner and watch TV.
Now that doesn't mean that I'm not watching TV. It is still on in my house, but the programming is drastically different. The Bean likes Disney over NICK and we can agree that Caillou isn't terrible, but that Sesame Street just isn't what it used to be and I didn't remember Power Puff Girls being so violent.
As a writer with a sense of story, I am constantly watching these things for the lesson. What are these things teaching my child. What is there survival lesson. Some are pretty transparent. Some are more subtle. Some I have no idea what is going on.
There are two shows that I want to Thumbs-up this month for not being boring or overly brow-beating.
Miraculous : This was a show that NICKELODEON bought from France (a new source of kids programming). It is translated into a million languages. We started watching it in Spanish, but found the English translations.
Its about Marinette who has a miraculous (spirit alien) that changes her into Ladybug, a superhero with Spiderman-like agility and a yo-yo that is pretty amazing. Yes, a yo-yo. Each episode she takes on a normal person who has been 'evil-ized' into a villain because of a negative feeling or attitude. She has to figure out what happened and 'de-evil-ize' them. Its parts Sailor Moon and Saved by the Bell and there is an appropriate amount of teenage romance (Chat Noir).
As a writer, I find these 20 minute shows really satisfying. They are funny and really deal with issues that kids deal with (bullies, crushes, mistakes, parental pressures). And its wrapped up nicely with a turning point and resolution. I keep watching them and I'm really getting a sense of what you need to tell, and what you don't need to to get a good structure for a short story.
And its in Paris- accurately depicted Paris. With Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower and the river. Its awesome.
Miraculous can be purchased on Amazon.
Beat Bugs: This is a Netflix original show based on one man's love of The Beatles. It is a show about a group of bug who live in a little girls back year in their little big town and when they are having a bad day, or need some words of encouragement, they break out into Beatles's songs, minus the drug references.
Their adventures somehow mimic the song lyrics (Lucy in the Sky is awesome) and they have a small cast of characters and the stories roll into each other.
As a writer, I find this interesting because of the limitations that the lyrics put on what stories they can tell and emotions they can deal with. That limitation has really blossomed into a really cute show with some really creative solutions to the limitations. It is a really fun way to see what creative limitation does to a project in 15-minute segments.
So this month's Thumbs Up goes to children's programming that tells good stories in innovative ways that don't baby me or my kid.