Thursday Thirteen - 286 - 13 Things About My Summertime TV Obsessions

by Julia Phillips Smith

Summertime for me has always been about disappearing into a fictional world, riding a new obsession with the breathless joy of head-over-heels infatuation.

Knowing me, it probably started well before Star Wars, but that was my first official, long term fictional obsession. I was thirteen, between seventh and eighth grade, and it marked the important change in me between simply wanting to stay in the fictional world, to wanting to create a fictional world of my own that would transport other people, the way Star Wars transported me.

Here are a few of the more recent summertime TV obsessions that have swept me away. 

1 - Carnivale

Because of my heavy day job work schedule / evenings-and-weekends writing schedule, my TV obsessions are always connected to summer and having a week off to relax, finally indulging in watching something I've been dying to see but have held at bay until I've had time for it.

Carnivale was one of those series.

2 - "During the Great Depression, an Oklahoma farm boy and a charismatic minister learn that they are key players in a proxy war being fought between Heaven and Hell." -- IMDB

3 - My husband and I watched an episode of this every night a few years back, while my mom was on vacation to Newfoundland and I was the primary caregiver for my gram. I took the week off of my day job, so I was sort of on vacation as well, although really I was looking after Gram. Just elder care sort of stuff.

My husband worked at Blockbuster at the time, and he brought this box DVD set home. What a great series.

4 - My only warning is that it was originally intended to run for longer than two seasons, but HBO did not renew it. The ending of the series is not quite wrapped up.

However, what you do get in those two seasons is fantastic.

5 - Supernatural

I'd been bumping into bloggers gushing over Dean and Sam for awhile before I had a chance to watch the series myself.

I just knew I'd love it. I also knew at the time -- and knowing my obsessive self -- I needed to wait until I could indulge in this series properly.

It may seem odd to share a clip from the last few minutes of the season ending of the most recent season. Yet, this scene embodies everything I love best about this show. 

6 - Supernatural -- "Two brothers follow their father's footsteps as 'hunters' fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth." -- IMDB

7 - Once again, on another vacation week, I asked my husband to finally bring home season one of Supernatural. It was already into its fifth season by then, I believe.

Again, we watched one episode every night, plowing our way through four seasons, and watching ahead on the current season airing on network TV. It took longer than one summer to get through four seasons. Yet my obsession began as it almost always does, in the summer, so that's the association I have with Supernatural

8 - Dean Winchester has become one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. In fact, when I'm writing my own books, I often ask myself 'what would Dean do?' when my hero gets too caught up in thinking about things.

9 - Bednaya Nastya (Poor Anastasia)

This is a Russian telenovela that originally aired in 2003-2004. Like a Masterpiece-style historical drama, telenovelas are limited-run series that wrap up at the end.

The clip below features one of the couples featured in the show, Tsarevitch Alexander and his Polish lover, Olga. 

10 - Bednaya Nastya -- "It is 1839 - a time when royalty and serfdom are commonplace in Imperial Russia. This drama tells the story of both aristocrats and serfs, the main plot revolving around a young and beautiful girl, Anna Platonovna, lovingly raised by her patron, Baron Korf, as his own daughter, much to the displeasure of his son Vladimir. The Baron dreams of seeing Anna on the stage of the Imperial Theater. The High Society of St. Petersburg also sees undeniable talent in the young actress, and Prince Michael Repnin cannot help but fall in love at first sight with Anna. But few know Anna is actually - a serf. And even Anna herself doesn't suspect the ordeals her life will go through. Love, hatred, betrayal, murder - it all has something to do with the mysterious Nastya…." --

11 - I first discovered this series in the sidebar of my You Tube page. You know -- if you watched this, you may like this.

LOL! That's putting it mildly.

12 - The main male character Vladimir Korf (not shown in the clip above) is at first the villain, but slowly becomes more and more gray until he's the hero of the series. Gray characters are my absolute favorite.

His character arc is akin to Tony Stark's in Iron Man.   

13 - My husband and I once again watched one episode a night until we'd finished all 126 episodes. Talk about being swept away! My Russian comprehension really improved over the course of watching this series (I'm a longtime Russophile, and I'm slowly teaching myself to speak Russian.)


What TV series or movies have swept you away?

Photo by Helen Tansey

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  1. A decade or so ago I was hooked on shows like Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Beastmaster, and a few others. I love the fantasy genre. Now I'm watching Game of Thrones when it is on. For realism I am enjoying The Newsroom, but as an old journalist I would, I suppose.

    I haven't heard of Supernatural, that looks like one I would like.

  2. I can do this kind of heavy focus in the winter. Summertime- no. Don't even want the TV on, unless there's rain pouring down.
    And then, sorry Julia, I want it funny. I remember one Boxing Day Big Bang Theory marathon at my daughter's house, my first look at the series, four of us non-stop all day and all evening with only short breaks for meals and baby-care.


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