Archive | January 2014

TV Shows I Wish Were Book Series — Ripper Street

Ripper StreetThe BBC’s Ripper Street is much what one would expect: It’s gory, shocking, and not for the faint of heart or the squeamish.  But then, that’s police work in general, even today.  We may not have open sewers running down our streets, but we are plagued with much of the same problems police had to deal with more than a century ago when the most famous of serial killers leapt onto the headlines.

Taking place shortly after Jack the Ripper’s murder spree, Ripper Street is set in WhiteChapel, London, in the late 1800s, and shows a city plagued with disease, violence, and immorality.  Our heroes are smart, worldly characters, who much like officers today, go where the average man would fear to tread.  They are by no means perfect, but admirable in the risks that they take for their fellow citizens.  The detective team is as follows: Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen), Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake (Jerome Flynn), and an American who specializes in autopsies, Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg).

The refreshing part of the show is that it uses actual detection with the detectives using what they know about their surroundings and the time and neighborhood in which they live to solve crimes.  It’s interesting to see how the burgeoning field of forensics plays a role in weeding out suspects, and how the Ripper murders have opened wide the possibilities of human deviancy.

Why Ripper Street would make a good book series:  It rings of authenticity.  Many a time I have tried to read mysteries set in Victorian London only to be disappointed at the lack of detail and attention to the time period.  The detectives in Ripper Street, although obviously modern, do not feel out of place in the story.  Their cynicism is matched by compassion and their practicality comes from experiences with the people and world around them.  They are not modern to express modern views only.  Like Syfy’s Haven, the Whitechapel setting begs to be penned in written description — smells, sights, and sounds more pungent than what we encounter today.  Ripper Street is a show that could only be enhanced by novels digging into the details of both the crimes and the community in which it is set.

TV Shows I Wish Were Book Series — Haven

HavenIf Hollywood movies these days have lost their luster, things are quite the opposite on the small screen.  TV is in somewhat of a golden age of offering engaging, epic stories with smart dialogue, plots and characters that audiences want to watch for years on end.  TV is in it for the long term.  The same can be said for a good book series.  This week I will highlight four shows that I wish were a book series.

#1: Haven.  The Syfy Channel’s Haven is my current favorite show.  Loosely based on a Stephen King novel, The Colorado Kid, Haven is a procedural drama in which the main character, Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) strives to ride a New England town of its supernatural “troubles.”  The plucky FBI agent is aided by local cop Nathan Wuornos (love that name) played by Lucas Bryant and slacker Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour), a smuggler who lives on a boat.

In season one, it wasn’t abundantly clear where Haven was going with all of their “troubled” townspeople.  Now, with season four just wrapped up, the show has become somewhat of an epic mind game, a reminds me the most of LOST with a smaller cast.  Haven has almost nothing to do with its source material, The Colorado Kid, but the premise of that crime story plagues me:  Some mysteries have no answer, only theories that can’t be proven.  I am somewhat apprehensive that the show will ultimately end on such a note, but the interim is exciting to watch nonetheless.  The characters are engaging to watch and for the most part the show sticks to its strength of dealing with a unique “trouble” each episode.  And the troubles are unique, with shades of The X Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other shows involving paranormal problems or monsters.  The townspeople’s otherworldly afflictions are often related to their inner psyche in some way, allowing for the show to delve into weightier subjects even if it’s only for forty minutes or so.  The longterm arc of the show has so far presented many intriguing questions, many that also deal with similar issues of guilt, fate, faith, and how people deal with the fact that they aren’t perfect.

Why would Haven make a great book series?  In addition to the plot, characters, and themes of the show, it’s set in a gorgeous seaside town (filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada) dying for literary description, and showcases fantasy elements that would be even more amazing in a reader’s imagination.  In a book series, the characters’ inner thoughts could also be more specifically dwelled upon, as well as their pasts.  Nathan and Duke, for example, had an interesting childhood growing up together as on and off friends.  It would also be intriguing to visit the other years in which Haven was plagued by “troubles.”

Haven is due back sometime this year for 26 more episodes:


Trolls for Dust, Season One for Kindle

Trolls for Dust, Season One is now available for the Kindle on Amazon.  Happy Reading!  –Pixie