Musings in the Dark: Back to Basics: Real TV


Back to Basics: Real TV

I don’t care much for television.  It’s a glut of “reality” shows ranging from cops to brides gone crazy to “real housewives” who aren’t really married to repo men to pawn shop and tow-truck owners.  A lot of the programming is lily-white, and I don’t mean just in characterization.  I tried to get into television; my last real effort was The Closer.  It’s a show I like, and was a loyal fan of.  But with the last two seasons, I haven’t been tuning in as regularly as I used to.  I still have this season’s episodes on DVR that I haven’t watched yet.  The only thing I watch with any regularity is ESPN because I love sports.

But there is a glimmer on the horizon.  Two shows have captured my interest: AMC’s The Walking Dead & F/X’s American Horror Story.  I’m a hard-core, diehard, true to the bone horror fan, and when I got word of these shows from a trusted friend, I had to tune in, and I’m glad I did.

AMC’s The Walking Dead debuted last year.  It takes place in Atlanta, and it’s about an apocalypse and 99.9% of the population has turned into zombies for reasons that have yet to be revealed.  Helmed by Frank Darabont, the ONLY director to come close to transferring Stephen King books to the movie screen, TWD is a treat.  It's based off a popular comic book of the same name.  The makeup and effects are graphic and well-done, and the show has a mature rating due to the violence.  Zombies are all over and show up at random, and of course, must be dispatched quick, fast and in a hurry.  The story is about a ragtag band of survivors led by Rick Grimes, a sheriff trying his best to keep it together.  But in such tense and terrifying surroundings, Darwinism surges to the forefront regardless of the tenuous connections to faith that some characters exhibit.  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, and for a person like me who can't help but try and figure out the puzzle (and I usually do; TV shows are so formulaic), it is refreshing to be kept on my toes. 

Creepy as hell
F/X’s American Horror Story debuted this year and it is a show that greatly appeals to my dark side.  It’s about a family that bought a house with a colorful dark murderous history.  It’s not enough to say that the house is haunted; such a banal, prosaic description does not nearly do it justice.  There are weird neighbors and others who are drawn to the house and the Harmons, trying to recover from past hurts, are not able to deal with the various goings-on.  AHS is a show that airs after 10:00 p.m. and proudly sports a mature warning due to the language, sex and violence that takes place.  Talk about right up my alley?  AHS is all that and a bag of Lay’s.  It’s graphic, intense, dissonant and dreamy.  The things that happen are bizarre and off-kilter; it’s like the producers (who also produced Glee, of all shows) are screwing with the viewer’s perception and you’re never quite sure what is going on. Again my mind wants to fill in the blanks and it can’t.  There’s this whole fabulous wonky thing going on with a creepazoid in a latex suit, and part of the history includes a collection of dead babies.  The music is excellent, and you can follow each episode’s soundtrack at Tunefind.  The theme is fabulous, dark and haunting and I’m stone in love with it.

If you are a fan of horror, I strongly advise you to check out these shows.  The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on AMC, and American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on F/X.  I’m recording both shows’ complete seasons and look forward to having a happy double marathon.
One can only hope that other basic cable TV channels will take a page from AMC & F/X and step their game up.  Lord knows TV could use a shot of adrenalin.


  1. It’s a glut of “reality” shows ranging from cops to brides gone crazy to “real housewives” who aren’t really married to repo men to pawn shop and tow-truck owners. A lot of the programming is lily-white, and I don’t mean just in characterization.


  2. I'm crazee late on this post, but I just want to ad...that I STILL need to watch Walking Dead. As for American Horror Story---total AWESOMNESS. Can't wait for the new season and the next new family ready to be terrorized! Is the opening to that TV show creepy or what??

  3. Jamie, don't feel bad. I had to update the post because the link to the AHS theme song was broken and I had to find another version. I am totally in love with that song. Trent Reznor rocks.

    I can't wait to see Season 2 of AHS; they set the bar high w/Season 1.

  4. Trent Reznor did that song??? He does everything!!! I totally was crushing on him in that "Closer" video...

  5. Trent Reznor is freakin awesome. Love his stuff.


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