serial distractions

The Internet (broadly conceived) doesn’t distract me anymore like it used to. Sure, I still sometimes kill time by surfing from site to site and checking my email constantly and fiddling around on Facebook. But not like I used to. No, I have a new addiction: the series. It’s really a return to the old type of addictions I had when I was a kid and teenager, when I religiously watched television and was addicted to series of genre fantasy like Terry Brooks. (I largely didn’t follow series after I stopped watching television around 2001 until a friend got me hooked on House a few years ago.)

Much of May and half of June was devoted to watching the first five seasons of Lost, a show I had never seen but wanted to get into because I had heard so many good things and because a few of the seasons were co-written by Brian Vaughan, the writer of Y: The Last Man, which I fell in love with during spring term (and am working on a conference paper on). I thought I’d spend the next few weeks re-watching The X-files, which I adored as a teenager but didn’t get to see much of because my dad hated science fiction (I had a similar problem with Star Trek: TNG). However, a different series has distracted me: Ouran High School Host Club, an anime show about a host club at a privileged high school. A group of boys have a club where they host girls at their school, but things get interesting when a girl, who is mistaken for a boy, joins the club. So much gender anxiety in anime! My friend Keith suggested it, and I’m addicted. Today I went and bought the first volume of the comic it’s based off of.

And I’ve been buying comic books a bit too much recently: Ex Machina (also by Vaughan), Planetary (haven’t read this one yet), The Walking Dead, The Wasteland (note the trend in the posthuman and apocalyptic themes of some of these, if you’re familiar with them). But I’ve moved further from the surf-surf-surf of the Internet to serial distractions. I guess I’d rather surf along narratives and suspense than loosely associative links right now.

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5 Responses to serial distractions

  1. Andrew says:

    Shawna and I were actually talking about the mania that seems to grip English grad students wrt series like this. She thinks that it’s a byproduct of what we do for a living, that, professionally, we are completists. Even in our leisure activities, we get drawn into research projects.

    That said, Shawna and I have watched in the last six months or so: Twin Peaks, Star Trek, and are now watching Next Generation (which is the second time through for me, since starting PSU).

  2. Michael says:

    I think you’re right about the desire for completeness: I get annoyed by not finishing reading an academic book (even though I have plenty unfinished!). And always want to finish a series, even if I wind up failing.

  3. Kyle Bella says:

    Apart from Twitter, e-mail and Hulu, I rarely use the internet like I used to.

    I too have gotten into series. Most notably for the month of June was three seasons of Bones. (Though I have been rather attached to a variety of medical and crime shows since I was younger [ER, Law and Order: SVU, House, etc.])

    I don’t know what it is about these shows that is so appealing. However, it seems that most adult books (apart from sci-fi/fantasy) are not series based. I read a lot of individual and dense novels, while fascinating, do not have a continuation of plot and character evolution as rich as series seem to have. But I am not entirely sure. Maybe it’s just escapist. And who doesn’t need a good escape every once in a while?

  4. Darius K. says:

    Planetary is excellent.

  5. Michael says:

    I just read the first volume yesterday. I liked it, but thought the first few issues started out slowly. The intrigue was there enough, but it built up around the fourth issue and made me want MORE. šŸ™‚

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