The Adaptation staff have some recommendations for you from their November exploits!
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Concluded after 1 Season
I’ve been watching through Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, starring Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, and many more. It’s a show about a sketch comedy show (think Saturday Night Live) that is in a bit of trouble in its prime-time slot. The executive producer had a bit of a meltdown on air, and the network is trying to recover from its downfall by bringing in the wonder team: new producer Danny and writer Matt, not to mention an ambitious and liberal new network president, Jordan. They’ve got their work cut out for them though, with a eclectic and opinionated cast and the media set against them! It’s a really clever and entertaining show. Set primarily as a drama, but with plenty of comedy thrown in, the characters are endearing and three-dimensional. I still can’t believe it was cancelled after only one season! It’s like Firefly all over again!
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
For NaNOWriMo, I’m writing a fantasy story that is an adaptation and combination of two lesser-known fairy tales (as you can tell, I’m a sucker for this genre) and since I haven’t been able to read much this month, I figured I would recommend something I’ve read before that is similar to what I’ve been writing. One of my favorite adaptations that also combines multiple fairy tales into one story is Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier. This book takes and expands on the tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, told from the point of view of Jena, the second eldest of five princesses. Wildwood Dancing also successfully weaves in certain elements from The Frog Prince as well, in the guise of Jena’s constant amphibious companion, Gogu. For years on the full moon, Jena and her sisters–and Gogu–have been able to travel to the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom through a secret portal in their castle–a portal that only they know about. But their idyllic existence is threatened after their father falls ill and their controlling cousin, Cezar, is put in charge of their care. It’s a story of magic and love and trust and–you guessed it–‘once upon a times’ and ‘happily ever afters’. I guarantee that you will be hooked by this story within the first couple of pages. And if you don’t want your own Gogu by the end of it…well, then we’re clearly not reading the same book.
Constantine, Thursdays on NBC
I wasn’t sure about Constantine at first because I loved the film version with Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz and in the TV version Weisz’s character left after the first episode. Maybe we will see her again, but I don’t know. However, after allowing the show to progress with a new girl companion, who is clairvoyant and not as easily scared away, I have realized that it is an amazing show. Instead of Keanu’s own brand of snark, we get Matt Ryan, a Welsh actor, who gives us an even snarkier, “I work alone” type, smoking, drinking, guilt-ridden Liverpudlian (i.e. from Liverpool, England) and Master of- or as he likes to say “dabbler” in- the Dark Arts. He’s a bit of a sorry excuse for a man, but that’s why the character is so great! It has really great writing and lines that make you giggle in the middle of it all, much like Supernatural, and honestly, if you liked the film version with Keanu Reeves, you will LOVE this! And if you didn’t like the film, you will STILL LOVE this.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tuesdays on ABC
So far this fall television season, the standout favorite for me has been Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is a bit of a surprise since last season I would only begrudgingly watch if I was caught up on all my other shows. But the show has really hit it’s stride now and I’m always eager to watch the new episode. Agents follows a team put together by Phil Coulson, of Marvel Cinematic Universe fame, as they track down advanced, often alien technology (and sometimes humans infused with the tech) to keep it out of the hands of those who are up to no good and protect humanity. The end of season 1 coincided with the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which (without spoiling) gave the team a whole new dynamic that has really worked in season 2. Coulson is simultaneously always good for a one-liner and to make you feel all the feelings, May is possibly the best kick-ass female character I’ve ever seen, and scientists Fitz and Simmons are awkward, fast-talking and brilliantly lovable. If you’re into Marvel, or just the MCU, I don’t know why you haven’t already been watching, but trust me, the world-building of having a show coincide with the films will make you giddy. And if you’re not into Marvel, this show will still appeal to you if you’re into action, weird alien tech and great characters.
That’s it for us this month, but be sure to leave your own recommendations in the comments!