Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Kingdom for a TV Tie-In Novel...

For as much as I love television, I love books even more. With books, I can control more of the story. The words are all laid out in front of me, with clear voices for the characters (when the stories are written well, anyway), and a beginning, middle, and end for this portion of their journey on which I am joining them. But I can control how I picture them, for the most part, and their environments, as well. I can also choose when to slow down, savoring certain moments, or speeding up through what I'm just not all that interested in. Television and other visual mediums make these decisions for me, but with a strong imagination, you can become as much a part of the creative process with a book as the author his or herself. 

That being said, there are some instances when I want the best of both worlds. When television show characters, for example, write books, I find myself desperate to read them-- not only to continue that narrative but to have another piece of tangible media in which to make these people feel alive. That kind of crossover lends itself extremely well to the three-dimensional nature needed to feel like fictional characters can be as real or important as well, real ones. Castle does that extremely well by releasing the "Nikki Heat" books, and recently ABC Family's Switched at Birth got in that game, as well, by releasing Kathryn Kennish's "memoir." But there are a few other shows from which that I'd like to see a similar tie-in...

Gossip Girl - Dan Humphrey wrote a novel based on the wealthy, entitled, elite that he went to prep school with. The book received so much chatter within the show's penultimate season storyline, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about! I still do, even though the show has ended. Knowing he was supposed to be the titular blogger all along, his fictionalization of such tales has much more intrigue around it.

30 Rock - Liz Lemon wrote a dating guide of sorts, in which she pretty much just listed things Tracy and her own exes did wrong and told women to get rid of those kinds of guys in their lives. Her limited worldview and very specific interests surely made for a hilarious attempt at telling people what a "good" relationship is. Sex very fast and only on the weekend? Might work as self-help for Liz Lemon, but for everyone else, this would be found in the comedy section.

The Following - Both the show's protagonist, Ryan Hardy, and antagonist, Joe Carroll, wrote books prior to where the series starts. Hardy's was a first-person account of capturing Carroll, the serial killer almost a decade earlier. Carroll's, on the other hand, was a terribly-received (per the show) novel that was romanticized by a very select group of fans. I want to know so much more about both of them. I would happy devour both of them. And not just to get show spoilers but to dive inside the minds of these two fascinating and not-all-that-differently-damaged men.

In some cases there just may be no time for the writers of these shows to come up with the books. In others, it might come down to a cost/profit thing where the marketing and merchandising teams don't see it as a worthwhile venture. Gossip Girl and 30 Rock are over, and the writers are going their separate ways. The Following has just begun, and the mythology that would have to be in Hardy's book would probably be preferred to be doled out in episodes of the series, a little at a time. But there's no rush. I'd argue that there will be an audience for these things when the shows end. Fans don't disappear because the show has faded into the back of pop culture; if anything, something like this, even more than a special series DVD boxset could help keep the show on the forefront of pop culture.   

Community created an 8-bit videogame in a key third season episode that the studio and the network never intended to do anything with, but some very dedicated, passionate, and crazy talented fans took it upon themselves to actually build the game and It. Is. Glorious. While it's a fun piece of special memorabilia for the show, it also works to make the viewing experience more well-rounded and inclusive. So consider this my official "tossing my hat in the ring" to take a stab at ghostwriting any of these books, should the actual show writers have no time or interest.

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