Confessions of a TV Addict

By Camille Minichino

I know—so many books, yada yada, and I have five or six books going at any given time: one each of crime-related, science, general nonfiction, general fiction, and theology or spirituality.

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But, while I’m waiting for the next Mo Hayder, Richard Russo, or Joseph Kanon; the newest on quantum entanglement; and more from authors like Eric Larson or Elaine Pagels, I watch TV. A lot of TV.

Here’s an embarrassing moment.

My husband and I are watching Blue Bloods on TV (embarrassing already, right?) and an actor appears in the ADA’s office.

“That guy looks familiar,” my husband says.

“It’s Dan Hedaya,” I tell him. He was the crazy guy on NYPD Blue who thought he was a werewolf, and he was one of Carla’s ex-husbands on Cheers, and he’s been in movies, like Blood Simple, The Usual Suspects—”

“I got it,” my husband says.

I’m disappointed, because I’m just getting started on Dan Hedaya.

But I’ll have another chance, because soon we’re watching another show, a new one called The Inspectors, about a group from the USPS Inspectors Office. (BSP: This one is research, to go along with my new series that debuted November 3, The Postmistress Mysteries) A main character on this show had died in a car crash, but he makes brief ghostly appearances, dispensing sage advice to his family.

“That guy looks familiar,” my husband says.

“It’s Carlos Bernard,” I tell him. He was Kiefer Sutherland’s main guy on 24, and he’s been on Castle and Madame Secretary, and—”

“I got it,” my husband says.

And so on.

I can’t help it—stories that come to life on the television screen can grab me like no other, and I feel like I know the characters better than some of my friends, better than some of my own characters. I’m depressed when bad things happen to the good guys (Did Will really have to die? Let me know if you know who I mean.) And I’m thrilled when a bully gets it (a whole season of Revenge).

A TV addict should never marry a television engineer. It’s like a giving an alcoholic a job as a bartender. OK, it worked for Sam Malone on Cheers, but that was fiction. My husband’s latest achievement is providing the means (schematic on request) to record 16 different shows simultaneously. And, of course, we have the brand new gadget that lets him skip commercial blocks at the touch of the green button. It’s a wonder we have room in the house for books.

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Here are my current shows—never mind that I pretend it’s research that every crime fiction writer needs to do.

The Can’t Miss Shows, roughly in order:

  1. Homeland, it’s like having 24 back, with slightly less torture.
  2. Ray Donovan, because who doesn’t love a Fixer with a Boston accent?
  3. Hawaii 5-0, to pretend James Caan is back, and therefore, so is The Godfather.
  4. The Americans, because the Cold War never ceases fascinate me.
  5. Criminal Minds, for the philosophical wisdom as they fly to the scene.
  6. Law & Order, SVU, because it’s the only L&O left.
  7. The Good Wife, because I need a courtroom between John Grisham books.
  8. Blacklist, for James Spader, and more torture than Homeland.
  9. Blue Bloods, in spite of Tom Selleck, who still SIGHs as if he’s Jesse Stone. Frank Regan wouldn’t last a minute in NYC, uniform or no uniform.

I’m lucky I don’t like comedies, and I won’t watch talk shows, vampires, scifi or fantasies, reality shows, or any dancing or singing amateur talent. I got that last category out of my system with Ted Mack in the fifties.

If only David Baldacci, Brian Green, and the like would write faster, I’d be able to pull myself away from the 58–inch screen.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Everyone, I can’t let Janet take the blame as a TV addict. This is my post — sent to Janet instead of posting myself! I’m the recliner potato who watches too much TV!

  2. Camille, thanks. I was puzzled because the post just didn’t sound like the Janet I’ve known for so many years. I, too, am married to a television engineer, a retired one. Other than college football, he has very little interest in watching TV, though he’ll occupy his end of the couch with a book while I watch old movies, looking up from time to time to comment on some technical point of filmmaking.

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