Television, Books and the Power of Story

House Original Cast

photo credit: noir photographer via photopin cc

Do you enjoy television or movies or the theater? What are your favorites? I have some confessions of my own to make, and I think you’ll be surprised.

Before we get chatting, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Mary, usually Mary Hughes to differentiate me from the zillions of other Marys out there, Mary Jean if you’re my cousin Mary Ann :smile:. I’m a new regular to the Magical Musings team and I’m so very thrilled to be here. Huge thanks to Edie Ramer, Michelle Diener and the awesome Magical Musings team and readers for welcoming me!

Books are a passion of mine. But a picture paints a thousand words—you can’t get more concentrated storytelling than a movie, television, or play.

A couple hours can plunge us into deep drama, as with Death of a Salesman or Streetcar Named Desire. An hour brings justice to an NCIS criminal or cures (or kills) a House MD patient. Sitcoms solve world problems in 30 minutes or less. Commercials tell a complete story in mere seconds! (Have you seen the TJ Maxx/Marshalls commercial? Two groups of sassy women march at each other like football teams about to clash. One set carries red Maxx bags, the other blue Marshalls. We think it’s going to be a Jets/Sharks West Side Story moment but they meet and become friends. The message: you can have both! That’s a story in a nutshell.)

But books…ah, nothing will ever replace them. Because, Scrubs internal asides aside, nowhere else can you truly get the thoughts and smells and raw feeling and emotions found in a book.

So here are my confessions. *My husband and I didn’t own a television for the first five years of our marriage. *One of my favorite entertainments? The Geico commercials. “Do Dogs Chase Cats?”—yes, they do, in a Bullitt-style car chase—continues to top my list. *Though I adore sparkling comedies, I never saw Scrubs before this year.

What visual entertainment is your favorite? Do you have a can’t-miss show or a movie that will forever be with you?

BONUS! I also adore quirky comic strips. Here’s XKCD on television before the Internet.

Want to see what I mean about the up-close-and-personal touch, taste, and emotions you can only find in books? Get inside a shy flutist’s head in hot vampire romance Downbeat.

Striking the right note could shatter more than their hearts. Warning: Contains a master of seduction and symphonies, an awkward and innocent flutist, small-town humor, heart-stopping action, and an exodus to Iowa. Oh, and the cheese balls are ba-a-ack—and deadlier than ever.

About Mary Hughes

Who am I? A lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Sherlock, and Agents of SHIELD. Most of all, a believer in grand passion. Mary's online and would love to hear from you! Website Blog Group Blog Group Blog Facebook Twitter Newsletter signup
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26 Responses to Television, Books and the Power of Story

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Mary, welcome to Magical as a regular! We’re so happy to have you here! My favorite show right now is The Voice. All the contestants have a story. Sure, I care about their voices, but their stories make me care more. That was very smart of the creators to do. Another thing they’ve done is show the contestants’ families. Not just the first time they sing but every time they sing. My guess is that the producers pay for their hotel and even transportation. And they do that because it makes a better story. I already have my favorites. And when a favorite has to leave, I hurt for them.

    Thanks for a great post that made me write such a long comment. lol

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Edie, thanks for your warm welcome! I’m super thrilled to be here. Sounds like the Voice is a great show, filled with real people and their stories. That’s what makes me come back to a show time and again, the people and their relationships. Like your stories!

      Hey, I just saw The Fat Cat, Dead People in Love, and Hearts in Motion are free on Amazon. Is that a short-term deal or permanent?

  2. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Mary, and welcome to our tribe!

    I have favorite TV shows (did anyone see NCIS: Los Angeles last night?!!?) but I’m a huge movie fan. Doesn’t matter if it’s romantic comedy, drama, or fantasy, I can lose myself in a movie and walk out refreshed and looking at life in a different way. Books can do the same for me – transport me to another place and time. I believe they’re one of the best stress reducers around. 🙂

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Misty, and thanks so much for your welcome! Ooh, NCIS: Los Angeles. I’m looking forward to the new NCIS tonight 🙂 and your new SVCV Taskforce book Deadly Deception 😀 I really love that cover.

      That’s a great point–stories renew and refresh. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a bad day turned around by reading a great book at lunch or wiped out by a fun show at night.

  3. Welcome, Mary! I watch waaay too much TV, including the NCISes. Some of my favorite shows right now are Arrow, Person of Interest, and The Good Wife.
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …Conference schedule for 2014 …

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your welcome 🙂 My excuse for watching TV–it’s a fast way to pick up new storytelling techniques. You believe me, right? Arrow has some of my favorite actors, Paul Blackthorne and John Barrowman.

      Starting the Mythos Academy series–when I saw snark & magic, I was hooked 😀

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Mary – welcome to Magical Musings! 🙂 I’m delighted you joined our happy family.

    As for TV – yeah, see I never did have one in 14 years of marriage and even now, single with 4 kids I have TV but it’s rarely on. We watch movies when we do watch something.


    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Dale, and thanks for your warm welcome to the family! 😀 I have to say, those years we didn’t have a TV were very productive. We did miss the yearly showing of Wizard of Oz, though. I agree, it’s nice to have the television available for a great movie.

      Say, I noticed Sian’s Solution (Family Blood Ties) is free on Amazon. I like to let readers know about great free books, especially vampire 🙂 . Can you tell me–is it limited time or permafree?

  5. Hi Mary! Congrats on the new release and new blog. I’m a fan of Gibbs & Co. on original NCIS (I miss Ziva!) and Elementary, Almost Human, Psych and About a Boy this year, but a long-time guilty pleasure was Remington Steele (young Pierce Brosnan). Anything that combines romance, action, comedy, and great characters is usually a hit with me.
    Helen Johannes`s last blog was …Gemstones and Story Icons

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Helen! Thanks for your kind words. 😀 I’m so happy to be here.

      That could be my list! We have all five seasons of Remington Steele on DVD. Oh, to be as svelte as Stephanie Zimbalist 🙂 I would add the BBC Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, especially now that Mary Watson has hit the scene.

      I’m loving Bloodstone, by the way.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Helen, my husband and I were both big fans of NCIS – but we stopped watching a few weeks ago. Ziva’s replacement is too unbelievable, and it’s too painful to watch. I won’t blame the actress; in another role she might be wonderful I don’t know what the writers and the show creator are thinking. I even wonder if the previous writers quit for this to go so bad.

  6. Amy R says:

    Hi Mary! Nice to meet you! I am usually found reading over watching TV and Movies, but when I do get the TV away from my family I can be found watching a lot of USA Network shows like White Collar and Graceland and lately I have started watching Suits. As for movies? I enjoy anything with romance. Romantic Comedy. Romantic Drama. If there is love in it, I can watch it. 🙂
    Amy R`s last blog was …Spotlight & Giveaway: PRETTY RECKLESS by Jodi Linton

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Amy! *waves* Nice to meet you too 🙂

      We just found White Collar last year. I love the interplay with art thief Neil and FBI agent Peter, and how, though they don’t agree about the rules, underneath they trust each other to do what’s right.

      Oh, Romantic Comedy movies, yes. I especially like the older ones, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Murphy’s Romance.

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Mary. A big welcome to MM. You’re gonna enjoy this group.

    Don’t watch much television … although I’m really likin’ the Castle series and the Blacklist. Generally I try to avoid series since I know that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the story line. I guess reading is my first love and I do enjoy going to the movies. There are just some movies that need to be seen on the big screen.

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Liz! Thank you for your warm welcome. We did get more done in the days before TV 🙂 So true about movies–Lord of the Rings really needed the broad vista of a big theater. I adore Castle! My favorite blend of sparkling dialog, mystery and romance.

  8. Hi Mary! Welcome to MM! I love to watch TV. Some of my favorite shows are Castle, Elementary, Reign, and Hart of Dixie. My family loves the shows on the USA Network, too – especially White Collar. 🙂
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …Match Game Secret Wishes Style + a Giveaway!

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Robin, and thanks for your welcome! We love Castle and Elementary (mysteries are cool) and just found White Collar last year. Oh and Bones 🙂 Television really works for us for transitioning between a busy day and settling in for the night.

  9. marilynbrant says:

    I wasn’t home yesterday, so I’m just seeing your post this morning… First and foremost, welcome to Magical Musings!!!! It’s wonderful to have you here 🙂 .
    I’m a big TV fan as well… I love NCIS/NCIS: Los Angeles, Elementary, Intelligence (oooh, Josh Holloway!), and have become a fan of The Voice this year. I also really love live musicals, which is about a visually stimulating as it can get for me! And movies… Anything Jane Austen or romantic comedies 😀 .
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …Prepping for St. Patrick’s Day

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Thank you for your wonderful welcome, Marilyn! I’m so thrilled to be here.

      I love musicals too! The color and variety of song, dance and story is awesome. Half the fun of playing in a pit orchestra is seeing the show 🙂

      Jane Austen, yes. I was so happy when I found so many of her books free for my ereader.

  10. leigh morgan says:

    Hi, Mary! Congratulations on becoming part of Magical Musings! 🙂

    There are visual stories I love. Movies are great for this, my favorite being: How to Train Your Dragon. However, I think T.V. has gotten better at it over the past few years, and in many cases has surpassed movies for great story-telling. I love Sherlock on the BBC, Blacklist, and Vikings;the writing on each show is darkly funny, witty and engaging. Great actors and tight, detailed plotting seals the deal. Of course nothing jumpstarts the imagination like a great book. There’s nothing more engaging for me. Happy you’re here!


    • Mary Hughes says:

      Leigh, hi! Thanks for your congrats and kind words 🙂 I agree television has gotten better over the years. Many shows are starting to think of episodes like mini-movies, with bigger stakes and more riveting plots. Acting has definitely come up a notch or two 😉 But you’re absolutely right, there’s nothing like a book!

  11. Hi Mary, a very belated welcome! I’m overseas at the moment, and doing the mad rush, but it’s so lovely to have you with us. I love Person of Interest and Blacklist, and Elementary is one of my favorites, but I often miss quite a few episodes, so books are still my favorite 🙂

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Michelle! Thank you for your lovely welcome. Warm wishes for enjoyable travels!

      Oh, yes, I can’t count the number of shows I never watched before because I’d miss episodes and lose track of the characters, or my introduction to the series was a mid-year episode that made no sense. The best thing to happen to television in a long time is the ability to stream episodes, making it more like a book, where you can leave to do something, then pick up right where you left off.

      I enjoy Person of Interest and Elementary too! The Blacklist looks really good 🙂

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