My husband and I been watching ONE TREE HILL on DVD like crazy over the past few weeks. One of my crit partners suggested I check it out because there is a half-brother storyline and I'm (in theory) writing a half-sister story.
I picked up the first season for $20 with the intention of getting a feel for the story and then being done with it. But... it didn't happen like that. My husband got hooked from the first episode. I was into it, but not too terribly much. Then somewhere in the middle of season 2, I got hooked on it. We are now in about 2/3 through season 3. (And I am unspoiled for what is going to happen later in the series. So, please don't tell me anything!)
I've been keeping an ongoing list in my mind of characters who have made me cry.
In case you're curious:
Brooke - once in s1. Once in s2.
Payton - once in s3.
Lucas - once in s3.
Whitey - once in s2. (Really! Even though I don't really like him...)
Nathan - once in s2. (But it probably should count for more than once since the crying went on for about three hours. Yes, I am a dork.)
So, the thing about this show is that I don't even think the writing is ALL THAT. There are way too many times where my husband or I can predict a "twist" or speak the next line of dialogue before it is spoken by the character. There are times when characters do things that are out of character just because the writers need them to do those things to move the plot forward. But, you know, there have been a few great surprises, too, which have made us say, "Whoa. I didn't see THAT coming!' It's a mixed bag.
I get frustrated by the way they pile on the complications. But at the same time, I'm intrigued with how they do it. There are so many layers in what they put together that letting the characters work out one thing never automatically fixed a given situation. Which is good. And annoying. I spend a fair amount of time yelling at my TV over the injustice of it all.
One thing in season 2 which bothered me was that the writers switched it up and made Nathan my hero instead of Lucas. Afterward, I actually resented that I spent most of season 2 loving Nathan, and then when the writers were done with the big focus on his arc, they gave us Lucas again. I mean, I love Lucas! But I felt kind of jerked around by the whole thing. (Also, without giving anything away here, the things going on with Nathan reminded me of what was going on with me and my ex-husband when I was twenty. It was hard to watch what felt a lot like my former life being played out on the television.)
Anyway, all this is to say that I love watching television series on DVD because even though it is all so different from novels, I think it is helpful with my writing. Watching the way they put together the character arcs and build the tension is fascinating to me. Even when it's done poorly at times, it still helps me think through how it could have been done better. And every once in awhile, I am even moved to tears. What could be better than that?
Now I just have to hurry up and figure out how to get the fourth season without having to pay $40 plus for it. If only I knew someone local who had it who could let me borrow theirs!