It’s got that new season smell

by Joe Moore

It’s premiere season on TV and I’m excited. There’s a couple of returning shows that I really got into last year, and a few new ones that sound quite enticing. xfilesFirst, let me say that my tastes run toward drama. But not just any drama. I like stuff that’s outside the box. As an example, I was one of the original X-Files fans. I remember that Friday night in September 1993 when the show first appeared. I loved everything about it from the creepy music to the mysterious logo to the amazing anti-relationship between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Their characters were strong from the start and stayed true to the end. I was also a big fan of Millennium, another of X-Files producer Chris Carter’s shows. Not as famous and successful as X-Files, but just as captivating.

So what do I look forward to this year? Fringe. It’s X-Files all over again, only in HD. Last week was the first show of the new season, and it had plenty of surprises and twists. There’s also a new show called Flash Forward. Here’s the premise: Suddenly, the entire world stands still for 2 minutes, 17 seconds. Chaos ensues. Cars crash, medical procedures are brought to a halt, and millions of other events are disrupted. A couple of FBI agents are assigned to investigate what happened and why. Advance reviews say the concept is fascinating and the story addictive.

Then there’s the return of Doll House on Friday nights. This one pulled me in last season and I’m looking forward to see if it can sustain imagemy interest a second time around. It involves a girl code-named “Echo” who is a member of an illegal underground group who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas. They not only perform unusual and controversial roles, but they literally become whoever their clients want them to be. It’s hard to look away.

And when I do need a laugh or two, the Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men are hard to beat.

So how about you? Are there any shows you’re looking forward to? How about ones you intend to avoid? Is this the year you break the ties to 24 or American Idol?

Are You Ready for Your Close-Up?

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

First – forgive me but after nearly 7 hours in the car driving back from Oregon my brain is incapable of functioning…hence a short (possibly garbled) blog post for Monday.

I have been MIA this last week – camping near Crater Lake in Oregon (I know – unbelievable for me!) and then going on to Ashland where I had the great pleasure of being invited by the Ashland Mystery Readers Group to participate in a number of events. The highlight for me was meeting a group of excited readers that made me feel, albeit briefly, like I was a superstar:)
I also had my first TV experience (on RVTV noir) which was terrific and not as nerve wracking as I feared…until…they asked me to take a look at the raw footage. I soon discovered that I cannot bear to watch or listen to myself on camera. Pathetic really – but from the snippets I did see (between my fingers) I gained some useful insights in case one day I get that call from Oprah…

Here they are (for what they are worth):

1. Do wear the bright red jacket. I was thankful that I had chosen something vibrant as (being the pale Celt that I am) it looked terrific on camera. I tastefully also avoided any kind of pattern that might either flare on screen or make me look fat (I am so vain!)

2. Ignore the cameras – insofar as you want to look as natural as possible…but also make sure you engage the imaginary audience out there so there is some eye contact. As I couldn’t bear to watch myself I’m not sure how successful I was on this front…but the kind camera crew said it looked good.

3. Record yourself to hear how you actually sound reading from your work. This is not something I did but when I heard myself on the footage I realized that this would have been a great tool to use – perhaps then I wouldn’t have cringed when I heard my accent:)

4. Relax. I did this and the interview went by so fast I hardly knew I’d had one. I think this helped make the show feel like a natural extension of a one-on-one conversation rather than a stilted ‘in front of the camera’ interview.

I’m now excited about the possibility of using video/TV for marketing…though I guess I have to get over my embarrassment of watching myself first. I also have to give a huge thank you to everyone who came to my events in Ashland and Klamath Falls and to Maureen who organized it all:)

If you go to the Ashland Mystery Readers Group website and click on RVTV noir you’ll also be able to see some of the other RVTV noir readings (mine will be up once it’s edited – have no fear, I’ll warn you when it’s there:)).

So have any of you have experience with TV? Any belated advice or feedback on what works/doesn’t work? Have any of you used the video/TV option in your marketing and, if so, what was your experience like?

Now I know I’m starting to ramble…It’s late and I need my beauty sleep (badly!) just in case I get the call this week for you know…my network TV debut:)


Photo of Jason Starr in Central ParkThe Kill Zone is thrilled to welcome author Jason Starr as our guest blogger today. Jason’s book THE FOLLOWER was just re-released as a mass market paperback, and I can attest that it’s a dark, funny story that absolutely everyone should read. Bret Easton Ellis said, “The Follower is Jason Starr’s masterpiece,” and The New York Times described it as “Extremely chilling.” Think of it as a dating “how not-to.”

Without further ado…

Our TV broke last week. It was an LCD set—an old model—and when the inverters go, that’s it, the set’s dead. We have a new TV now with one of the best home music systems, but for several days we were forced to go TV-less. I know, the horror, the horror, right?

Actually, going without a TV was a bit of a shock. My family and I live in a fairly small Manhattan apartment and the sudden quiet was startling. SuddenFollowerly I felt like I was back in the 1800’s, living in the Little House on the Prairie, and I had to entertain the family at night with my fiddle. I was able to read more, which was great, but it didn’t really fill the void.

I mainly watch sports and movies on TV, and cable series such as Entourage, Dexter, and Californication. Not so-long ago there was a big stigma among people, especially writers, about admitting to television watching at all. At parties, if the subject of television came up a writer would say proudly, “I’m too busy to watch TV.” Some went further and claimed, “I don’t watch TV at all.” Others—the really busy people—would boast, “I got rid of my TV.”

I always suspected that people who claimed they didn’t watch TV were closet TV- aholics. They probably sat with their asses glued to their couches four hours a night, watching the entire lineup of the dumbest sitcoms.

But something happened, I think around the time The Sopranos got popular. Suddenly it became socially acceptable to admit to TV watching, and a big stigma to not watch TV. If you didn’t watch The Sopranos, you were considered to be some kind of freak, and if you didn’t watch the finale–fuggedaboutit. I think there’s no doubt that the quality of television in general has improved greatly over the years, but there has been a change in our attitudes toward TV as well.

Now being TV-literate, especially cable TV-literate, is much more socially acceptable, even vital. I actually feel wiresorry for the writers who don’t watch TV because at parties and mystery conferences they’ll inevitably hear: “What, you haven’t seen every episode of The Wire? Oh my God, what’s wrong with you?…“What, you don’t watch Dexter? Really? You have no idea what you’re missing.”….“What, you’ve never seen Californication? You’re kidding me? Really?”….“You’ve never heard of The Shield?”

I’ve seen some television-deprived writers embellish their TV watching, smiling vaguely and nodding a lot, not wanting to feel left out when people start discussing the latest shows. That’s right, writers have now come full circle and they actually exaggerate the amount of television they watch.

So I’m wondering, how much television do you watch? And do you find that lately it’s more socially acceptable to admit it?


JASON STARR is the Barry and Anthony Award-winning nine crime novels which have been published in ten languages. His latest thriller from St. Martin’s Press, THE FOLLOWER, is on-sale this week in a new mass market paperback edition. Visit and sign up for Jason Starr’s newsletter for a chance to win a 50-dollar Amazon gift certificate, and other exciting prizes. Newsletter subscribers will also be eligible to win free advance copies of Jason Starr’s next thriller PANIC ATTACK, which will be on-sale in August, 2009.