Forming the Pilot Episode: The Origins of a TV Nerd

What kind of nerd am I? A black girl nerd. A TV nerd. A Harry Potter nerd. A watch-all-three-Lord-of-the-Rings-Extended-Editions-in-one-weekend nerd. A nerd who is still discovering new, awesome nerd things every day.

But let’s talk about being a TV nerd, since I’m going to probably do most of my writing in the TV section of this website. I guess I became a TV nerd when I was about nine and I had to miss an episode of Sailor Moon after school. I cried. I thought about how I might never get to see that episode (this was pre-DVR, of course and I didn’t know I wouldn’t be home, so VHS recording the episode was out) and I’d miss that time with Serena and Darien and the girls (it was the American dub, it has a special place in my heart even though I should know better).

Sailor Moon began my TV obsession and it didn’t slow down from there. I watched ¾ of the Toonami block: remember Reboot? That was my first experience with a show canceled too soon. I admittedly grew into Dragon Ball Z, though well after the boys were kamehameha-ing their way through middle school.

Only a few years later, I was hooked on Angel and Charmed and totally called it when that guy exploded on Grey’s Anatomy. I helped create a House, M.D. Facebook group (called The Vicodin Support Group). I read fanfiction (take whichever tense of read you like). I watched Danny Phantom and Kim Possible well outside of the proper age demographics. I fell into the Doctor Who hole (not predicting my recent apathy). Throw in some Firefly, Misfits, Dollhouse, Inuyasha, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and let’s not forget the Pokemon and Power Rangers phases. I came to Arrow this summer and now think it’s quickly reaching Angel status as one of my favorite TV shows ever. (I really, really love Angel). And those are just the nerdier shows. I live-tweet Scandal with the best of them and am obsessed with this season’s Jane the Virgin. Just this fall, I watch about 12 primetime shows in each week. My DVR is usually nearly bursting to capacity and often, during the winter and summer hiatuses, I find a new show, past or present, to get hooked on.

Something about the way television told stories speaks to me more than any other medium. I love reading, of course, and I like going to the movies, but TV is so different. I get to spend more time in these fictional worlds — vicarious adventures when my own world is boring. I get to spend more time with the characters — as an introverted nerd who often didn’t relate to other people well (or always want to), fictional characters were like having additional friends, people I spent time with every week without the pressure of being constantly concerned that they like me and my quirks. Television is a great source of comfort for many people, something familiar they can turn to when life becomes too much or not enough. It’s also a way for people to connect, from the water-cooler of yesteryear to live-tweet hashtags. I’ve made quite a few friends by being able to start a conversation on a mutually enjoyed TV show. If I can talk to you for hours about an episode or two, there’s definitely a strong bond already forming between us.

And somewhere in there, the writer in me, who often struggles with sitting down and actually writing, realized that maybe the medium I’m best suited for is television. I’m still working on the writing for television part, but writing about television? That I can do; I’ve spent enough of my life thinking about shows and characters and arcs and meaning, why not put it on a blog somewhere? I called this post “Forming the Pilot Episode” because I’m still in the beginnings of my nerd journey. Still figuring out my career and my life, still finding nerd things to become obsessed with, still waiting for my inciting incident, the things that will propel me into act 2 where the journey, theme, and purpose of my life-as-TV-series becomes clear. Until then, I’m still in Act One, the Ordinary World, where I’m a bit stuck in the status quo, but looking for ways to break out of it.

Capt WWSo here I am, a nerd of color, getting ready to write a crapton about Arrow and The Flash. The TV nerd in me is spinning with excitement. I keep hoping she’ll spin into Gina Torres as Wonder Woman — in a Gina would’ve been an awesome, fierce, meant-to-be Wonder Woman way, not in the whole perfect dreamcast that was never gonna happen kind of way.

Join me in the Flarrow geek outs (and potentially more — maybe we’ll all rewatch Orphan Black together) here, on Twitter (@ConStar24), or over on my TV centric blog, I talk a lot about diversity in TV there. Basically, talk to me about TV anywhere you can find me, it’s how I make friends.

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