Thursday, September 27, 2007

TV and Me

Okay, I admit it. I’m a television addict. Not that I spend all my time watching TV. Far from it. For one thing, I couldn’t and still be a writer. Or lawyer. Plus, I also love to read. And the daytime stuff generally doesn’t interest me. But I try to watch an hour or three during prime time whenever possible.

As a result, this time of year, when lots of new shows are born, is sometimes confusing to me. A lot of the new group sound interesting. That means I need to watch at least the beginnings of at least some. Often, I know enough after five minutes that a new show isn’t for me. For others, I like to watch an episode. Or more. Or a season. Or the whole thing... like Boston Legal. Its season premier was on Tuesday night, and I enjoyed it immensely, as always.

I tend not to get too wound up in reality shows. Dancing With The Stars is an exception, so its season premier this week made it harder to sneak into the various new series. Thank heavens for TiVo.

On Wednesday night, there were several new shows I had to watch. One was Haunting, on SciFi. It’s about a P.I. who sees ghosts that help him solve cases. Another was Bionic Woman, a remake of the old series that’s much darker.

Yet another was Life. I had to fight my husband over whether to watch that or Dirty, Sexy Money--which also sounded interesting, particularly since it’s supposed to have a lawyer as a main character. But the setting of Life trumped Money--or so I'd hoped--so we recorded the latter and watched the former.

Why was that? Well, some of Life was filmed at L.A. Center Studios. Or at least I was looking for it, since I recognized it in the teasers shown before the show debuted. Did I see L.A. Center Studios in the first show? I’m not sure. Not in exterior shots, although some of the interiors could have been there. But it definitely showed up in previews, so I was watching for it.

The main building at L.A. Center Studios and its unique walkways and other locales appear often in films, commercials and TV shows--such as in the series Numbers, which I also watch, and not just because I find solving mysteries by formulas fascinating. No, it’s also the locale.

Why? Well, like Kendra Ballantyne, the protagonist of my pet-sitter mysteries, I’m a lawyer. Fortunately, I’ve never stumbled over dead bodies. Nor do I go to court very often, as she does, since I’m a real estate transactional attorney, not a litigator. For a long time, I was an in-house real estate attorney for Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal. Some years back, the decision was made to sell the property known as Unocal Center, located across the freeway from downtown Los Angeles. I helped in the negotiation for a sale to a developer who intended to take down the 1950s-era office building and related structures and replace them with a marvelous new office complex. I also helped in the negotiation for Unocal to become the anchor tenant in what I later came to call the “phantom building,” since the bottom fell out of the L.A. real estate market and the developer never built that building or anything else as part of the planned new complex. Unocal moved its corporate offices elsewhere. Eventually, the developer resold the property.

Now, here is what I consider the supreme irony of this situation. The property owner, ultimately, was L.A. Center Studios, which turned the whole area into a film studio. The Unocal building, which was supposed to have been torn down, survived as part of that studio complex. Unocal, however, no longer exists. It was merged into another major oil company a few years ago. I adored Unocal and its original setting. I don’t get tired of shrieking, as I watch TV, “There’s Unocal!” I unfortunately didn't get to do that Wednesday night, even though I remained intrigued with Life.

The other theme, as you can probably see, is that I enjoy checking out shows where there’s adventure and, preferably, mysteries are solved. I don’t always get into those that become the most popular, but give me detection with an interesting theme and I’m sometimes hooked. Am I missing some good shows this way? Probably, but I don’t intend to spend all my time by the TV--just an excess.

Now I just have to figure out which of the new series I like well enough to continue watching. Unfortunately, or fortunately, not all of them are filmed at L.A. Center Studios. I’ll at least watch Life again and hope, soon, to see the right exterior shots.



Camille Minichino said...

I think I'm more of an addict than you are, Linda.
I watch all the Law & Orders, 24, Prison Break, Damages, Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, Numbers, Shark. Is there a pattern here?

Crime, crime, crime.

I call it research!

Kathryn Lilley said...

Ooh, the building next door to my dentist in SoCal is where they film some of CSI Miami! Watching Detective Kayne (spelling?) come and go definitely takes some of the pain out of undergoing teeth cleaning, lol!