East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Nine TV shows that made me

My friend Jessica, over at her blog, is doing a series of posts about media that made her the writer she is. Books, movies, TV shows… I dunno, probably also videogames, LPs or whatever. After all we are the product of our experiences, and when it comes to stories, the stories we enjoyed reflect on the stories we write.
All of which simply means, I’m pilfering her idea, and I’ll do a few posts featuring stuff that had an influence on my writing.

Now Jessica’s done a post about her top five TV shows, and that got me thinking.
I grew up with more shows on the TV than films in the movie theater, and really my early years were spent between the telly and books with a few odd comics thrown in. As a consequence, I think like most from my generation I picked up some bits and pieces from the TV when I was putting together my writing language: ideas, characters, the way to handle dialog…

So I jotted down a list, that includes a lot more than five shows, and then distilled it to a handful of special shows, and I was surprised when I found out that, while unsurprisingly most shows date from between the ’60 and the ’80s, fantasy shows (including SF and horror) do not take the top positions. Curious, what?
In the end I reduced my list to nine titles. The rule of thumb for the selection: I must be able to trace at least some elements of my writing to the series, I must have watched it before I started seriously to write my stories, I can quote snippets of dialog from it at the slightest provocation.
Also, the list does not include animation and anime series.
Let’s see…

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Back to the Beach

CB-Season-1-CoverIn these hot, humid nights, I’ve gone back to China Beach, the 1988-1991 TV series reated by William Broyles Jr. and John Sacret Young, and with Homicide, Life on the Streets, up there at the very top of the Olympus of my favorite TV shows.
I discovered China Beach by chance in 1994-95, when a second-tier network broadcast it in Italy.
I was serving in the Air Farce at the time, and it was surreal, being in a military compound, wearing fatigues, and watch a show about men and women in fatigues, in a military compound.

The series takes place in an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War – the first season takes place in the autumn of ’67.

The reasons for going back to that old series were basically two Continue reading