But my fandom experience is always evolving. I started out with Star Trek and Babylon 5, both sci-fi ensemble shows. Then about the time I left for university, I noticed that it had switched to buddy shows: Quantum Leap, The Invisible Man, The Sentinel, The X-Files. And it has stayed there for the most part, with a few forays back into ensemble sci-fi (Stargate SG-1, Firefly), ensemble fantasy (Buffy, LOST), and ensemble procedurals (CSI).
I've just noted a new trend, as of this summer, though I think it's been developing over a period of time. Possibly the last two years, since my move to LA. Why do I think this? Because that's when I left my immediate family in another state.
And my new fandom interest is in the area of family relationships/dynamics.
CBS's new procedural drama (well, it's not quite a dramedy, so...) Numb3rs was my first clue.
I wasn't particularly blown away by the cases in the episode; and it's set in LA, so I find that rather boring. There's no way the setup alone (FBI agent recruits his math-genius brother to help solve cases) should have even guaranteed it a second season.
As usual, though, it was the characters who grabbed me. There's Charlie Eppes, the professor of applied mathematics. He's a complete math geek--but it's the smile, by turns beatific, mischievous, and nervous, that gets me. And he's got the capability for angst that (as one of my fan friends has said) is as great as Blair-fans wish Blair had. Heh. His friend and mentor, the absent-minded and eccentric physics prof. Larry, is one of the most amusing characters on TV right now. He's talking about wanting children, and says it's because "children are like wormholes." With connections to the past and future--the metaphor makes a twisted kind of sense, but only a true geek like Larry would automatically come up with that image.
Don Eppes, the FBI agent, is straight-laced and by-the-book, except around his family, who make him loosen up. Their father, Alan, with whom Charlie still lives, makes sure of that--as well as making sure that the brothers look out for each other without smothering each other under expectations.
It's really great to see a family portrayed on TV as functional. As something that has touched their lives so profoundly that the members of that family will go to great lengths to take care of each other, and make sure that the others are happy. A family whose closeted skeletons are about as dark as the secret of who broke that lamp when they were 9 and 7. A family whose love is real, and comfortable, and full of humor.
I've been watching reruns, and will certainly be watching it this fall.
On to the other show that revealed my change in taste.
I know, I know. Charmed isn't all that cohesive, it's kind of Buffy Lite, and I only started watching reruns because they're on when I get home from work, and sometimes I just need to sit and veg. for half an hour before I get up and make myself dinner.
I wasn't that keen on the later seasons. Piper is cool (heck, on a show that dresses its women like fashion models or sluts, any character who gets to be pregnant, look plump, and dress in plain T-shirts and leggings is my hero), but Paige just bothers me for some reason.
Lately, however, the reruns have started over from the pilot. I'm finding the show much better in its earlier incarnation. And I finally pegged why I'm drawn to the show.
The core of the show is the Charmed Ones, the Power of Three. Prue, Piper, and Phoebe, the Halliwell sisters. Their powers and mission are very new at the beginning, and watching them try, fail, and learn while supporting each other the way family should through thick and thin, is heart-warming.
I turn it on just because it's there...but I keep it on because I want to see how the sisters interact this week, which one of them will save the day, and how the others will react. How they will save each other, and help each other, and get through life together.
So yeah, I guess I miss my family. But at least I have some good shows to remind me of what I'm missing, and why I miss it.