DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

desperate-housewives-dvd-s5-004-dvdbash

On this day, 10 years ago, Desperate Housewives made it’s UK debut – on Channel 4. To commemorate this “event”, I’ve decided to do a short synopsis of what could very well be my favorite show. If, by some bizarre twist of fate, you’ve managed to avoid it all this time, I highly recommend you give Desperate Housewives a quick watch. It truly is one of the smartest and most addictive shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Set in the fictional America town of Fairview, on a street called Wisteria Lane, Desperate Housewives followed the dramatic lives of four women, and their families, through the eyes of their recently deceased neighbor – who commits suicide in the series premiere.

During it’s eight-year run, the show featured an incredibly wide variety of plots, ranging from everyday domestic struggles to murder mysteries, and even a tornado – during a disastrous (for the people of Wisteria Lane) Season 4 storyline. Over the course of it’s 8 seasons (and 180 episodes), it managed to stay fresh and intriguing throughout, with plenty of laughs, tears, and scares to keep it’s viewership entertained.

Desperate-Housewives-HQ-Wallpaper-desperate-housewives-10842067-1920-1080

Starring Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria (as Susan Mayer, Lynette Scavo, Bree Van de Kamp and Gabrielle Solis, respectively), the show started off strong and, after a slightly less than well-received second season, continued to garner acclaim and a positive critical response – which it maintained well into it’s final seasons.

Cast additions, such as Kyle MacLachlan as Orson Hodge, and Dana Delany as Katherine Mayfair, were also incredibly well-handled by the writers (for the most part), meaning that even though the cast constantly grew and evolved over the course of the series, the important characters never lost the appropriate focus, and every character received a day in the limelight at some point – with some, such as Karen McCluskey (played by the late Kathryn Joosten), slowly evolving from background characters purely there for the benefit of other characters to fully-developed characters, interesting on their own.

4434904-le-cast-de-desperate-housewives-620x345-1

I think a large part of the show’s appeal came from the fact that the main housewives, while totally unique, each had familiar traits that we could both relate to and empathize with. Besides the typically “dramatic” storylines that drew us in with the promise of intrigue and excitement, we also got to see the cast simply living their lives. Dealing with unruly kids, stressing over a dinner party, arguing with co-workers, etc – normal everyday stories that helped make Desperate Housewives more than it seemed on paper alone. Episodes contained numerous plot threads, which often managed to be both self-contained and continuous, and helped to created a very involving viewing experience. Even when characters were introduced solely for one episode, the writers made sure to integrate them into both the past and present of the cast – well enough that by the end of the episode, we felt almost familiar with them as we did the stars.

desperate_housewives_s8_17lg8mh-17lg8mm

In summation, Desperate Housewives is a remarkable well-crafted series that deserves to be seen and appreciated. It may not have non-stop action, or supernatural elements, but it has something that few other shows do. As cliched as it sounds, it has heart.

Every episode can leave you feeling like you’ve “grown” from the experience – having learned something, or thought about something in a new way. Everyone can enjoy this show on some level, and as such you deserve to find out for yourself what you can take away from it – and this faux-anniversary could be the best time to do it…

KID CHAMELEON | THE 10TH KINGDOM

So, I’ve been on a bit of a fairytale kick recently – inspired in part by my recent return to obsession with Once Upon a Time. Having caught myself up to date with Season Four, I found myself looking for my fairytale fix elsewhere, and remembered this mini-series I had on video when I was younger. To put it simply, the 10th Kingdom is pretty brilliant.

Set in a world that amalgamates various fairytales, the 10th Kingdom manages to follow the various tropes common to the genre, whilst remaining fresh at the same time. Snow White, and other recognizable characters, do make appearances, but the plot doesn’t rely on them for fuel, and instead merely uses them to enhance the story and utilize our familiarity with those characters to enhance our opinions of those connected to them.

The plot follows the character Virginia, a waitress from Manhattan, and her father Tony, as they find themselves transported to the Fourth Kingdom (one of nine kingdoms rules by fairytale princesses of yore – with the titular “10th Kingdom” being our own). Joined by a polymorphed prince and a “half-wolf”, the pair initially seek simply to track down a magic mirror in order to return home, but soon become caught up in the machinations of the Evil Queen – with whom they share a deeper connection than they realize.

The 10th Kingdom was initially conceived by it’s writer – Simon Moore – as the first in a series, with each exploring one of the nine kingdoms. Sadly, this never came to fruition, and it’s a shame because over the course of it’s five parts The 10th Kingdom does an excellent job at building a world the viewer can sink their teeth into, and it would have been great to see more. Nonetheless, in this world of seemingly endless fan-fiction that we live, in the 10th Kingdom lives on in the hearts of it’s fans (for better or worse).

Still, it seems rather strange that the second series was never commissioned. As far as I can tell the series was incredibly successful upon it’s original airing, with a video box-set and tie-in novel being sold during ad breaks. One would think that NBC would want to milk a potential franchise such as this for all it was worth, but I guess they just didn’t think it would be a lucrative enough option. Maybe the books didn’t sell well enough.

Either way, the series makes for an enjoyable 7-ish hours of viewing, and will definitely satisfy the cravings of any fellow “Oncers”, while they wait for the next episode with bated breath. The special effects are a little dated by todays standards, but the make-up and costumes stand the test of time, and the sets are uniformly gorgeous. So, if you’re a fan of fairytale fiction, I recommend you seek this series out – it’ll be worth your time.

Oh yeah, and the opening sequence won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design in 2000. If you watch it, I’m sure you’ll be able to see why. It’s kinda awesome.