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How to read about TV

If my last column didn’t tip you off, I like to write about TV shows. Obviously I love sitting in front of the computer or TV for hours or sometimes even for days, while characters evolve, stories gain momentum and I get sucked deeper and deeper into a fictional world. But hey (and this may come as a surprise) I also like reading books. For this reason, I’d like to dedicate this post to the common ground between the written word and TV shows. Not so much television which is based on books, such as Dexter, Gossip Girl, The Walking Dead and last weeks topic: Game of Thrones. Rather, I wanna focus on programs that have nothing to do with actual literature, but become something close to it… or at least try to.

My first encounter with extraterrestrial bad literature was based on Fox Mulder and Dana Scully’s X-Files. Back in the days it was much easier for me to get my hands on the books than to watch the actual TV show. All I can remember is one story about – no joke – cows and sheep that were mysteriously killed in a small rural county. I also had this ‘non fiction’ book which was called something like ‘The Truth Behind the Truth is Out There’ and pretended to contain scientific proof of alien life on earth.

Throughout the following years the X-Files books worked like a vaccine against producers’ aims to squeeze another buck out of me, the loyal customer. I didn’t even notice written offshoots of TV shows – with two exceptions: the book The Bro Code is written by a the fictitious character called Barney from How I Met Your Mother and it’ss some kind of guidebook on how to get women, but alas, I’ve neither watched the TV show nor read the book. I have to admit though I was tempted to buy a book that, similar to The Bro Code, was written by another character from one of my favorite shows from back in the day: God Hates Us All by Hank Moody. In the Showtime series Californication, David Duchovny plays an author who suffers from writer’s block after the success of his first book (the above mentioned). But then the show turned into shit after the second season and, expecting the same from the book, I chose to forget about it.

So it took approximately eighteen years until I bought a book from a TV show and I promise you, it’s worth every dime. It’s called How To Archer, and it’s based on the FX show Archer about a secret agency called ISOS in New York – and it’s just as funny as the TV show. So the conclusion could be: creators that are responsible for great pieces of TV probably come up with good books. Who would have thunk it?

Published April 19, 2012.