Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mythology on Television, a look at “nothing new under the sun”

So, I’ve spent a lot time telling and retelling the stories of the Olympians, with their associated mortal love-interests and mortal-enemies, and all their minions (those minor deities everyone tends to forget about) in my daily, not-so-much a grind, career. I spend so much time, it seems, wrapped up in this world, that when I get home and finally get a chance to sit down and turn on the television, that I find myself watching crime dramas. And, why crime dramas? Well, because everything else on tv just seems too similar to what I retell day in a day out. Crime dramas, on the other hand, don’t seem to have one single detail I can pull out that make me think about mythology. Well, unless the murder happens at a dominatrix’s one-stop sex shop called Aphrodite’s Shell… oh boy, but I can’t wait for that episode!

Anyways, how so, you are wondering, can I find mythology on all these other tv shows that, on the outside, seem to have so little in common with the stories of a long-gone people and religion? Here’s how:

A group of folks, from different backgrounds, thrust into a fight for their right to survive (and not get voted off the island) the contrived scenarios of a producer for a final prize. Huh, sounds to me like the story of the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Fourteen young virgins (boys and girls) are chosen and sent to wander, and hopefully survive, a man-made and totally contrived maze. And, the prize? Well, of course it’s the hand of Ariadne. Though, in the end, Theseus does indeed get voted off the island or, rather, Ariadne gets voted to stay on the island.

Real Housewives of Wherever
Let’s imagine it more like the Real Housewives of Zeus… yup, he had a lot of them and between the many and his “real” wife, Hera, there is more than enough tension to draw any viewer in. Not to mention, the chaos involved when at least one them is, in fact, a cow.

How I Met Your Mother
Basically, any of the ancient world’s Zeus-fathered heroes and heroines. How can you possibly explain away the turning into of a swan and how, exactly, your mother fell for that and allowed the seduction to continue. Those poor children on the couch would be traumatized forever. Although, imagine all the hilarity of trying to talk your and your friends actions into a believable meet-cute story.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette
Oh, yes, Apollo. The poor lost soul. A handsome, young, musically-inclined god, who nevertheless can’t seem to get at least one girl to go out on a date with him. I don’t care how many women you get to sign on for this show, but all will be dying to call their fathers for help out of the house by the end of the first episode. And, the unlucky one, who finally gets chosen, well, she may indeed become that rose she is carrying. Anything to get out of Apollo’s arms.

True Blood
Hades has it. The blood, the undead, and the love triangle. Well, in his case, he sort of fixed the triangle issue, but still, he has to share his lover with her mother.

And, not only that, but I swear every single one of the day-time dramas, soap operas, are just modern recreations of the same myths I retell. In fact, I’d almost be willing to bet that whenever a writer on these shows gets writer’s block, all he or she does is open up a book of mythology and just plain steal the ancient idea. Nothing like plagiarizing the dead!

What I would actually like to see on television would be an ongoing series along the lines of Friends and Two and Half Men, but with characters from Ancient Rome; specifically, Nero, the Emperor and narrator, Agrippina, his mother (from hell!), Britannicus, his idiotic (or is he?) step-brother, Claudia, his sexy and promiscuous step-sister, his love-interest, Poppeae Sabina, and, of course, his tutor – the wise and tragic – Seneca. Now, this, I’d watch! Imagine the fun, the debauchery, all the crazy schemes and situations these folks could find themselves in.

Wait, there is a show like this on television – well, on the telly, since, really, the show is only available to the British on itv2 – called Plebs. I am not from the United Kingdom, but I did manage to procure a copy of the series on DVD and have to say, they nailed it! Just what I was imagining… albeit, without Nero… If you can get a hold on a copy, just please watch it. Those Brits do it right!

What do you think? Is there nothing new under the sun…