Honorary Lady Of Comicazi: Bryan Fuller
I will admit that I probably watch a lot more TV than I should. In fact, when The Boy and I decided to get rid of cable after an epic disagreement with DirectTV (they are evil), I think I was the one who was the most concerned. How was a girl going to survive without BBC America and Cartoon Network?
The transition was surprisingly simple. I realized just how much trash I would leave on the tv just to have some sort of background noise. Since canceling cable, I have been able to be more selective regarding what I watch, and as an added bonus I have rediscovered my burning passion for Bryan Fuller.
Bryan Fuller could very well be one of your favorite screenwriters and producers. You might just not know it yet. The creative mind behind NBC’s Hannibal (a critical success with a very passionate fan base), Bryan Fuller is also the creator of Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and possibly my favorite non-Muppet show of all times - Pushing Daisies.
What makes Bryan Fuller’s shows so great is twofold - he creates worlds that are both whimsical and unsettling, and each of these worlds includes strong and utterly likeable females.
Fuller’s shows are both dark and delightful. Dead Like Me focuses on a group of Grim Reapers who specialize in elaborate accidental deaths. Wonderfalls has a talking wax lion. And Pushing Daisies is about a guy who can bring the dead back to life with his touch. My short descriptions sadly don’t give justice to just how vibrant these shows are. They are brightly colored confections that are never too sweet - with the exception of Hannibal, because that one is DARK. In fact, when Fuller's shows deal with darker subjects like death (and they often do, apparently it is a Fuller trait) the feelings are still honest.
I’m also a fan of the way Fuller’s shows portray women. If they are not the main character like Jaye from Wonderfalls, or Georgia in Dead Like Me, they are still smart and very much a part of the plot and main action. Fuller’s ladies are not afraid to call the guys out on their nonsense and never cross that line of being so “nice”” as to be unlikable. Even Charlotte, Ned’s ideal girl-next-door in Pushing Daisies, still manages to be likable through all her perfect clothes and bubble gum outlook because she too is capable of mistakes and regrets. She is driven by something tangible, regardless of how cheery she is.
But back to Jaye, the main character in the grossly under-appreciated Wonderfalls. Jaye is lost in the world post-graduation. Over-educated with a seemingly useless degree, Jaye chooses to choose nothing and languishes in what she considers an easy job, working at a Niagara Falls souvenir shop. She delights in her perceived non-value and parents' apparent disappointment. Jaye is a brat. But then the Universe intervenes when inanimate objects start talking to her and force her to take action. Through the single season of the show Jaye makes a complete arc. She is by no means perfect by the end, but she learns to see herself as a work in progress who is both starting to understand herself better and learn to look outward at those around her.
And because I always seem to end my articles with a final attempt to convince you. Here are some additional goodies to look out for in Fuller’s shows: shared universes, trademark golden retrievers, repeat casting of AMAZING actors. Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz as agoraphobic, yet adorably eccentric synchronized swimming sisters? I didn't even realize how empty my life was before I realized such a thing could exist!!
And yes, I realize that I have barely talked about Hannibal, but heck, there is plenty of current fandom out there for you to enjoy. I’d tell you all about it, but I’m still trying to recover from the last few episodes. Who will save Will Graham?! Oh Pookie! It's gonna be ok! Right? RIGHT?!