This Sant Jordi we recover some proposals related to the world of literature

I can get that there are series about doctors who fight death, policemen pursuing murderers and journalists uncovering murky plots. But what is the point of shooting a drama where the protagonist’s job is to spend hours and hours alone in front of a screen? Well, even at that, there is great fascination surrounding writers, and as such, there’s a good handful of series whose protagonists are those from the world of literature and I’ve prepared a list of the top ten.

Californication (Showtime, 2007-2014). The expressionless David Duchovny assumes the role of a writer suffering from creative writer’s block, and who is incapable of saying no to any temptation, especially if it involves alcohol, drugs or sex knocking on his door. Uprooted from his native New York and living in California, he will try to reignite his career while his sentimental and family life  disintegrates before his eyes.

A Murder She Wrote (CBS, 1984-1996). The writer of mystery novels par excellence on television is Mrs. Fletcher, who solves cases almost unintentionally. Although rather than the actual literary merit, its principal achievement is having endured a million and one reruns and, despite the simplistic and serial production of episodes, still conserve a certain kitsch charm and the ineffable presence of Angela Lansbury.

Girls (HBO, 2012-2017). Lena Dunham wrote, performed, and produced this bittersweet comedy, heir to “Sex in New York,” in which she plays an aspiring writer. As can often be the case, the first step of her training involved having something to say. In other words, she needed to get out of her shell and experience life up close to build up some confidence and shake off her insecurities. One of the most overwhelming episodes is her encounter with a hallowed writer, clouded by a situation of sexual harassment.

Black Books (Channel 4, 2000-2004). It’s not only writers who are the fodder of literary fiction. Booksellers have also been the subject of series. Like this comedy about the owner of a bookstore who hates people – not the greatest quality to possess when your job involves working with the public – and who is accompanied by two more endearing characters: an assistant who seems to be completely insane and the only female friend he has. Created by and starring the scathing Dylan Moran.

Castle (ABC, 2009-2016). Unresolved sexual tensions come into play here constantly with the series kicking off with two conflicting characters: a best-selling author of mystery novels and a police detective. Both solve crimes in New York, but the cop doesn’t like him interfering in her work. The investigation into the murder of the detective’s mother serves as a great storyline linking the different episodic cases.

The Affair (Showtime, 2014-2019).The Affair (Showtime, 2014-2019). Before breaking into what might be a debatable psychodrama, “The Affair” is an exhilarating story around the love affair between Noah Solloway, an author suffering from writer’s block, and Alison Bailey, a fascinating woman but with a dangerous aura. One of the attractive features of this show is that it often presents the same events as seen from different points of view.

October Road (ABC, 2007-2008). Another series based on writer’s block is this production about a famous screenwriter who’s living it up in New York, while struggling to continue writing. An invitation to return to his hometown serves as a stimulus, but the reception from his family is much less enthusiastic and a far-cry from open-armed. In addition, he discovers that his ex-girlfriend has a son who, crunching the numbers, might just be his biological offspring.

Sharp Objects (HBO, 2018).And seeing that we’re covering folk returning home, this show starring Amy Adams as practically  absolute protagonist, directed by Jean-Marc Vall, and on the heels of the success of “Big Little Lies”, tells the tale of a reporter eager to chronicle how the murder of two girls is affecting lives in the small community in the Deep South of the USA where she grew up. Her obsessive mother and the sickly atmosphere of the place will wreak havoc on the journalist.

Byron (BBC, 2003).This two-episode mini-series based on the adult stage of poet Lord Byron’s life was written by Nick Dear for this show starring Jonny Lee Miller and Vanessa Redgrave, in the role of Lady Melbourne. Sober and well-focused on the writer’s affected personality, revealed here in his most charming moments but also in the cruelty with which he treated those who crossed him.

Bored to Death (HBO, 2009-2011). A shy aspiring novelist who moonlights as an unlicensed private detective is the premise of this series featuring the characters created by novelist Jonathan Ames. The result is a fresh and very hipster comedy, starring Jason Schwartzman, who wanders around New York solving cases and trying to bring his love life into focus, accompanied by Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis.

Àlex Gutiérrez.
Journalist specialized in the entertainment and media sector. Currently working in the Diari ARA, as head of the Media section and author of the daily column “Pareu Màquines”, where he reviews the daily press. On radio, Alex has been a contributor on “El Matí de Catalunya Rádio”, with Mónica Terribas and the “Irradiador”, on iCatFM. Alex also lectures at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra. His visionary powers are clearly evidenced by his impressive collection of several thousand CDs, something perfectly useless in an age that seems to celebrate the death of physical media.