What I’ve Been Doing Lately Instead of Writing This Column

Published on March 8th, 2013

The short answer is “recovering from open heart surgery”. But, we’re not going to talk about that because I don’t want to bum everybody out. (Eat your vegetables, kids! And get more exercise!) So let me give you the fun answer – I’ve been watching TELEVISION!

  • downtonabbeyI’m late to the party on Downton Abbey, on the basis that it looked like a Merchant-Ivory film, and I’m not that guy. But my wife has been watching it, and I gradually started getting sucked into it just by osmosis. (“Who’s THAT guy? What’s she doing now? Why are they all British?”) In my defense, the same phenomenon happened in reverse with Breaking Bad – I was watching it without her and then after she caught part of one episode we had to go back and restart it from Season One to catch her up. Anyway, I picked a great time to start watching Downton Abbey, or as they should call it “Everything Good Dies Horribly”. Every time I sit down to enjoy some period drama, something tragic happens. What the hell, Downton Abbey? (I should mention that every time I try to type “Downton Abbey”, I seem to want to type “Downtown Abby” instead, which sounds like the name of a hooker.
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special! Holy cow! Oswin’s back! Except now she’s called Clara! And crap, she’s dead! But wait! She’s out there and the Doctor is going to find her! Also, I would totally watch a spinoff about the adventures of Vastra and Jenny. Please, Stephen Moffat, make this a thing that happens.
  • The Americans is turning out to be a really taught, suspenseful drama about Russian spies living covertly as American citizens in the 1980s. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are both insanely good as the secret agents, with Keri Russell in particular standing out, showing intensity and action skills I never suspected she had. I always forget the amazing things she’s been in, like “The Waitress”, instead remembering Felicity, which I hated like fire.
  • Justified is back! Good ol’ Timothy Olyphant (aka “Timmy Olyphantastic”) returns as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. This season he’s palling around with Patton Oswalt, searching for a mysterious criminal believed dead for decades, and continuing to butt heads with Walton Goggins’ amazing Boyd Crowder. Remember how they were going to kill Boyd in the pilot, and then didn’t? Can you imagine this show without him? This season has been a hell of a lot of fun, and I’m glad to see the writers giving some more screen time to Raylan’s fellow Marshals Tim and Rachel. But my favorite addition to the supporting cast is White Trash Teenaged Girl with Braces Who Shows Everybody Her Breasts. Raylan should adopt her and then they can solve crimes together. “Quick, WTTGwBWSEHB,” he’s drawl, “To the Raylan-Mobile!”


  • Archer Is back! And Lord, how I’ve missed it. This show has always been genius, but the season opener, with its bizarre cross between star H. Jon Benjamin’s other main voice work of late, Bob’s Burgers, and A History of Violence was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Are you watching Archer? No? What the shit, Lana?


  • Walking Dead? Can you say, holy crap? This season has been firing on all cylinders, and every episode just keeps ratcheting the tension up higher and higher. I thought the character of The Governor was evil, frightening, and horrible in the comics, but also a little cartoonishly obvious.  David Morrissey has been playing him with an amazing slow burn of ego, menace, and malice, and it’s been amazing to watch. My only complaint about the show is that they continue to make Andrea, my favorite character from the comics, into the worst character on television. Dear TV Andrea: STOP MAKING DECISIONS. YOU ARE HORRIBLE AT IT. From now on, decide on something and then do the opposite of what you just decided. BTW, if you are watching Walking Dead and NOT watching Talking Dead immediately after, you suck at television. Host and Uber-Nerd Chris Hardwick has received the full hour his post-mortem talk show deserves to pick apart the episode you just watched with celebrity guests. My only request is that Talking Dead stops booking rock stars as guests. Aisha Tyler is awesome, and knows what she’s talking about. So does CM Punk. The goof-noodle from Good Charlotte? I wouldn’t trust that dude’s opinions on anything except how to score cocaine.

What else did I watch during my recovery? Phineas and Ferb, the first four seasons of Alias, and a ton of documentaries on Netflix.

If you followed me on twitter @travisholyfield you’d have been able to watch me live-snark about the Superbowl and the Oscars.

Next week I’ll tell you about the other half of my recovery process – VIDEO GAMES!

Until then,

Travis M. Holyfield