Happiness is a New Story in a Series

I was crocheting Friday night and decided to rewatch some Art of Crime episodes. I clicked on MHz and OH MY GOD THE NEW SEASON IS UP! So I binged the four episodes (short seasons) thinking that Florence is becoming damn near predatory (play fair, Florence) and Antoine must be thick as two planks if he doesn’t see the toxic relationship his fiance has with her mentor or his own buried attraction to Florence. Plus there were the murders. And all that gorgeous art.). Anyway it made me start thinking about series, which I have never done before, and why they’re so happy-making when they’re good (Hello, Murderbot, Person of Interest, Nero Wolfe, Leverage, the Carsington Family, and so many more) and still pleasing even when they’re not as good as we’d hoped. I need to give this a lot more thought, but the bottom line for me was that two new stories in this series made me very happy Friday night. (Also that crocheting while reading subtitles is not recommended.)

What made you happy this week?

71 thoughts on “Happiness is a New Story in a Series

  1. Season’s Greetings. Such that they are.

    If anyone is in a Leverage mood, I highly, highly, highly recommend the Korean series Mad Dog on Netflix. Very similar premise early on, possibly even based on but only 16 very tight episodes.

    Excellent writing with writers giving the cast something to act with. And actual character development. Compared to some K-series, every end was tied off.

    I rewatched Shang-Chi Legend of the Ten Rings last night and by Goddess, Tony Leung aka Leung Chiu-Wai needs a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

    I watched it with transcript in hand to make sure I didn’t lose any nuance. I didn’t and that man DELIVERED!

    New school year starts tomorrow for Inland provinces, meself and others on the coastal provinces go back next Monday. Going to do my best and leave the rest.

      1. Alack, alas. Subtitles required. There’s no alternative audio tracks on the SA Netflix. But it’s a series that MOVES, enough that it’s an easy watch.

      1. There are two Tony Leungs – Kai-Fai is known as “Big Tony” and Chiu-Wai as “Little Tony”. They are both wonderful.

  2. I still haven’t watched the last series of Jack Irish, because I can’t bear knowing that I will never see a new episode ever again.

    Silly, but too many things have ended. I’ve had enough of endings recently.

  3. I like series (when they’re good, but I also think this works for the ones that are not great) because I know the people. They’re familiar and comfortable. I love it when an author writes a book and includes a couple of characters you met in a previous book, even if they’re not a big part of the story. It’s like walking down the street and nodding at people you recognize (I live in a small town). It lets you know you’re home.

  4. Pain is a by product of being happy this week. I’m walking around and doing things, finally. My healing foot hurts constantly but I’m doing things finally. I’m damn happy to be running laundry, picking up and cleaning, watering plants, cooking. Tomorrow I start physical therapy. I hope to discover ways to decrease the pain as I learn to walk again. The surgeon has offered prescription painkillers, and I could be taking multiple over-the-counter painkillers, but I don’t like to take medications (1) without an end in sight and (2) which only mask a healthy (healing) pain.

    1. Is ice allowed? I have chronic bone pain, and that’s what helps me when I don’t want to rely on chemical painkillers. And it’s just reducing inflammation, a long-term good, even if it only works temporarily; it’s not masking anything. Perhaps ask the physical therapist? Some people swear by heat, but for me, it only works on muscle, not bone, and it can aggravate the inflammation. Not as pleasant using an ice pack in the winter though.

    2. Pay attention to the pain. My husband’s foot surgery recovery took forever. The swelling did not go down and the pain became worse. The surgeon eventually discovered that 5 of the pins in his foot had broken and the bones had not healed properly and that required corrective surgery. The pins broke because of excessive tissue growing inside his foot. He thought it was just swelling. Pay attention to the limits they place on you. However,my neighbor broke a bone in her foot, had to stay off of it for 6 months- and she did so- and her foot healed perfectly.

  5. To be honest, I think that you already have two parts of a four part series with Welcome to Temptation and Faking It. Then comes Nadine and Ethan in later books… Usually I prefer loosely attached series to a long saga. There are exceptions (Murderbot, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews) but a lot of the time series don’t work for me. I think that it’s because the author is trying to stretch out the character development and romance for as long as possible, which is what I am really showing up for. I’m looking at you, Stephanie Plum. And I loose patience and wander off.

    My happy thing is that I woke up to an email about a sale on Audible and bought the Goblin Emperor for $7.

    1. I think the series-like books will be Anna, Nadine, and Alice, with Nadine playing off Faking it and Alice from Maybe This Time.
      Or Maybe This Time and the Alice stories–novella about Alice in junior high, she’s in high school in You Again, and the Haunting Alice, she’s 30.
      Yeah. Big plans.

  6. I really like series. I think 3-5 is the ideal length – long enough to get to know the characters without getting too familiar or repetitive.

    Not a great week – Covid finally caught up with me. My son got it from an uncle at Christmas, then DH got it and finally me. My symptoms are mild but lingering. My friends texted me regularly to check in which was much appreciated. I had frequent naps which is always enjoyable.

  7. Nothing particular that made me happy this week – being sick for a week is not the best starting point for happiness.
    But I’m rather glad that the kids got offered their booster jab and got it on Thursday, three weeks earlier than the appointment with the vaccination team at school. Numbers in the country have doubled in the space of one day but we do so hope that schools stay open because sometimes you only notice what damage all this online schooling has done afterwards.
    All the school trips ds is looking forward to are likely to be cancelled, even the one that’s supposed to be in summer and it’s such a pity that this would less likely to be necessary if we didn’t have such a strong front of anti-vaxxers, grrr. I really am sorry for the kids who miss out on so many experiences, important for bonding and lessening the pressure at school.

    About series: I can remember vividly one of the first books I got really invested in (aged 10), but it was just a slim book and to stay in the universe I had to go back to the beginning and re-read the book a couple of times.
    When I find a “universe” that is interesting, I very much love to be immersed for a little while longer, so a series is very welcome. It’s easier in non-romance when the books don’t have to get a HEA for the h/h at the end of the story. It’s more difficult when it’s romance books liked to a series imho – e.g. having a huge family or circle of friends and see that each sibling/friend gets a HEA is a nice concept, but for me it often feels tedious when everyone of the previous titles has to make an appearance in each book: it gets crowded).
    It feels more natural when it’s not too many family members/friends or some members of a sports team (e.g. the Dempseys, the Sarina Bowen hockey books). Or if the linking element is not love but something else (e.g. the murder mystery in KJ Charles Sins of the City series).

    My elder kid loves series even more: When he really got into reading I was so glad he took to the Rick Riordan books and found the series by Chris Bradford – no slim books in themselves and captivating but even better because you don’t have to leave the world crafted for quite a long time and get to see the protagonists grow and develop and even have a bit of humor and knowledge about mythology (Riordan) and different cultures (the Samurai series by Bradford). When finding the time to dive into a story he still prefers series. A mate of his back wouldn’t even consider giving single titles a try.

    For all of us (kids and myself) the chance to keep immersed is what makes tv/Netflix series series so appealing – when done well, the writers have so much more time to develop an adventure/friendships/relationships and not necessarily rush it.

    1. dodo, I’m not a fan of series at all, but you are right about kids — they love series. My son collected the Garth Nix and Brian Jacques books. Later he found Terry Pratchett and urged me to read them years before I “lowered” myself and discovered how great they are. My son’s dedication to series mattered because he was/is a pickier reader than my daughter. Nowadays, though, he is more interested in standalone histories.

      My daughter read all of the Anne of Green Gables books and Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Homer Price and Babysitter’s Club and everything, it seemed. She still loves series.

      1. Sadly, ds has hardly any time anymore for reading other stuff than school stuff (last two years before his Abitur – sort of High School graduation, ALL of the grades count towards the certificate).
        Dd hasn’t found the right teen books/series so far. In elementary school she got into reading the Pippa Pepperkorn series, a wonderful new take on a Pippi Langstrumpf heroine, less fantasy, more real life girl. It did wonders to her reading. Then school interfered – online schooling did take up far more time than “real” school and was far less satisfying. So, still no book or series got the reading-addiciton-hook in. Sigh.
        Looking back to my childhood, we had so much more free time, which I loved to spend with my nose between the pages of a good story.

        1. Growing up enjoyed fantasy/Sci fi due to my older brother’s books, then I discovered Tamora Pierce’s Alanna a girl who was actually a knight yay. I love her Circle of Magic best

  8. I got three out of four applications to the National Association of Social Workers done on Friday, which made me happy…. I actually wanted to get them out Wednesday but couldn’t due waiting for other people to respond to me. Got the last item for the last application now, so will finish this series (ha ha, see how I am tying this in?) on Monday.

    Noticed the grocery store had some very healthy pots of wheat grass for a mere $3. Since my last batch of cat grass had died weeks ago, I thought I would give it a try. Kitties love it and have mowed down a significant amount. MUCH cheaper than pet store grass, MUCH easier than growing my own which seems to result in potting soil all over the kitchen for a much less lush result. Very pleased, as are kitties.

    Had people over Saturday night and made ghiredelli double chocolate brownies with whipped cream to go on top. Cheap easy decadence doesn’t any better.

  9. I love series for the longer-form storytelling, for when the stories arc (Leverage is so good at that, including the reboot — first episode and last episode of the new season are nicely connected). I’ve long since stopped watching movies, since I prefer the longer format of a tv series. They make me happy.

    Last night I rewatched Vienna Blood (mystery series set in Vienna with an inspector and an early adopter of Freud’s teachings, at the time Freud is just beginning to teach, so no one’s heard of him) after hearing there’s going to be a second series and I’d forgotten what had happened in the first series, which was a few years ago and then a second series was delayed due to the pandemic. And tonight is the first episode of the second series (although I’ll probably wait and binge them all — it’s BBC/PBS, so probably only 6 two-part episodes) as well as the first episode of All Creatures Great & Small (remake, nicely cast). And last week I watched the first episode of Around the World in 80 Days, which I didn’t expect to like, not sure why not, but did like a lot (although it’s getting mixed reviews). I’m saving that to binge at the end though. All three series are on PBS, streamable through their website (although you have to be a supporter to watch the first series of Vienna Blood).

  10. I like series in general because I like meeting characters after the main story ends. And I like knowing the world. And it’s always nice to see a good secondary character become the star of their own book. (WTT and FI, as mentioned above.)

    It’s also fun to watch an author create a long series arc while telling several satisfying discrete stories in individual books. My all-time favorite for that is the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, which is in my regular rotation. (It doesn’t hurt that I secretly believe the underlying premise is true.)

    I’m happy today because I have not yielded to societal pressure and taken down my Xmas lights. I have a string up all year in my house normally, but there are more during the holidays and I’m going to keep enjoying them through January.

    1. I’m leaving my three modest strings of lights up on my wisteria arbor until the batteries die. 🙂 After all, if I don’t do that, how do I know the best time to put them up again this fall?

      1. We cut, put up, and decorate our tree during the week before Christmas. We keep the tree up until the needles start falling off. The darkness of post-holiday winter needs some light and color.

  11. I am happy to be home. I was thrilled that I got to spend time in Iceland with some grandchildren. It is such a beautiful country and they know how to do New Year’s eve. The fireworks are insane! I reccomend googling for YouTube footage. It starts around 8:00 and continued until 3:00am.

    I also brought home a large amount of yarn, that I now will ship to my knitter friend. Eventually I will have some lovely shawls as souvenirs of the trip.

  12. When my too few series shows went on hiatus over the holidays I went back to the one I had given up on. Yellowstone. And only because of Carter, a 14 year old orphan who comes up I suppose under Beth’s guardianship in season four. I want to see him progress. But dammit, in my mind I wonder where is the school department and truant officer to see if this kid is going to school instead of mucking stalls. With that I’ve seen seasons one and two, all of season four and just this week started season three. Yeh, I know I’m going backwards and forwards but apparently I’m part of the current obsession with the show. After the finale of season four the station offered two episodes of 1883 the prequel to Yellowstone and I watched that too. My eyes were bleary after over four hours but not bleary enough not to notice Tom Hanks in a cameo.

  13. Actually left my town, even the state, and went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see the exhibit about quilting, https://mfa.org/exhibition/fabric-of-a-nation. Beautiful and fascinating. Then had a ladies-who-lunch meal, with a glass of Prosecco. (Although I had a cheeseburger. True ladies who lunch have salad, I think.) Then wandered freely for another hour, then drove home. A very cold, bright day after a day of snow, just beautiful.

    Having a Zoom wedding shower this afternoon for a friend who’s marrying a long time companion. She’s in Germany, some of us are US East Coast, some US West Coast. I think there will be games, only one game, I hope.

    1. I used to live near the national quilt Museum in Paducah Kentucky. It’s fabric art. It’s fabulous.

  14. We picked up brother and took the ferry to the island, visiting his daughter and husband in Ladysmith. They love to cook and walk and we are having a terrific time. My niece brought out some old photos, some of which I have never seen. Found a few photos of me in two of my favourite dresses. I’m ten on one and thirteen in the other. Loved those dresses. Happiness is looking at old photos and wandering around antique stores and very excellent food. Niece and I are going to meet in Victoria for antique shopping in the spring.

  15. A dear friend gifted me with a museum membership this week, which made me happy and has given me a goal for the year–getting to the museum regularly to practice sketching.

    Also, a friend in chemo is doing well; her numbers are going down, finally, and that makes me very happy indeed.

    Today after church we had a full coffee hour (we’ve not done food, just beverages) with king cake and wassail for Epiphany, plus symbolic gifts. (I got a silver thimble, signifying increased industry, which doesn’t match well with retirement!) Most people stayed; we sat and talked like it was 2019. Very happy.

  16. I celebrated Twelfth Night (long walk, good meal with wine), then took down all the decorations the next day, and felt that the year had turned successfully, and January looked bright and full of possibility.

    I had a small (£25) win with my premium bonds, found a £25 gardening voucher I’d completely forgotten, was given three months free use of InDesign by Adobe when I started to cancel my subscription (they offered two, but then gave three – it’s a mystery), and when I went to see if Tor had yet reduced the price of the last book in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, Amazon offered me an unexpected credit (no idea why), which worked instead. So it’s been an abundant start to the new year.

    An old friend/acquaintance (our mothers were good friends) invited me to join her and her family yesterday – they’d cone up to bury her mother’s ashes (she died four years ago). We went for a walk after the ceremony and then had a very convivial lunch. Her husband is the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod, which I think takes the cake as a job title, and says he’d be delighted to give me a tour of the House of Lords, which would be fun.

    1. Let him! Some of my most fascinating memories are of the less-known spaces or historical possessions of such places — thinking the College of Arms, which I saw with one of the Heralds.

  17. Happy this week was the husband getting a test and confirming his cold was just a cold, which means my minor cold symptoms are also just a cold (he’s the only person I’ve been within arm’s length of since Thanksgiving). Also we both scheduled boosters. Also I girded my loins and sent a carefully-composed but pulling-no-punches email to my managers concerning my feelings about the firm’s proposal to bring us all back to the office one day a week. I am nervous about sticking my head up but honestly dread the idea of being back in the cube farm, so happy I was not a coward even if nothing comes of it.

    Happy today, it’s sunny and will be warm for the first time in what seems like weeks; I have front and back doors open to air out the house and listen to my yard birds.

    Happy on TV, I binge-watched/listened six ‘movie night’ concerts from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (on Marquee) which were awesome to the point that I downloaded their version of the Cantina song from ‘Star Wars’ (that whole soundtrack is just really high quality stuff) and bought a CD of their Gaming The Symphony concert. Who knew I would adore the theme from Bioshock?

    Happy authoring, I’ve so far done every single thing on my to-do list, including pre-publication review for my February title, and am poised for regular sessions of writer business that will not destroy my desire to write.

    Happy for all the other happy here! 🙂

    1. Lol me, too! I look forward to Sadie & Janet everyday. And my new bench is working great. Did you find a better chair?

  18. Wait, are you saying Art of Crime is now on Netflix?

    Last time we had to get that other service to watch the first couple seasons. We were thinking we’d have to activate it again to watch the newer stuff. But if the show’s now on Netflix we could already be watching it!

    If so, I hope they show it in the original French. Don’t mind the subtitles but did notice with the earlier episodes that the text in the subtitles didn’t always match the actual dialogue. No biggie in most instances, but a few times it actually changed the meaning, which is important for me in a mystery.

    In any case, thanks for sharing the news re fresh episodes. A nice happy:)

    1. No, no, it’s still on Mhz (?). I subscribe just for it, although I’ve found other great series on there, too.

      ETA: Sorry “Netflix” is like Kleenex to me now, aka “I watched it streaming.” Really sorry.

      1. Lol. No worries. In a way I actually feel better knowing I didn’t just miss seeing it listed. So back to Mhz activation it is. Like you, we found other stuff there to watch the first time around (Speakerine was one if I remember right), but like you we mainly got it for L’art du Crime so more new shows as well would just be bonus.

  19. I fully enjoyed watching the US Nationals in figure skating this weekend. Most of the athletes I watched had phenomenal routines and it was a joy to watch them. (Plus, several of my favorites did very well and medaled)

    We had freezing rain last night so my driveway was a mess. I waited until the temperature went up above freezing and then tackled clearing the ice. I wanted to get it done as we’re supposed to get snow tonight and I didn’t want to deal with ice under the snow!

    I finished reading (for the nth time) The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This series (see how I got a series mention in this lol) is one of my all time favorite ever.

  20. We started The Producers this weekend. Nobody has come down with Covid since around Christmas (guess why, I suppose) and those people have recovered and as far as I know, we’re all okay so far. Show is going very well and successfully HUZZAH. I was just happy to have the first show go on at all since I was afraid that might not happen these days. I will consider ANY number of shows we manage to get through a victory. Three more weeks to go so I’m not super …confident, we’ll say, and I’ve been trying to tell people to not wait until the last weekend or anything. But so far, so good.

    I am also grateful AF that our public health officer mandates masks everywhere (in addition to the state one).

    Also I just love the show and it’s really funny and good. Too bad we’re doing it during a pandemic, this show deserves better and more attendance without having to live in fear of Covid, since some folks I know won’t go at all now and others well, came down with it.

    But we succeeded at it this weekend and I’m happy and grateful for that and did a good job. I’m auditioning for the next musical tonight.

  21. I finally wrote over 1,300 words in one day after more than two months of barely writing anything, and then struggling to get back into it. Very happy about that.

  22. Ice today so no power walk. Things should be better tomorrow.

    I have dog stuff all over my table and have started bringing order out of chaos.

    I am enjoying Iris Foxglove’s Starian series. I enjoy series if they don’t go on to long. At some point, I think they just get shallow and formulatic.

    On to a new week.

  23. All the talk of series reminded me that a favorite was starting up in a couple weeks, after the covid hiatus. So I checked the episodes on Demand, and THERE WAS A WHOLE SEASON I MISSED IN SPRING 2021! How did that happen? So I happily watched the first episode of Season 3, and will watch the rest during this next week, just in time for Season 4. (It’s called Manifest, and is the story of a commercial flight that disappeared, then landed five years after takeoff. No one knows where it was. Eerie fun as they try to figure it out!

    Also, it sounds silly but is a great relief to me; my electric recliner wss finally repaired, after three weeks without it. My knees and hips are very happy.

  24. This may sound small and petty but the thing that made me happiest this week was finding out that a co-worker is leaving, taking another job. The 12 weeks that he was gone on paternity leave were so relaxed and peaceful for some of us in the department- we were dreading his return. Since management can’t adjust his schedule to meet his childcare needs, he is going elsewhere and I think it is best for all involved.

  25. Much-loved series make me happy, and I have read a good many, though not Nancy Drew. All-time favorite has been the best of the Amelia Peabody books (CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK, SEEING A LARGE CAT, THE APE WHO GUARDS THE BALANCE, THE FALCON AT THE PORTAL, HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY). But also true of the few television series I follow with my cousins (NCIS, and we are happy with NCIS – HAWAI’I so far) and today was special because FINDING YOUR ROOTS 2022 season began this week — we love Henry Louis Gates.

    I think series books are especially good to encourage children to read, too.

    Also happy because this week my brother and I were both boostered, and neither of us had any more of a reaction than that we could barely tell we’d had an injection at all.

  26. My happy thing is a job interview tomorrow. After months of feeling like every job application was an existential crisis, something clicked in my brain and now applying for things feels matter-of-fact and easy to crank out. I have no idea why my brain is chill with it now, but I plan to ride the wave as long as it lasts. Also my Dad turned 68 today, which meant we got a lovely family dinner and home-made cake. Also I got to see some friends at a bar with outdoor seating and fire. Luckily, it wasn’t too cold.

  27. So much to think about. Are trilogies the same as series? My teen years were sci-fi fantasy all the way, where series feel like the norm. Valdemar and Pern and the never ending Sword of Destiny. Etc etc etc. I like going back to worlds and people I know. ESCAPISM. Also, I cared about those people dammit. I missed then when they were gone.

  28. The Brother Cadfael mystery series is a lovely trip back into the middle ages, into his little workshop with a burning brazier and the scent of medicinal herbs. Ellis Peters. Also a tv series, bbc, I think.

    1. I love the Brother Cadfael series. I’ve read them so often that I know most of them by heart

  29. I watched Ted Lasso on Apple Plus in the past couple of weeks and am enamored. It’s warm and funny with great character development. I’m looking forward to season 3 whenever it comes out, though I cancelled Apple Plus in the meantime because I haven’t found anything else that called me.

  30. Happiness is oaty chocolate chip cookies made with DS after a successful first day back at preschool. He asked if we could bake, and I thought ‘why not?’ so we tried out a new recipe.

    In a surprising twist, DH and I like them, DS does not (though he loved the raw cookie dough, lol)

    1. My son is still home and having him here makes me really happy. Sadly he returns to grad school Friday.

  31. I have a soft spot for some series. Not all, by any means.

    Once upon a time, I enjoyed Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series. I still like a few of the titles, but only a few. MZB was quoted as saying that it wasn’t so much a series as a bunch of books set in parallel universes, and don’t expect continuity between stories. That sort of ruined Darkover for me. Anne McCaffrey had continuity problems with PERN. Still an excellent series, mostly. I don’t read Todd McCaffrey’s attempts to play in his mother’s universe. They suck.
    Bujold has written two large series, the Vorkosigan books and the World of the Five Gods. The other “series” is, according to her, really one big book divided up into four volumes, plus a short codicil. She said she wanted to start a different fantasy series, of which Spirit Ring was the only volume, but it didn’t sell well enough for prequels or sequels, and was therefor am ‘aquel.”
    Isaac Asimov wrote the Foundation Trilogy, which turned into six or seven books. His robot books went the same way.
    Poul Anderson had two different series. One was space opera, the other time travel… I think. I had heroes: Van Rijn, Falkayn, Flandry. They’re in my library.
    Harry Harrison had the Stainless Steel Rat.
    Joanna Carl has the chocolate cozy mysteries.
    S.E.P. has the Chicago Stars series.
    I could go on and on. I won’t. It’s time for bed.

      1. I must admit to copying titles from the wiki

        The Forbidden Tower (1977) Nominated for a Hugo Award.[2]
        The Shattered Chain (1976)
        Star of Danger (1965)
        The Winds of Darkover (1970)
        The Bloody Sun (1964, revised 1979)
        The Heritage of Hastur (1975) Nominated for a Nebula Award.[2]
        The Planet Savers (1962)

        I’ve read a bunch of others, but none of them made enough of an impression to list.

        1. All original MZB.

          Thank you.

          (My personal favorite was always THE SWORD OF ALDONES, in the unrevised version, but that may be because it was the first one I read,)

  32. Good timing to talk about series. Spoiler alert if you are a Dexter fan.
    Why? Just why? I loved the original so was happy for New Blood. I tried to like New Blood. Everu character except Dexter was annoying & unlikable. And the ending was infuriating. I could go on but I will spare everyone.
    I love book series. Too many to mention.
    I am happy today because it’s the last shift of my work week then I’m off until Friday at 5.

    1. Judy, I’m right there with you re: Dexter! We got a 99c per month deal on Showtime so decided we’d watch the reboot. We still have to watch the last episode, so I will prepare myself to be infuriated, too. I’m not particularly motivated to watch it, though, and I hope they don’t do another season.

      Meanwhile, I got addicted to the new Showtime series Yellowjackets. Just creepy and weird enough for me.

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