It is really bad to watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Joss Whedon created a magical universe with Buffy/Angel. The episodes are a reminder that it was television at its best. And writing at its best.
Whedon is a master at his craft. The character arcs are exquisite, the dialogue shining, and the lessons learned in each hour-long drama are seamless. Teaching a lesson without being preachy is a skill all writers need to learn.
I really enjoyed watching the shows with my teenage daughter. It was great to discuss the hidden lessons in each episode. It might seem like it was about demons, vampires, and monsters, but the true monsters walked among us.
One of my favorite episodes was about a boy using a potion Ala Jekyll and Hyde, but it was really about dating abuse. It was great to show young girls that having a boyfriend doesn't mean he owns you or can tell you what to do.
So, sometimes you can write one thing and mean another. Romance does this a lot. Many romances are based on fairy tales; Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. For example, Pretty Woman. It might seem like a Cinderella story when the prostitute is rescued by the Prince (rich) Charming, but the true tale is how she rescues him.
So, I'll keep reading romance, writing romance, and watching Buffy/Angel reruns to enjoy how its done.
What tv show or movie has taught you a writing lesson? What is your favorite fairy tale?