Tag Archives: Jennifer O’Dell

Character Review: Veronica Layton

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The perspective of youth is often one of hope, light and opportunity. Sometimes that perspective fades as we get older.

Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell) was the youngest member of the Challenger Expedition for most of the three years that the show was on the air.  Veronica is Arthur Conan Doyle’s answer to Tarzan. Her parents, who disappeared when Veronica was a young girl, were part of an earlier expedition. Growing up in the jungle, she learned independence and survival skills early on. But that does not mean that she has lost the innocence and light of youth.

Veronica grows from a young girl to a woman over the course of the three seasons. She has a sort of will they or won’t they relationship with Ned Malone (David Orth), falls briefly in love with a mad musician from the 19th century and begins to understand that life is sometimes hard. But her main goal is to find her parents.  In one of the last episodes of the third series, Veronica and the audience learn of her parent’s fate. Her father is dead and her mother descends from a long line of women who have ruled over the plateau for centuries. Veronica has been kept unaware of her lineage for her own safety.

To sum it up: Growing up is hard. Realizing that the life is not all sunshine and roses can be a difficult pill to swallow. Veronica is example of a great character because on one hand, she is independent and has no problem taking care of herself. But on other hand, she is still young and will be learning (sometimes the hard way) that life is complicated.  When a writer is creating a young character who over the course of the narrative grows up, the key is to make the journey of growing up universal. We all have to grow up at some point. Illustrating that journey properly through the narrative means speaking to the reader, regardless of the time and place that they are living. If the reader feels like the character is not speaking to them, then it is highly unlikely they will want to see the character through to the end of their journey.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Feminism, Television, The Lost World, Writing

Character Review: Ned Malone

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

It’s easy to take someone we have just met or randomly bump into on the street at face value. But looks, more often than not are deceiving.

Ned Malone (David Orth) is initially introduced in The Lost World as the lone American and wet behind the ears reporter who more often than not, needs saving. Far from adventurous, Ned’s motivation to join the Challenger Expedition seems rather mundane: he wants to impress a pretty girl. Ned is secretly in love with his publisher’s daughter, but she has kept him parked in the friend zone for years. To prove his mettle, Ned joins the expedition to not only write about what they will be experiencing, but also in hopes that his crush will notice him and return his affection.

Over the course of the three seasons, Ned become more mature, more confident and more self-sufficient. Part of that due to the friendship turned semi romantic relationship with Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell), a young woman raised in the jungle who is the exact opposite of the woman he was in love with when he left London.

While Ned may appear to be innocent and naive, his past was revealed about a third of the way into the 3rd season. He was unexpectedly drawn into the trenches during World War I and suffered emotional scars that lay deep and open beneath the surface.

To sum it up: No one is just one thing. We all have our light sides, our dark sides, the face we present to the world and the scars that are hidden beneath the surface. One of the primary jobs of a writer is to create fleshed out, 3D characters who are multifaceted and human. Human beings naturally relate to other human beings, whether they be real or fiction. If a character is human and feels human to the audience or reader, the writer has succeeded. If the character feels fake and uncomplicated, the writer still has work to do.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, History, Television, The Lost World, Writing

The Lost World

There is something about a favorite television show. No matter what is going on in life or how good or bad the day is, your favorite television show just makes it that much better.

The Lost World, airing from 1999 to 2002 was loosely based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In the early part of the 20 century, a group of explorers, led by scientist George Edward Challenger (Peter McCauley) goes on an expedition seeking a lost world that has been isolated from the rest of the world. The rest of the group includes Lord John Roxton (Will Snow) an aristocratic big game hunter with a certain reputation, Marguerite Krux (Rachel Blakely), an heiress with seemingly ulterior motives and an unknown past, Ned Malone (David Orth) a young American reporter looking to  impress a woman back home and Professor Arthur Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff), a fellow member of The Zoological Society who initially egged on Professor Challenger when he presented his initial findings to his colleagues.

When they reach The Lost World, they are befriended by Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell), a woman raised in jungle. Her parents discovered The Lost World a generation ago and disappeared when their daughter was still very young. In season 3, Finn, a woman from the future  (Lara Cox) joined the cast.

The Lost World was part of the action/adventure/fantasy trend that appeared in the late 90’s started by Hercules and Xena. I happen to love this show, it’s one of the few shows that I have the complete series on DVD. The special effects, well, Jurassic Park, it is not.  But it is a good show with good story telling and well drawn characters. I just wish that it has lasted more than 3 seasons, but such is life.

I recommend this show.

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Filed under The Lost World, TV Review