TV – What I’m Watching

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher. In childhood, I teethed on Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and the Six Million Dollar Man. But as I grew older, except for a few measly exceptions, I pretty much shunned broadcast television.

I found that I just couldn’t relate to most network programming. Yeah, some shows were funny, some were smart, and some I could emotionally relate to, but overall I felt most shows were not worth the investment of what little spare time I had.  They were simply flips.

A flip, or flipping, is a popular real estate technique (maybe not as popular with the recent collapse of the housing market) where a property is bought cheap, has some cosmetic and/or structural changes applied, then resold at a higher price.

A flip is how I felt the major networks approached a new season.  Take an old property or concept tried-and-true, slap some paint on it, add a few modern touches, then try to sell it to a new generation of viewers and advertisers.

Trite and boring.

Then along comes cable, premium channels, and some very not-boring original programming. The likes of HBO and Showtime have given us the Sopranos, Sex & the City, Six Feet Under, The L Word, Dexter, Californication, Band of Brothers, Entourage; series, movies, documentaries, comedies, award winners, critical successes and some flops. While not everyone’s cup of tea, definitely not boring.

Not wanting to be left out, the non-premium cable channels jumped on the band-wagon with shows like Monk, The Closer, Battlestar Galactica, Bones, etc, etc. Even AMC got into the picture with Mad Men, which I find very interesting–not Mad Men, which has been getting rave reviews, but that it’s showing on AMC.

When American Movie Classics (AMC) first aired, I thought it was a pretty cool, retro kind of channel, showing old classic films with little if any commercial interruptions. That didn’t last long. Shilling took priority over offering a great classic movie watching experience.  But Mad Men… original, sharp, Golden Globe winning.

And now, even on network television, there are more interesting shows than I have time to watch–even with the time-warping capabilities of a DVR.

Is my increased interest in today’s programming a function of me getting older or does it appear lessons are being learned?

In the past, I doubt the words “ground-breaking” or “cutting-edge” could easily be phrased in the same sentence as network television programming with a straight face. At least by anyone not being paid to say it. But now…

In a university post-modern philosophy class, I learned that most broadcast and print media content (and politics, evidently, if the last eight years are any example) is created for an average audience intellect of the lowest common denominator (LCD). I found that insulting. They must think of the average American as simple, shallow and pretty much idiots.

However, something has changed.  But what? Have viewer tastes become more sophisticated?  Yes, of course. Nothing new there.

Are they still catering to the perceived LCD? Probably.

Are media outlets learning that if you feed someone the same Pablum, day after day, they will eventually resent being treated like an ignorant child–something politicians seem to have discovered this past November 4th? Possibly.

Has the Internet contributed to increasing media’s understanding of viewers interests and desires. Absolutely.

What I think may have also happened is that some smart men and women realized that telling a truly great story, whether real or imagined, might actually be more interesting than the same old flip. That the human capacity to reinvent, recreate and re-imagine is limitless. And that in order to inspire others, one must first offer something inspiring.

Sure, all great stories are universal, but not all universal stories are great, or interesting.  I don’t turn the TV on to seek out a car chase or droids getting blasted.  I want to see a great story.

Regardless of the reason, TV is better than ever, and I watch more than ever before.  I’m just glad I can fast-forward past the commercials.

————-

Well, the soapbox is now put away. Below is the original subject of the post title–what I’m watching (not in any particular order of preference).

Fringe
My favorite new show.  What is really going on? Can’t wait to find out.

House
Hugh Laurie rocks. Will Cuddy cuddle House? Stay tuned.

Heros
Started smart, but the producers now must think it’s viewers IQ points have dropped suddenly. If viewers think the situations and choices are plain stupid not logical for the characters, I feel sorry for the actors (who are doing a great job) having to play them out. Hoping for better.

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
What was once thought dead has risen… badder and meaner than ever before! (the Terminator franchise, that is)

Dexter
What does it say about our society when one of its most popular television protagonists is a serial killer? Since I’m off my soapbox, I can’t say. But Dexter is one cool dude.

Battlestar Galactica

What’s not to like?  Maybe the fact that it disappears for almost a year at a time like a drunk on a very long lost weekend?  Yeah, that pisses me off, too.

Smallville
I’ve always been a comic book fan. And Superman has always held a special place in my heart.  I began watching Smallville in season one, enjoyed it, felt it was creative and engaging, and was looking forward to seeing how the show’s Superman mythology played out.  But then the Lana Lang/Clark Kent love-longing-unrequited-you-have-too-many-secrets-that-you-don’t-trust-me-with thing mutated the show into a cherry-flavored Robitussin cough syrup concoction from the seven hells of a soap opera Elseworld. I continue to watch it, hoping it will get better, hoping it will end.  This should be the last season.  While Tom Welling’s acting seems to have petrified a little (thank Rao for Chloe and Lois), the story-line interests me more than the last few seasons. Here’s to Doomsday!

The rest…
Chuck, The Closer, Bleach, Code Geass, Moributo and possibly a few more. Too many shows, too little time, one puny DVR.

Take care.

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2 Comments on "TV – What I’m Watching"

  1. jsin
    12/12/2008 at 9:26 am Permalink

    one of my fav movies…VIDEODROME!

  2. Nodin
    22/11/2014 at 9:35 pm Permalink

    Your post has moved the debate forwrad. Thanks for sharing!

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