My TV Update

A little over a year ago, I had my last update about the TV shows I was watching. Since then, “Dollhouse” has been canceled, and I haven’t been watching “Clone Wars” since perhaps half-way through the last season. So my weekly TV schedule has been reduced to “30 Rock,” which I admittedly haven’t been enjoying as much as past seasons. I have been watching both the new season and the first season with Julie, and the differences are striking. Most shows take some time to break in, and I remember “30 Rock” mentioning early on that they were hoping to catch people a few seasons in, like “Seinfeld.” It’s found its groove and is perhaps more character-driven by the main cast members, but it has lost the attention to the ensemble cast and throwaway gags.

You’ll find out how my movie watching has gone soon in my review of my New Year’s Hopes, but I have still been keeping up with other screen media. First, I have been watching “Arrested Development” for the past half-year and just finish season 2. The writing is excellent, taking running gags far beyond other sitcoms. Second, I occasionally watch the Day[9] Daily if I have a lot of downtime, though I have recently realized that in most cases, it’s better to play Starcraft 2 instead of just watching it. To spare my self-respect, we shall now move onto my next point.

Over this past quarter, I have been vaguely interested in getting into a new TV show. My former roommate RJ suggested a few shows, though I never pursued any of them since I didn’t quite feel the hook I hoped for. When I heard that “Glee” was doing a Rocky Horror episode, I decided to give that a chance and join the rest of the Gleeks in my draw group. As they often do, Ben and George pinned me, and I was as indifferent as they expected. The singing in “Glee” is great, but the plot itself felt shallow. A follow-up effort on the next episode where Kurt gets bullied made me feel that the writers were trying too hard to be relevant.

Ben made the observation that although most people see TV more as an escape and downtime, I see TV as a time investment, which I tentatively accept. I can’t think of any shows I consider guilty pleasures, and I do want to get something out of a show. A show doesn’t necessarily need to have meaning; my preferences tend toward light-hearted shows than intense dramas. I am willing to toss TV shows if I don’t get anything out of it. Reviewing past TV shows I watch on-air:

  • “Star Trek: Enterprise”: I watched the first 2 seasons fairly regularly but fell off for the last 2 seasons. I wanted to watch Star Trek, but it was pretty bad all the way through. In fact, I probably watched too much of it
  • “Family Guy”: I caught the second wave and watched season 4 and probably part of 5. Although I thought the earlier episodes were fairly clever (and went so far as to write a final paper about it), this show also got bad as they relied more on shock and less on the parody and references that I liked in the earlier episodes
  • “House”: I watched the first 2 seasons and probably part of the 3rd as well but had definitely fallen off before the new staff. The show got repetitive
  • “30 Rock”: Still watching
  • “Dollhouse”: That show was great. Unfortunately, it only ran for 2 seasons. Sad times
  • “Clone Wars”: I really enjoyed watching this show for its action and pacing. George Lucas talks a lot about old serials, and that’s clearly the setup for this show as well. I stopped watching when I realized my life wasn’t really any better for watching it, I think

Starting in 3rd grade was the dark ages that led to the huge gap in TV watching. After a trip to visit my cousins who apparently read instead of watching TV, my dad insisted that we were no longer allowed to watch TV except with special permission. Idle TV watching was tossed for the next few years except on vacation, where TV in the hotel room was something very special to my sisters and me. The deliberate effort we needed to put in to watch TV is likely a big factor in how I watch TV today. I probably didn’t miss too much anyways.

Just this afternoon, I felt the call of idle procrastination and went over to Hulu to see what was good. One episode of “Community” confirmed my previously unsubstantiated snub of the show, though I ended up getting caught by “Modern Family” and watched all 5 episodes available. Although the show name and characters suggest a more progressive setting, It uses a very traditional sitcom format and has an “Everyone Loves Raymond” feel. The jokes aren’t laugh-out-loud funny, but I also didn’t do much eye-rolling. I probably won’t watch it regularly, but I wouldn’t mind watching it if I get in an idle procrastination mood.

One reply on “My TV Update”

@warstrekkid I come from a generation of mass media, when television (and movies, radio and newspapers) were all shared experiences. We might not have viewed the content as a group, but general knowledge was more common across a larger group of people. As an example, if someone doesn’t know that SNL is a contraction for Saturday Night Live, that’s an indicator of previously shared knowledge that is now fragmented.

In many respects, digital technologies have impoverished the opportunities for common cultural background. I was setting up the phonograph (record player) for Ryan the other night, and was describing how listening to vinyl records on a great stereo used to be an event that could be shared with friends. Today, there isn’t an appreciation for listening to an album as a complete work, and people listen to both(a) hot single cuts, (b) obscure personal preferences out on the long tail of music distribution.

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