Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A New Day Dawns

If you are a long-time, or even a somewhat regular reader of this blog, you may have picked up on the fact that I like movies a lot. You may wonder then about the curious absence of talk about television since most people in general watch television, and people like me who love filmed entertainment, usually (but not always) like to watch television.

Well, I have broken down and joined the rest of the world in watching television regularly.

I've always had a problem with television, and so never watched very much. My problem is three-fold.

Point one:

I don't like to pick up in the middle of a show. If I haven’t been watching since season one, episode one then I don't want to start until I've seen all of the other episodes. Characters in both movies and television shows make decisions based on who they are, and who they are is determined by the experiences of their pasts. If I haven't seen that past, then how can I understand the character? The answer is I can't (or I can, but I don't want to,) so I avoided it.

Point two:

I refuse to rearrange my life around the schedule the network executives so choose. I've always known that if I were to allow myself to get into a particular show, I would want to be sure to watch every week, but upon doing so I would be sacrificing that weekly time-slot of my life. I don't want the added restraint of needing to be home every Thursday at 7:00 pm. I knew that the only thing to come from that would be conflict, so I avoided it.

Point Three:

I do not like the fact that when I watch television, I am a target market. I hate commercials. Hate them. I'm using the word hate here about commercials (major points if you can tell me the movie quote I just paraphrased there.) When I sit down to watch TV though, commercials cannot be avoided, so I avoided it.

The solutions to all of my problems have been presented in recent years though. With the growing popularity of TV on DVD, I can easily go back and watch all of that character back-story at my own discretion and leisure. I can catch up on DVD and then watch the show on TV at its regularly scheduled time.

But that doesn’t solve my other two problems, rearranging my life and becoming a target market for advertisers.

I recently signed up for Cox Communications DVR service, which is essentially the same thing as TIVO, which most of you may be familiar with. This service allows me to program the DVR to record any show, any time and I can watch it at a later date of my choosing. That solves the problem of rearranging my life around scheduled shows that I want to see.

The DVR also allows the user to fast forward, rewind and pause, just like a VCR would. This solves the problem I have with ads. I fast forward through them. I never have to watch TV advertisements again. It’s great.

So, now that I have the power to control and manipulate TV to my will, what shows have I decided to start watching? So far these are the ones I record weekly (or daily in some cases) and watch whenever I can:

1) Joey (I was a big Friends fan and I continue to watch this spin-off even though it isn’t very good)

2) ER (This is one that Lindsey and I can really get into together, since she’s a nurse and all and I’m clueless so she can explain everything to me as the show goes on…the pause feature comes in handy here)

3) The Apprentice (This is the only reality show I have ever watched. Season Three completely sucks the big one right now, but Season One was great and Season Two was mediocre.)

4) Unscripted (HBO original series created by George Clooney…its ok)

5) Entourage (Another HBO original that is actually a lot better than I expected it to be.)

6) Scrubs (I still haven’t seen any of the previous seasons, so I don’t go out of my way to watch this one, and I probably will not until the Season One DVD is released in May.)

7) Ed (This is another show that is not in fact on DVD yet. As a matter of fact the show has been off the air for at least two years now. But TBS is airing re-runs beginning with season one every day at 11:00, and it is one of the best shows I've ever seen. I wish I hadn't missed it when it was new, and I cannot wait for the eventual release on DVD.)