Thursday, September 25, 2014

Premier Week is NOW!


As of this moment (me typing, not you reading), a new television season is getting ready to premier for most of the major networks. I typically don’t care about that sort of thing. But now I do. I’ve had a bit of a shift in my life over the past year or two. Nothing too major, but my life now has more television in it than it used to.

See, my wife has an incredibly stressful job. It’s a really long story, and not a very interesting one, except to us I suppose. But she really, really gets overwhelmed by her work. So, she spends what few free moments she has trying desperately to unwind. Typically by getting swept away in a television show or movie.

Now, I like TV just as much as the next person, I mean, we have 6 of them. You can’t really hate them if you own that many. We have one in the living room, the bedroom, her office, my office, and both of the remaining kids rooms (I say remaining because they’re getting older, they all don’t live at home anymore).

They’re all big and glorious in their HDness and all that. I’m just telling you that in full disclosure. I’m not a hater of TV. But I am a guy that prefers to read for the most part. As much as I love Star Trek, it doesn’t compare to a great novel. Books are just where my heart is.

But the missus wants to enjoy things with me, not separately. So I have, quite reluctantly, this year, been reading less of the books and watching more of the television. It’s our time to spend together and enjoy something. And it’s been here that I made a startling discovery.

Television is awesome.

And I’m speaking specifically as a concept I thought I invented,* but it turns out I didn’t, so damn. But it’s still interesting, and that is: A show as a novel.

So the missus was actively looking for a show to watch, something to geek out over as a respite from her day job, and I told her we should totally watch this show on HBO called True Detective. It’s a buddy cop show starring Matthew McConnaughey and Woody Harrelson.
This is like me trying to explain True Detective


So we watched. That show affected me in a way that I’m not sure a show really has, ever. It was a novel, broken down into 10 parts, it was slow, deliberate, and reeked of mood. The characters had arcs and the overall plot was tight and there were relatively few digressions.

It blew my mind. This wasn’t a serialized show, like Dallas or Falcon Crest (um, those two came to mind, I’m sure there have been more recent ones), this was a series that had a clear beginning, middle and end, all in a single season of television.

I didn’t know they could do that on TV.**

Then later, after that was gone and I’d spent a few months screaming at everyone I knew to go watch that show, we started on Breaking Bad.


And again, I couldn’t believe it. This was as enjoyable to me as 95% of the novels I’d read. It didn’t have the spec fic elements I’d need to put it at the very top of all time entertainment, but it was close. And I know it had a pretty deep connection with me, because once we were watching the show, I had a hard time reading after that. A book series that I’d started out thinking was pretty good became a chore to read. It was good, until I found something infinitely better. Going back to what I had before didn’t seem so palatable anymore.

Breaking Bad wasn’t as tight of a narrative as True Detective, but it was better, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I’m a guy that has been standing alone, screaming into the night that the masses are morons for wasting their lives watching TV when they can have the most amazing worlds on the pages of a book.

Now, I’m not exactly taking it all back - but I’ve shut up. Some of those scripted television shows are stunning. As good as a great novel.

What does that mean for me? Well, like I said, it’s premier week for the major broadcast networks. As of this writing, nothing has been shown yet, but the missus is a huge fan of the Agents of Shield show (which was, in my opinion, pretty awful for 3/4ths of its first season), and I’m pretty excited to just try some stuff out and see how it goes. Hopefully something great will emerge.


*This should totally be a subject of a post in the future, I have probably around two dozen great ideas, revolutionary ones, the ones that could start a whole branch of philosophy to explore their genius in greater detail.  But all of them, and I do mean all of them, have already been thought of, and explored ad nauseam, since well before I was born. Some of them going back thousands of years.

Stupid people, stealing all my ideas before I had a chance to think them. Every damn time I think I have something new to offer the world, EVERY. TIME. I find out in crushing fashion that I wasn’t the first. Or the most thorough, thinker.   

**Turns out, they couldn’t. It wasn’t TV, it was HBO.

13 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Welcome to the revolution.
There is smart television out there, such as the two shows you mentioned. (Try House of Cards if you haven't yet.)
I've seen the pilots for several of the new shows and nothing has really grabbed me yet. (Gotham was a little better than I expected, but still bummed I get a Batman series without Batman.)
Crap, we only have four televisions and one isn't even a big screen. I feel so inadequate...

DAVID WALSTON said...

My DVR is ready. I have deleted all the shows that were on it for last year to make room for this new season. So far Gotham and Agents of Shield have been nice. Of course Doctor Who is a must in my house, like you didn't know that already!
I have one HDTV in the living room, the other one in the bedroom is good old fashioned SD. I might be a little cheep.

Pat Dilloway said...

I guess a lot of people are up in arms about casting Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn for season 2 of True Detective. Which I understand as Vince Vaughn sucks pretty hard.

Andrew Leon said...

I have the Detective thing on my list to watch.
Breaking Bad was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. A clear example of the writers breaking their own rules to fabricate tension. I would have stopped after the first episode, but my wife wanted to go one; however, even she wasn't willing to watch a second season.

You should try Justified. That's quite probably the best show ever on TV.

Andrew Leon said...

bah the stupid clicky box

Sheena-kay Graham said...

If I wasn't all the way over in Jamaica I would love to do an Agents of Shield television party with your wife. That show is great. But I do know some people wish it were better. Scripted shows are where it's at. There are two televisions at home and I sadly have to compete with my dad sometimes. He's into comedies and reruns. He hates watching new shows. Luckily last year he got into The Blacklist and we have something fresh and great to watch together on Monday Nights. Glad you and your wife found something fun to do together. I only watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad but I agree that the show is one of the best things on television.

Tonja said...


About a year ago, I bought my husband the entire collection of Battlestar Gallactica. I started watching it and lost an entire month of my life. Warning - the final episode is a let down.

The original episodes of Madmen were really good. I've heard Homeland is brilliant, but I haven't seen it yet.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Agents of Shield needed a lot of improvement, but I think it found itself in the end. This will be a great year on TV!

Jo said...

I don't watch TV because I don't like ads. I will watch Public TV because they put their ads at either end of their shows although then they start pleading for money several times a year. But basically I can't stand the amount of inane ads which are shovelled into most of the TV programmes. We only have one TV and we do mute the sound for the ads if there is anything I do watch, like Jeopardy.

Heather Holden said...

I adore TV. I've been watching it less and less over the years, though. Not because it's become any less awesome to me, but because I just don't seem to have the time for it anymore. (Doesn't help that most everything I watch gets cancelled prematurely, haha.) Hope you enjoy the new TV season!

dolorah said...

I'm not a huge fan of TV either, but I have discovered a few shows - this two top that list- that make me put down everything and concentrate on the episodes. I've just started getting into NetFlix to watch whole seasons at a sitting so that I can concentrate on other things like reading, and playing games :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I was tellin' you to watch "Breaking Bad" for so long on my blog. Anyway, if you ever need some television recommendations, I have them. Watch Arrow. It's really good. And of course the Flash starts up next week. Mmhmm

Jay Noel said...

Ha. I still have not watched one iota of "Breaking Bad." I'm terrible, I know. I just don't have the time to watch TV at all!