Monday, October 20, 2008

A Vast, Serialized Wasteland

I pretty much grew up in front of the TV. It's gotten me absolutely nowhere, but I maintain an unhealthy amount of knowledge about shows that I used to watch between the years 1974 and 1984. Name the show, and I could tell you the day, time and channel it was on. I can name cast members, I can tell you cast changes, I can sing theme songs (poorly). Why my mind has chosen to hang onto this knowledge instead of, you know, how to change a tire, I'll never know. TV used to be one of life's joys.

I say "used to be" because almost every show on the prime time schedule has been serialized. There's no more discovering a show in mid-season. You better be there from the start or you may as well not even bother. Pumpkin is watching the show "Chuck" right now. It's a cute show, and she's watched it from Episode One. Good thing, too, because one show bleeds right into the next. I have not watched the show but for a few minutes here and there, so I can't get into it. I'd say there are more shows like "Chuck" now than ever. The days of 1) Conflict, followed by 2) Resolution-type shows are done. Instead of cliffhangers at the end of a season, we now get them every week, and it's exhausting.

The only new show I'm watching this year (ok, it's the second season) is "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles". It's pretty much the same every episode. Robots from the future come to kill a young John Connor because John is the leader of the future resistance that beats the robots back. How can you go wrong? Yet, I don't know why I watch this show. There's no conflict/resolution. There's just conflict, and more conflict. An end can't possibly be reached. Still, it's fun to watch stuff blow up, so I'm there.

I'm not going to go on a crusty old guy rant about how TV used to be better. I really don't think that's the case. In fact, some of the shows on now are as good as anything TV can produce. I just don't have the time to follow a storyline week after week. Imagine reading a book, but you only get to read a chapter every week. Each week, you get a new chapter. You're never told how long the book will go, or even if you will suddenly stop getting subsequent chapters. Would you read it? Of course not, you're not a dope, right? Still, TV sucks us in. Why do we watch? I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it's simply because my recliner is so damn comfortable.

Sorry I wasted your time. At least this topic is one and done.

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