Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Good TV has made me picky!


You know how back in the day, there'd be like one show you just loved each season, and how that show would sometimes be the same one you watched every year? And how all other TV was like "eh, I can take it or leave it"? And how if you have two or three shows that you just adored, you'd count yourself as stunningly lucky? And how the rest of the TV shows weren't that great and you knew it and so you didn't expect all that much from them, and were therefore forgiving when they weren't good?

Yeah, I don't think we're in that world anymore.

We're in a golden age for really well-made shows, not just well-written or well-acted, but also really beautifully produced and with amazing music and with fantastic wardrobes and amazing plots, and everything about them is just good. And even better than that, lots of them are geeky--they're about heroes or brilliant crimesolvers, about historical events or time travel, about life in a post apocalypse or about zombies or about hackers or about any number of wonderful, speculative-fiction-style things that never would have been made before the last few years.

And it's amazing.

And it's made me picky.

See, TV networks seem to think that Monday night is the only night you're allowed to put shows on, so every week we're forced to make that judgement call--which one is better? Which one needs the ratings more to survive? Which one is okay to wait on for the DVR, for Hulu, for Netflix in six months?

And then, after that, there's the actual pickiness of watching them. Is it fulfilling it's potential? Is it holding up to the promise of those first few episodes? Is it maintaining the same level of writing--and is it at least as good as all the other good shows we already watch?

I'm much less forgiving than I was before. I good show that stumbles feels like it's done a much worse thing than a middling show that stumbles the same amount. A smart show that does one dumb thing, or a progressive show that has one plot point that's disappointingly typical, feels like it's damaged itself more than a dumb show that does the same things. And when a show just goes right off the rails, there's less incentive to see if it can find itself again, because hey, there's all these other good shows around, isn't there?

That being said, I haven't given up on shows. I haven't given up on TV. I've just gotten more critical and more likely to talk about it as I've gotten more involved with it. Being picky about TV hasn't damaged my enjoyment--quite the opposite, because it's made it so that I don't have to watch stuff I don't like just because it's on, like back when there was only one or two really good shows on TV and dull boringness the rest of the week. No, it's made it so that basically all I watch are shows I love, and that's a much more engaged and active sort of viewing.

Good TV has raised the bar--for all the rest of TV, but also for itself.

What do you guys think?

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