As I have mentioned several times here, I am not a big fan of TV. The majority of sitcoms are boring to me, but that’s not always been the case. I enjoyed M*A*S*H, Cheers, Barney Miller, and even Big Bang. I thought Saturday Night Live was a great show, but it came on too late for me. I’ve never been a night owl. I’ve tried other shows, but usually after a season or two, I’m done with it. There are others I’ve enjoyed, such as Eureka and Warehouse 13, but they’re not on the basic channels; these two were on the old SciFi (now Syfy) channel, so their production values were better.
I will watch some sports, with the sound off since the majority of sportscasters are idiots. Seems they’re either wanna be players or wash outs usually.
But I do enjoy documentaries and science shows, even the “pop science” shows. Mythbusters is all time favorite of mine and my family.’s And this leads me to the major problem I have with American TV.
Narrators. Let’s use Mythbusters as an example (just one of many shows in this format). A TV show in America that is broadcast for one hour contains, usually, only 42 minutes of the actual show. The remaining 18 minutes are commercials spread out in breaks during the hour. Remember this point, I’ll be back to it in a bit.
In this format you’ll get about 20 minutes of the show before the first commercial break. When the show returns, the narrator will explain everything that has happened before the break. And this happens after every single damn break. Why? If you’ve been watching the show from the beginning, you know what’s going on. If you came in sometime after the show started, too damn bad. There’s this new invention called a DVR – learn how to use it. I’m so over “Before the break …”. What would be better would be to have all the commercials between each show and not interrupt the show itself. Hey – it works in Europe!
And that’s where I was going with the comment about multiple commercial breaks. But of course, American advertisers are greedy and hope that you’ll sit and watch their idiotic ads waiting for the show to begin. Again – DVR it and skip the damn ads!
Here’s another example. The Orville was one of the shows I enjoyed for the first season, then lost interest in the second season. One of the reasons I quit watching it was Fox (the network the show was on) went to what they called “limited commercial interruption”. It was anything but limited. As opposed to the usual 3 minute or so commercial break, they would have only 90 seconds or so, then right back to the show. What this created in my mind, was instead of maybe 6 commercial breaks, there would be about 10 breaks per hour episode. It was maddening. Just as the action heated up, BAM! some erectile dysfunction commercial would pop in.
I read that Seth McFarlane, the creator and star of The Orville, has moved the show to subscription streaming service Hulu to avoid that 42-minute limit to the show. I fully understand that reasoning and would love to support this endeavor, but I’m not paying for yet another service to watch a show I really don’t care for anymore.
Services I enjoy are CuriosityStream and The Great Courses. Yes, both are subscription, but to me they are worth it. My granddaughters love to watch the animal shows on CuriostiyStream, and I even saw granddaughter-the-elder watching a show about how babies are formed in the womb. This was about 2 months before her half-brother was born. Just the fact that at 9 years old (at the time) she had a safe place to watch something like this made the yearly fee well worthwhile.
The Great Courses are a little different in that they have lectures to watch. Some have only 2 or 3 lectures, others more than 20 on a single subject. I watched an amazing lecture series on King Arthur that granddaughter-the-elder wanted to watch with me. When she realized it was just someone talking about King Arthur, she lost interest. That was sad, but wow, what a series. I would love to keep watching lectures, but the cost is a bit prohibitive at this time. (See my post with the hole in my kitchen wall to understand).
So, where does this leave us? Well, I can’t say for you, but for me, this leaves me without any American television to watch. Currently, there are no sitcoms, dramas, or documentaries that hold my interest. And now that the women’s world cup football is over (that would be soccer for us Americans), there really are no sports to watch until the next olympics. So, I guess, I will return to my books and put in my earplugs while Wifey watches her shows, and bliss will continue.
So, I will leave you with this brief video of one of the TV shows I grew up with and still dearly love. The original Star Trek series. Fun Fact: during the episode “The Devil in the Dark”, we had 2 tvs die at the exact moment that Mr. Spock used his phaser on the Horta (the “devil in the dark”). I found it strange that 2 tvs would die at the same moment of the same episode years apart. But, hey, that’s tv, Baby!!