Friday, July 8, 2011

Television Habits

My wife often tells people she doesn't watch TV, which sounds all intellectual and such, giving one the impression she looks down on the medium. As it turns out, by this she means only that she doesn't watch broadcast or cable networks as they air their shows--like me, she sees everything via Netflix or other online sources. While this means waiting months for movies or program episodes to become available, this also has the advantage of (a) getting to see everything in immediate succession rather than waiting each week--an activity that I can't believe I put up with for decades--and (b) being able to avoid the mountains of crap that inhabit cable and broadcast networks. This means never having to encounter:

1) Nancy Grace

2) MSNBC talking heads (Olbermann, Maddow, O'Donnell)

3) Fox News talking heads (Beck, Hannity, Ingraham)

4) "According to Jim"

5) The laughably mis-named "Music Television" (MTV) channel

6) Political ads convincing me that everyone running for any office in this country is a stone cold communist or a hateful racist Nazi

7) "Sports" channels that feature three times as much programming dedicated to nerds and has-beens talking about sports compared to actual broadcasting of sporting events

And while most people still subscribe to cable channels and watch broadcast networks, the trend is definitely switching towards online content. TiVos, iTunes and various online delivery systems also are making the tradition of watching a show when a given channel decides to air it sort of obselete. What will this do to the traditional notion of "prime time" programming, or "new fall seasons" or "sweeps weeks"? I have a feeling that a decade or so from now those notions will be antiquated, and little kids--when they're not on my damn lawn!--will gather round to ask me what the old days were like, when you'd rush home to catch the season premiere of "The Simpsons" because if you missed it, you'd have to wait for it to be re-run several weeks later.

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