Admittedly I am not a fan of commercial television and there are many current shows I have never viewed. Media is a product of our culture; it demonstrates to us how we see ourselves, and I’d rather not see such garbage. Truly a lowest common denominator proposition. Quite frankly, as a society we are liars, portraying ourselves differently than genuineness would depict, even in the so-called “reality” shows.
I don’t want to see fake people pretending to be real for the cameras, nor do I want to witness footage of anyone eating bugs or cooking rats, or wretchedly performing the craft that tends to pass for acting these days. Two particularly poor craftsman — January Jones in Mad Men, a show which I have enjoyed but lost interest in, and Angie Harmon in Rizzoli and Isles, something I made the mistake of watching in the wee hours when I couldn’t sleep (I’d have done better turning on an infomercial). I’ve never seen Dancing with The Stars, 30 Rock, True Blood, Bachelor, and the CIS show, or whatever it is with the initials that sleuths via dead people. When it was announced that there were new judges on American Idol, I couldn’t have named the old ones; I truly did not know. And the funniest thing, for a very long time I thought Torchwood was the same as Deadwood.
My viewing is sporadic, usually online, and generally playing at my own pace through lunches in my office or the aforementioned fits of insomnia. It really doesn’t help the come-lately watchers out there that Netflix has made a habit of dumping the smaller and independent stuff in lieu of big-budget and run-of-the-mill programming, but I’ll save that beef for another day. Ok, one more thing, I did see the 1980’s TV comedy Night Court classified in their ‘Courtroom Drama’ section. This makes me believe the particular librarian is too young to have seen the show and further solidifies the notion that most people in most jobs have very few skills or interest in actually doing them well — which is yet another rant for some other day.
Give me something with an historic value or a character with whom I can connect, and I will give it a chance. I don’t want to simply be entertained. I want to learning something and perhaps be challenged. Old favorites include The Black Donnellys; Freaks ‘N Geeks; Dead Like Me; Dirty, Sexy Money — all quality, short-lived series.
All that said, there are few series worth a mention out there currently.
The Killing (AMC…or other): Interesting characters, unique storyline view and liveable pace. Too bad it was canceled from the network, I sincerely hope it is picked up elsewhere.
Homeland (Showtime): A show that doesn’t pander to viewers or prejudice, intelligent in all aspects of the word.
Breaking Bad (AMC): Something I was certain to dislike. Appreciate the attention to detail and the richness of plot.
Shameless (Showtime): Far-out show with empathetic and thoughtful character development.
I’m also a newish fan of Hell on Wheels (AMC). This is somewhat akin to historic accuracy, and characters interwoven and surprising. Not sure that the setting is conducive to a long run. Interestingly, I attempted a viewing of Copper (BBC) this morning, which is a recipe for all things me — period piece, Irish characters, and New York — surprisingly, I was not impressed. The lines seemed all-too modern and I felt manipulated into sympathizing as plot line revealed and dictated.
And to think I originally started the blog to discuss books. What are you watching?