Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Must I see must-see TV?

Whenever some must-see TV series comes along, I am again reminded of the merciful genius that is the six-episode U.K. series. You can get through the complete run of Black Adder, including the Christmas special, in about three nights, but some of these shows go on for about twenty-four one-hour episodes a season – my god, who needs that much low-yield entertainment?

I don't have cable, so anything I watch has to be in gluttonous, "complete season" marathons either on DVD or acquired through.... other means. This means that the shows just keep piling up, the total running times stretching beyond the horizon and coming into conflict with all the music I haven't listened to, all the movies I haven't seen, and especially all the books I have every intention of reading.

For someone with about eight minutes of unscheduled time per day, this presents a problem.

For example, I am only now giving in to the chorus of voices assuring me that The Wire is the best show since, what, Dexter? Battlestar Gallactica? The Sopranos? Six Feet Under? (All shows I never really got around to, either.) I've got the first season all ready to go – fuck's sake, there's four more! – and I swear I will get it under my belt soon enough. (I swear to god, if it turns out to be crap...)

In the meantime, I've been introducing my son to the classicist-yet-campy pleasures of Star Trek: The New Generation. I'm only able to survive that seemingly endless journey by poking around online episode guides so as to avoid altogether those black-mark episodes where, say, Data learns about humour from Joe Piscipo.


Panic said...

For me, a really good TV show is like a good novel, and I'm not happy when it's over. I just want to stay with the characters for a while longer. Just a little while! C'mon! One more episode? You mention Six Feet Under, a show I only watched on DVD. Thank god; the wait from week to week would have killed me! I would watch four or five episodes in a row, till I would finally fall asleep against my will (and be late for work the next day, natch). Good stuff.

For the Brits, you're right that the six-episode season makes for more quality episodes, but I need more IT Crowd. STAT!
(Saw the 1st season, waited excitedly for the 2nd, watched it in two days, then I was out of episodes again. Durrr.)

Daniel said...

I'm with you on all you've said, N. This Christmas, though, Dennis, who typesets most of our books, gave us the first season of Deadwood. I wasn't interested, but we put it on on Friday evening just the same. Sunday evening we'd been through the whole damn season. All I could think was, thank god there's only two more, that the show's been cancelled, or I might not get to work in January.

So add Deadwood to your list...

Ognir Rrats said...

I've seen all those shows. They PALE utterly in comparison to Deadwood. The writing, especially in season 3, is astounding and in no way "low yield". In my opinion, Deadwood is the best TV since the original Office. Fuck that, I think it is the best TV I've ever seen. (The American Office is virtually unwatchable. It is so sad to see Steve Carell hollow himself out just a bit more each week. He's the next Steve Martin.)

Ognir Rrats said...

Oh, and Saxondale is a hoot -- now there's some great low-yield entertainment.

John said...

This might help, Nathan:


Ross said...

Ah, TV sucks, man. Really. Some of those advertisements they put in there are pretty darn funny, though. Guess y'all miss those when you get yer DVD packages... .