I don’t watch a lot of television, save for hockey, news, and Smallville. I guess I am “an Internet child” and that’s definitely where most of my time is spent. I think there’s more to it than that, however. Almost all of the new TV shows being produced require a lot of effort from the viewer. More effort than I am willing to put in.
If Jack Bauer has to catch a shark with his bare hands and speed-dry the fin so he can make a soup to restore the President’s sexual potency, I’ll be watching. If Jack Bauer is caught in the path of a fiercely-lit green energy beam made of fuckton particles in a suspended gobbledygook matrix and inadvertently is wearing a shark’s tooth necklace and become half-human, half tiger shark – I’ll be watching.
I’ve never seen an entire episode of 24, so I don’t know what the fuss is all about. I just don’t get it. And therein lies the problem. There’s no way I am going to start watching 24 now – it’s too far along. I’d be an outsider, a poser almost. I would have to go back to the very beginning and watch every episode just to catch up. And that’s just too much work.
And existing fans of the show? They can’t miss an episode, no sir. They have to record it for later if they absolutely cannot be sitting down when the new episode airs. Heaven forbid they miss one. They’d be behind, lost. Can’t have that – so they put in the effort.
There’s some old shows that are guilty, like 24, but it’s the new ones that are the worst. Just look at some of the newest shows – most pretty much require that you started watching from the beginning to really understand what’s going on. Heroes? Yup. Prison Break? Yup. Friday Night Lights? Yup. Studio 60? Yup. Ugly Betty? Yup. Jericho? Yup.
I am not sure if this trend is good or bad for television. On the one hand, networks might be limiting a show’s audience by setting the barrier of entry so high. On the other hand, these kinds of shows probably sell a lot better on DVD.
Either way, I kinda miss the old shows. The shows that didn’t require a lot of effort, nor an introduction. You could just start watching any episode and you just got it. There are notable exceptions in the current most popular shows, like CSI or Law & Order or American Idol, but for the most part, I think the new shows require too much effort.
In a way, I look forward to the day these shows are cancelled so I can just get all the DVDs.