Friday, March 04, 2011

A Distinct Lack of Favorites

I made some good progress yesterday, in spite of playing hooky during the day. It was just such a gorgeous afternoon that I felt entirely justified in spending part of it taking a walk, especially since the walk involved going to the post office and bank and then dropping by the Indian market for some tea. And, yeah, I did take the scenic route home, but I don't think it's that much longer than the direct route would have been. I came home energized and managed to write quite a bit. I only stopped because it was very late and I needed a research detail to go further. I should get a lot of work done tonight -- and, yeah, it will have to be tonight because I have plans for the day. There have been a few errands I've been putting off for a while, plus, I think I'm going to buy the new computer, at last. I can spend the weekend getting it set up.

I've come to a sad realization lately -- I don't currently have a "favorite" TV show. I'm a TV person when it comes to visual entertainment because a long-running TV series is, to me, far more like a novel (my primary form of entertainment) than movies are. Movies are like visual short stories. I watch a fair amount of TV, though less than I used to, but when I'm "watching" TV, it's usually not my sole focus. I'll also be reading, doing crossword puzzles, writing blog entries, doing other writing, brainstorming plots, doing housework, exercising, etc. But there's usually at least one show that's my "favorite." That's the one I consider "appointment" TV, where I prefer to be home to watch it in real time as it airs because I don't want to wait to see it or risk not seeing it. I don't do other stuff while it's on. I look forward to it coming on. I may even get really crazy and plan meals and snacks or do something to create the right viewing atmosphere. When I was at the height of my X-Files obsession, I used to have the countdown perfectly timed so that I could have some kind of drink and snack ready, the lights down and a few candles lit (for atmosphere) and the TV and VCR ready to go (I taped episodes as I watched for repeat viewing and for discussion fodder). And then after the show, I'm eager to get online and discuss it with people. I may find myself daydreaming new stories for the series that often serve as fodder for my own story ideas. If I like a plot or character type from a series, it might be something fun to incorporate it into my own writing, and if I play with the idea in someone else's universe, it doesn't alter the way I see my own characters until I've decided how it will work.

But while there are a number of shows I like at the moment and I still do a fair amount of online discussion, there isn't anything like a "favorite." There's nothing I would want to schedule around, nothing that makes me not want to do anything else when I'm watching, nothing that I eagerly anticipate. Some of that may have to do with the advent of OnDemand -- when you don't have to worry about missing something, you're less anxious about watching it right then. I may be growing up. But mostly, I think I'm just in a lull.

When Doctor Who returns, that comes close to this kind of thing, but as I don't get the channel that shows it, it's not something I generally watch in real time. I either get it OnDemand (if they haven't messed up and only posted the HD version or skipped it entirely, as my cable company has been known to do) or through the kindness of friends -- or else it's something watched in a group environment. That means there's no sense of "ooh, it's Saturday, and Doctor Who starts at eight!" Doctor Who starts when someone pushes "play."

I do kind of like the UK version of Law and Order, but only the cop portion. I can tolerate the lawyer portion because lawyers are okay when they wear funny wigs, but it still gives me jury duty flashbacks. I love the two cops, though, and their relationship is one of the best on television because they've sort of got this father/son thing going on, except they frequently switch roles, so that the young one will be parenting his older partner (especially about his eating habits). I'd totally watch the Brooks and Devlin show, whether it was a crime show or a Barney Miller-style sitcom of them just hanging around the station house and making wisecracks at each other (who knew Jamie Bamber was this funny, after his string of tragic costume dramas and then Battlestar Galactica?). But still, that's another thing I only get OnDemand, so I see it when I hit "play," and since I lose interest once the cops have done their job, I definitely do other stuff while watching most of each episode.

Some of the things that I used to enjoy have gone downhill in quality, so I'm either not watching at all or they've been relegated to background noise or delayed viewing. I tried going back to House a couple of weeks ago but no longer recognize the show, and I'm three weeks behind on NCIS: LA. For a few weeks, there was Downton Abbey on PBS, which held a temporary Favorite Show position, but now it will be a year before we get new episodes of that.

On the upside, there is a new Phineas and Ferb on tonight. That one, I don't read through because it's too easy to miss the visual gags. But I'll be taping it so I can fast forward through the horrendous Disney Channel promos for the rest of their truly vile series.

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