The television flatline

More and more, my interest in the standard fare on television has been waning. With the beginning of this season, I think it finally flat-lined. There were always some shows that I enjoyed watching and that I looked forward to. The number of those shows have been steadily going down. I used to love The Office, but I am a few seasons behind on it now, and there is just nothing compelling that makes me want to catch up. Smallville was probably the last show I really made an effort to see.

Shows on premiums channels like HBO and Showtime always seemed of higher quality in my book. But even these shows have finally waned on me. I thought Boardwalk Empire was terrific in its first season last year, but had no interest in watching it this season. Dexter on Showtime has been getting better with each passing season. I watched this year’s season premier with mixed emotions, but have not watched it since.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are good shows on TV, but I think that my priorities in life have been changing, and in the competition for an ever dwindling supply of time, television is the loser–as it should be. It’s a viscous cycle: I can’t spare the time to watch the shows, and by not watching them I lose interest in watching them. For the first time in a long time, I can’t think of a single show on television, premium or network, that I would be willing to give up my time doing other things to watch–even recorded on DVR.

I am fine with this, and there may come a day when things cycle back around. But television has, to some extent, moved beyond me. Series, especially, have morphed into serials, where you have to have seen all previous episodes to understand the full complications of the current one. It wasn’t always like that. I enjoyed shows like Magnum, P.I. and Diagnosis Murder in part because you could commit to an episode as opposed to an entire season.

So if you ask me if I’ve seen the latest episode of such-and-such, don’t at all be surprised when I tell you no. It’s not that I don’t like TV. But time is precious and the currency of time, they’ve priced themselves out of my market.


  1. Time is the fire in which we burn.

    And indeed, for those who have limited time, television that relies on regular viewing is going to suffer…unless you can watch episodes on demand, or in a box set of DVDs…or on TIVO. But even then, it requires a “buy-in”.

    1. For some reason, I know that quote was spoken by Malcolm McDowell’s character in Star Trek: Generations–which is odd because it has been a long time since I last watched that movie. But I can hear him say it nonetheless.

  2. You know there is a show that Norm and I are enjoying that we wondered if you would be into. It’s called Person of Interest and for the most part it is a stand alone. Some of the tech used and built seems a bit sci-fi-ish.

    1. Vicky, I will now specifically avoid watching Person of Interest because you and Norm have a tendency of recommending shows that I end up liking, and I simply can’t afford the time anymore. 😉

  3. I flatlined years ago. On the flip side, there is nothing quite so disappointing as just wanting to collapse in front of the tv for an hour or two, perhaps for the first time in months and find nothing in 900 channels on, not even recorded on the DVR.


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