Choices, Choices: Filling My Own TV Viewing Schedule
Over the past week, Jonathan has offered a great overview of all the new programs being offered by the broadcast networks. But for me, their appeal on their own isn’t as important as whether I have room for them amidst the shows I’m still watching from last season. So I thought I’d offer a complement to Jonathan’s review of the new network menu by sharing the selections I’ll personally be making. I’d encourage you to post your own here too.
To begin, there are a couple things I should explain about my television watching habits.
First and foremost, I’m a committed viewer. To a fault. Once I start watching a show regularly, it’s very rare that I give it up–not matter how bad it gets. Sometimes, I’ll decide to keep recording shows and never watch them because I’m really not that interested (Jericho, Heroes). But there’s very few occasions where I’ve actually watched the pilot, come back for the second episode, and then given it up (Star Trek: Enterprise being a major exception so painful that I had to walk away). The only explanation I can offer is that I fear the show will improve once I leave. So I’m committed. Or should be.
Second, my “choices” may come off as a little too “either/or” in a world of TiVo, DVD, and iTunes. Yes, I do know that there is the technology to watch one show and record another to watch later–I even have some of it in my house! But my view is that I watch so much TV that I actually like sticking to the network schedule; once I start falling behind, I never catch up. That, and my current lack of HD-recording capacity locks me into what may seem a quaint reliance on television when the networks schedule it if I want to view in HD. It’s this lack of a singular viewing time that also makes me a terrible cable series viewer–I know that the cable networks will rerun their stuff later in the week, so I often miss it because I don’t have a specific appointment.
So with all that in mind, you can still call me old fashioned, but my schedule might make more sense.
7 PM (CST, of course. Those of you on the coasts can do the math, for once): Gotta stay with Prison Break here. And this isn’t just out of obligation as a viewer from day one–I’m actually looking forward to this show’s second reinvention starting tomorrow. If you want a shark jumped, this series will definitely do it, but with style. If you watch for tight plotting, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, but if you watch it for individual lines of dialogue, I think this show fares much better. Just about every line that comes out of T-Bag’s mouth is gold as far as I’m concerned.
8 PM: This is a tough one. I usually like to give every Fox show I can a try, and I’m genuinely interested in K-Ville, but I’ve got a dilemma yet to sort out. I couldn’t get through the Heroes pilot last year, and every bit I’ve seen since then has rubbed me the wrong way (especially Mohinder’s voiceovers). However, with the coming addition of Kristen Bell to the Heroes cast, I may just be able to convince myself that Heroes wasn’t so intolerable after all. But it’s made ever more complicated by the fact that I’ll have to bail on either for 24‘s return in January. This fundamentally contradicts my desire for commitment!
9PM: Nothing for me last year, nothing for me this year either. Sounds like time for Homicide on DVD.
7PM: Pretty slim pickings here too. I’ve always been theoretically interested in Bones, but it’s always conflicted with something else I watch, and the episodes I recorded just sat on the hard drive. I suppose I may jump on now, but I don’t like being behind, so I might just get some work done for a change.
8PM: Who’s going to get the coveted spot in my
heartschedule that once belonged to Kristen Bell? I like the episodes of House I’ve caught on cable, but I’d rather pick a new show than try to play catch up. Right now I’m leaning towards Reaper over Chuck. I usually like the Devil more than I like network executives’ ideas of geeky 20-somethings.
9PM: Returning to ABC once again for another season of Boston Legal. I’m a little concerned about the typical David E. Kelley decision to replace the entire supporting cast (especially the underused Rene Auberjonois, who at least sometimes provided a narrative obstacle for the amuck Spader and Shatner). Christian Clemenson promotion to series regular as Jerry “Hands” Espensen almost makes it worth it.
7PM: My desire to see something that actually looks potentially promising makes Pushing Daisies the obvious choice, but I predict that I won’t make it through the pilot. The controversy over Kid Nation does have its appeal, but I know I won’t get the Lord of the Flies series I really want. Maybe I should sit this spot out, especially given the very busy hour to follow:
8PM: This is the biggest conflict for me all week. My schedule is wide open, with no series from last year getting in the way, but the clear choice continues to elude me. While I have little love for Grey’s Anatomy, the spin-off status of Private Practice gives me academic interest in it, but the bad buzz surrounding the show doesn’t help me to take any personal pleasure in that. I’m most interested in Bionic Woman given it’s pedigree as a product of Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick, but without partner Ronald D. Moore, I’m skeptical that I’ll enjoy Bionic‘s reimagining in the same way. Then there’s Gossip Girl, with narration by Kristen Bell. I could listen to her read stereo instructions–and that might be enough for me to pass on Practice and Bionic.
9PM: Must keep this spot open for Lost. For two seasons now, Lost has been the prime example of a show that I didn’t really care for anymore but continued to watch out of commitment. Following last season’s truly excellent finale, it’s now the prime example of why I never give up once I start watching.
Here’s the big exception to my stick-to-the-network-schedule mindset. Drinks with friends trumps HD. So The Office must be recorded, though I’ll probably add 30 Rock this year after I stumbled across a scene in which Tina Fey threatens “I’ll cut you open like a Taun-taun.” More like that, please
There’s network TV on Friday? Seriously? Saturday too?
7PM: The Simpsons is another exception: a show I stopped watching midway. That happened long before my current viewing habits started to form, but I’m certainly not going to restart now. Despite not caring for film musicals, television musicals fascinate me, so I’ll probably try Viva Laughlin! I’ll be disappointed that it’s not Wolverine: The Musical, but since the show won’t last more than a handful of episodes anyways, I don’t think my commitment fetish will cost me much here.
8PM/9PM: A couple of years ago, my habit of watching 2-3 hours of Fox Sunday television gave way to none. The trend continues this year, and I’m left with another opening to self-program.
Now you know what I’ll be watching, so you can watch along with me or share your own plans. To me, this seems like a lot of network television (about 10 hrs a week), and this won’t be all I watch–I’ll still be watching my DVDs and any number of shows on cable inside and outside of primetime. But I think the big picture shows that even if I was interested in the new network shows (and clearly, there’s none I’m truly excited about), I’m stilling watching too much other TV to fit them in.No tag for this post.