Saturday, July 16, 2011

TV or Not TV, That Is the Question

(Sorry to rip off Hamlet's most famous line, but I can't resist corny puns.) 

Today's Topic: Television.

For years I spent little time on TV viewing. I was a Reader. I found most TV shows boring or inane -- to me it was indeed the boob tube.

In recent years, however, I've changed. I spend as much time watching TV as I do reading or online. I've discovered shows in syndicated reruns that I never viewed when they were in active production: Seinfeld, The Office, Boston Legal, Scrubs, NCIS, Criminal Minds. (Yes, I know NCIS and Criminal Minds are still in production, but they both have a long list of past seasons to rerun for my viewing pleasure.)

More than reruns, however, I've found new cable TV series that are thoroughly engrossing--well-written, with great production values and wonderful performances: Deadwood, Game of ThronesJustifiedThe Killing, RubiconTreme, True Blood, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire. These are all cable network productions, and at least half of them from HBO. I have a kind friend who not only subscribes to HBO, but also has a giant TV, so viewing these shows in her living room is a home version of a movie theater experience.

(Ah, with what scorn I used to look down on people who placed such importance on their televisions as to make them the centerpiece of their homes. Now I wish I had a giant TV. Shades of Fahrenheit 451? But no, I still read. I don't get all my information from TV. A lot of it comes from the Internet, and I still subscribe to my hometown newspaper.)

I digress. Anyway, I recommend the series I've mentioned above, all excellent entertainment, and some of them thought-provoking. And good for writers, too, because they're so well-written. You can sink into them purely for pleasure, or you can sit back and analyze them from an authorial point of view, to learn helpful do's and don'ts for the modern writer. (Because, frankly, nowadays readers like things that are written like movies or TV--lots of dialogue and action, low on expository passages and narrative.)

You can get any of them in DVD for past seasons. My Netflix queue grows longer every day.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I thought I'd like Justified but I never got around to seeing it. I did like The Walking Dead a lot and will watch the next season. I am enjoying Falling skies all right. I did buy a big screen TV, but it was for my video games rather than TV. Until football season I still won't be watching a lot