Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HIVES, the acronym

Dear Television:

I'm not really even someone who used to watch TV, but I will concede, nay, celebrate, the fact that this new "Golden Age" of television, which might have (I'm not TV historian) started with The Sopranos and 24, continued through The Wire and The Shield, peaked (apparently, I haven't started it yet) with Breaking Bad, and continues with too many shows to name, is really something special for anyone interested in quality (or even crappy) entertainment.

You guys have done great!  There is a lot of good stuff out there!

There's just one problem:  I can't keep up.

Too many shows on too many networks is beginning to drive me crazy.  I knew I had turned a serious corner last night when my wife asked me to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates with her (we have an MLB subscription--that's its own kind of TV show!) and I said this, "I can't, Honey.  Monday is my Catch Up Night."  What?

But it's true.  Since HBO unleashed the second season of True Detective, The Brink, and Ballers all at once, I've been trying to keep my eyes above water.  Add to that the highly-regarded Mr. Robot, which I can only catch on Xfinity for a limited amount of time, and I tell you, I am scrambling.

Put these shows off until the fall, when things are calmer, someone might suggest.  But I can't.  By the fall, how many more new shows will be out.  I know the next House Of Cards is out there somewhere, that Games Of Thrones and Veep will be back.  I watched and voted for a series called The Man In The High Castle on Amazon Prime that will be coming out soon.

Plus, I never got to Rectify after the first episode, got separated from Homeland after the first season, and have tried and failed to be one of The Americans on more than one occasion.  Something else shows up and I get distracted.  Orange Is The New Black has gotten ahead of me; I'll probably never actually go back to The Sopranos or Six Feet Under, since they feel like dinosaurs now.  Some Amazon original has already won Emmys, and I've never even clicked on it.

New episodes!  More original series!  Movie stars on TV!  Blogs about shows!  More networks!  More networks producing new episodes of original series starring movie stars that people are blogging about!

I have a solution.  And it kind of comes from Donald Trump.  Trump once suggested that you only need to know enough about a book to be able to talk about it at a cocktail party.  That was accomplished, I suppose, by reading the back cover and maybe the inside cover.  But who the heck is talking about books at cocktail parties these days??????  They're talking about TELEVISION!

So here's my solution.  I'm only going to watch the first episode of new shows as they come out.  Actually, accidentally, did that with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Saw it, kind of liked it, and then, before I could give it another thought, it disappeared from my radar.

Back to that solution.  I'm so scattered these days.  There's not much going on at work and I'm wondering if I can sneak off and watch Mr. Robot.  Anyway, only the first episode.  First episodes are like the opening songs on CDs.  They usually catchy, good, set a tone, all of that good stuff.

And if I've got that first episode down, I can go all kinds of different places with it at the cocktail parties in my future:  "You know, I watched the first episode, but I couldn't get into it."  "Yeah, great show.  I'm a little behind.  Whatever happened to...."  "Woah!  Spoiler alert!  Don't tell me."  "Yes, I've seen it, but I thought the previous season was better."  "I love the music on that show.  Isn't T-Bone Burnett choosing the songs?"  "The set-up for the season was so great, but the show really didn't fulfill its promise, imho."  "Have you noticed how much they drink on that show?  Anybody need another beer?"

With an expansive collection of first episodes under my belt, I'm good anywhere from the urologist's waiting room to the artist's wine and cheese reception at church.  I can talk to the world, smile at advertisements on the sides of buses, nod at conversations going on around me.

Otherwise, I'm going to end up in a psychiatrist's chair with "Hyper-Intensive Varietal Entertainment Syndrome," trying to convince the doctor of my idea for how to create 32-hour days.  Because I'm telling you, I can't keep up anymore.  But I'm trying.

Yours in programming,



Billy said...

I'm a little disappointed you didn't equate watching shows with "drinking from a fire hose." I look forward to the day I can stop feeling obligated to watch any half-decent shows through at least a complete season.

Bob said...


troutking said...

Or do what I do. Just talk about Seinfeld. At least one person in any group will be happy to talk about that.