Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Love Television

   Hello. I feel like I should apologize because I feel I haven't been blogging as much as I should be, or would like to be. I have a few things in the works for this blog but unfortunately none of them are ready yet. So today I decided to blog about something I don't ever really blog about: Television.
   I blog about books and movies and music a lot on here but I never talk about TV, and one of the main reasons is that I don't watch much TV...on TV.
   Now, I have read some essays about why television is terrible and I have had some pompous profs (and friends) who scoff and say " I don't watch television." but I actually really like television. And I think it means something different to me than it does to those snobby people.
   Most people in my generation don't watch television shows on TV. We watch them on Netflix, on DVDs, we torrent them, we stream them. If we do watch them on TV, it's recorded, we watch them at our convenience, and skip the commercials.
     The weird thing about this is that when my friends and I name our favourite shows, they aren't really shows that are on air. They are usually shows that have been cancelled, or geeky anime shows that we couldn't even watch without the internet. It's a weird phenomemon, and something unique to people our age I think.
    Because of this, television (which is the word I'm going to use when I talk about shows/series, even if I don't actually mean television) has become a social experience. At least for me. Even if I watch shows by myself I usually borrow the DVDs from friends, or torrent them off the internet from files other people are sharing. For me (and probably most people my age) television also has a big nostalgia factor. When I was young I watched a lot of TV. Probably way too much of it, but that's how it was when I was a kid. Even though I loved to read, I played piano, I played sports (laughable, I know) and was involved in clubs and things, most of my free time was spent watching TV. It's just what we did. Even when I was in high school I would still watch TV after school, and I still had my "weekly shows" that I would watch regularly. My family didn't have one of those digital boxes where you can record TV up until like..this year. And I graduated high school only 4 years ago and most people didn't have those then, so if you wanted to watch something, you had to actually watch it.
     It's only been since I've been in university that I've started to watch TV in other forms, and how I feel about television has kind of changed. When you watch a series all the way through, you get attached to the characters, to the storylines. For me, it's the closest thing to a book that I can see on a screen. Because over time you watch the characters develop and see them in different situations. Movies can't do that. Reality TV can't do that. Only things that create fictional worlds and people to occupy them can do that.
On top of this, television isn't a passive activity anymore. Whether or not you watch with other people, or talk about it with your friends or online, what shows you like say something about you. Like anything else - your taste in music, movies, books, etc. your taste in TV shows says something about you and when you find someone who likes the same show you like, it's like finding a kindred spirit. (at least with the weird stuff I like.) It connects us!
 Anyways, I've babbled on enough. Here are the shows I love.

 The Simpsons This was the first show that came to mind because it defined my generation. Some friends and I were talking about it just a couple weeks ago, actually. This is one of those weird shows that changed when television and how we watch it changed. People my age used to watch The Simpsons on CBC after school and on Global on Sunday nights when the new episodes came out. Now that we're old we watch the reruns on DVD or on our laptops. But only the first seasons - the ones we saw when they were actually on. It's weird.

Gilmore Girls. I watched this show sometimes when it was on, but not religiously. My sister has all the seasons on DVD, though, so once the show was over, I watched all the seasons and I've since rewatched them. This show is so great, it's one of my favourite shows and I didn't start liking it until it was over.

Sex and the City. the movies exist because TBS and HBO played the reruns and girls my age and a little older started to like it and then bought the DVDs, watched all the episodes, and a whole new generation of women who were just little girls when the show started became fans. My sister has all the DVDs, so that's how I watched it. Another example of me liking it after it ended, but in this case, I'm not the only one.

Friends. Who doesn't like Friends?

Arrested Development. I watched it a bit in high school when CBC played the reruns. I don't think I even watched it while it was on, so in a way it's my fault it was cancelled. But this show is awesome. I watched it through on Netflix. One of those things that thanks to the internet, has a huge fanbase even though Fox cancelled it years ago. Sort of like...

Firefly. Borrowed the DVDs from a friend, watched the movie with a bunch of friends. So awesome. One of the best television series I've seen.

Scrubs. Scrubs was one of my "weekly shows" in high school. I loved it. Then it started sucking and I stopped watching it and then they did that whole "let's let someone other than the main character narrate the show" and I just tried to pretend the show had gotten cancelled. But I rewatched the first 5 seasons when I borrowed the DVDs from a friend, and they are still awesome.

Daria. I watched this show when I was a kid but I think it went over my head. I got the DVD box set as a present last summer, though, and watched through all the episodes and movies. Awesome.

My So-Called Life. I watched the reruns on Family Channel when I was in high school (if it's on Family channel after 11, it's not embarassing if you watch it...right?) Have the DVD box set. Such a good show. I could watch it over and over again. And when I watch this show I like it for a weird reason. It's like how I feel when I watch Juno or Mean Girls or even Gilmore Girls. I don't like it because I relate to the characters or I love the story (although I do). I find myself liking it because I wish I'd written it. Weird, I know.

Freaks and Geeks. I liked this show. I got the DVDs from the library. Like My So-Called Life, I wish it hadn't been cancelled so abruptly but it was good while it lasted.

Undeclared. watched it online. Not the best show ever, but I love Jay Baruchel and Jason Segal so I had to watch it. It was pretty good.

Here's a list of animes I have watched thanks to the internet and DVDs and the group of geeky guys I befriended in my first couple years of university.
Full Metal Alchemist.
Death Note.
Cowboy Bebop.
Avatar the Last Airbender. -> All of these shows are great and I recommend all of them, but Avatar is probably one of my favourite shows of all time. Seriously. So. Good. Watch it.

Shows I am watching now:
How I Met Your Mother. I am watching through all the seasons, and I love it but once I catch up I probably won't start watching it live because I just don't have time to follow all those shows.

The Big Bang Theory. I'm not watching it now, I watched it over Christmas and caught up but I don't follow the new episodes because I just don't make time.

The L Word. started watching this weekend at my friend's house. It's on Netflix. I'll probably watch through it all because I like it.

Shows I watch. Like, actually watch. On television.

The Office. I have seen every episode of The American one, and I record the episodes and watch them during the year. Even with Michael gone I will still watch it. One of the few shows I am loyal to.

Gossip Girl. I started watching Gossip Girl from the first episode because I read the books in high school when I worked at a book store, and it was the perfect show for me. It started my first year of university and for one hour a week I could just escape into the world of glamorous rich people approximately my age whose worries were a lot more dramatic and serious, yet trivial than my own. The perfect guilty pleasure show. I'm addicted. I have all the DVDs. It's probably my favourite show on TV, and I used to be embarassed about it but now I just don't care. It is awesome.

Glee. I watch it every week and while I'm watching it I tell myself I'll stop but it's like crack. I also think Glee is a really interesting phenomenon because it's built up this whole fandom and it's still on the air. So maybe it's a solution/response to what I've been talking about in this blog post. Glee is one of the only shows on TV right now that doesn't act like it's afraid of the internet. Glee expects people to watch it in whatever way they watch it, then to blog about it, post gifs on tumblr, buy the songs on iTunes, etc. Glee understands that without all that extra stuff, they wouldn't be on air. and Glee is really a show for nerds. Glee needs people to obsess over it and create canons in their heads for the characters and to recognize that Darren Criss was Harry Potter before he was Blaine, and to give themselves a name (Gleeks).
And because I think Glee is actually very self-aware and deliberate, I don't mind getting sucked in.
Glee represents how television has evolved. hahaha. And with that I think we've come full circle.

Sorry this was so long and rambly. I don't know if I made my point but at least you got to look at a list of shows I like.

Do you have any shows to recommend to me? Leave them in the comments. What are some of your favourite shows?

Books Read So Far in 2011: 29
Currently Reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

1 comment:

  1. Shows I'm watching currently:
    Top Gear
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    I'm Alan Partridge
    Ren & Stimpy

    Shows I'd recommend for you:
    Twin Peaks (!)
    Fawlty Towers
    Samurai 7

    Favorite shows of all time:
    Arrested Development
    Cowboy Bebop
    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    Twin Peaks


    Seinfeld (haha)