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The Past | The Previous

Television Thoughts.

Why Am I Here?

I'm waiting for money. None of my jobs paid me this week. It would have been nice, but no. I have half a tank of petrol and that should get me to work and back on the weekend. My point is not woe is me, my point is this is why I'm sitting round on Friday night thinking about television.

Still, truth is, I probably wouldn't be anywhere anyhow. I hate crowds. My friends have night jobs and relationships.

I just like choice, even if I ignore it.

Television.

Writing about television.

I don't watch much television. It's not that I have anything against it, it's just that I usually forget when something is on. Makes life hard for shows with story arcs. Outside that, I can't stand reality shows. Watching a bunch of people bitch and moan and argue is not my idea of entertainment. I want that, I'll go and start video taping my neighbours again. Just like reality tv, their sex is boring too.

When I do find a show that I like, I usually have to program myself into watching it. This time, this day, twenty four weeks. Since none of my friends are big television watchers (if they are they don't feel the need to discuss it with me) there's very little social element involved to help me remember.

The thing that puts me off television, however, is the investment of time. I'm not talking the hour one night a week, I'm talking that hour, twenty four weeks, five to six years.

That's a lot of investment. A lot of time for the show to go bad, then good, then bad again. You hang in though, when you're watching it for the first year, because you tell yourself that it's just an hour this week and you've already gone so far with it. If it's bad this week, it'll get better. You've put the time aside, anyhow, so you come back. You could do that for a year. I mean, for fucks sake, I watched season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that was ninety percent trash. Still, there were a couple of good episodes, and I thought it would pick up--I thought, it's the last season, they won't have a bad guy with no body and no purpose beyond a bland and all encompassing evil and a ha ha ha I'm taking over the world line. But they did. Joss Whedon deserved his eyeballs burnt for that.

Still, my point is, I gave the twenty four weeks to it. I'd say: it'll get better. Of course, I was also helped along by the fact that there was a definite end--I don't think I would have lasted if I'd know there was going to an eighth season.

Whiny Bitch, What's Your Point?

But last night, I tuned into Lost. First episode, alla that.

It wasn't bad. Wasn't fantastic. Had a few nice moments. Some stupid ones. My thought at the end was simple: if this is a one season idea, I'm going to be good. If Lost is just one season, complete and finished, I can last. And surely, I thought, no one is going to make six years out of a cast of people being stuck on an island with Godzilla. Surely not. I mean, I don't care what your island is, it's a one season idea. It hasn't got the legs to go beyond that.

Take 24 for example. It was an interesting high concept premise: each episode equals an hour, it takes place over twenty four hours. Cool. You could do anything in that, because obviously, you couldn't do a second season. What would you call it? 24: Day Two? No one would be stupid enough to do that. Of course, as we all know, people did make a second and third and, I believe, fourth season of 24.

I never got past three episodes of season 2. It was just stupid. It pushed the boundaries of credibility to think that the main character would go through this again, and that his family would be involved. Now, it's not impossible to set up the idea of making 24 a reaccuring season, but you have to put it into a situation where the main character would be in this sort of intense situation regular as washing yourself. A soldier is a good pick, but then how many battles are twenty four hours? A team of soldiers is a better choice. You could call it 24: Iraq or some shit, and American soldiers could go in, blow the fuck out of poor Iraq's for twenty four episodes, and then return next year in season two, 24: Iran.

But, returning to Lost, I found out that they're planning a season two. There's lots of mythology on the island, says the creator.

Which means they're still on the island.

I haven't got two years of my life to give to a bunch of people stuck on an island.

What, Trek Bashing?

They canceled Enterprise.

Shocking. That sound you hear is two nerds yawning. Was there anyone who cared enough about the Trek franchise that they thought, "Oh, no, not Enterprise!" I seriously doubt it. But you know, as much as I'm bored shitless with Trek stuff, Enterprise was the only series I could flip on and watch. Of course, once they started referencing September 11th, I laughed and changed the channel. But before that, I could flip it on every now and then and watch an episode and zone to it and learn about bad script writing, and that was okay. The reason I was able to do this, however, was because I didn't need to have twenty years of Trek franchise knowledge floating around in my head to understand what was going on.

Still, I never did watch more than a handful. Shit is still shit.

And Now, the News.

What live action television needs to do is embrace the idea of single seasons. What I want is a series that is one season. when the final episode rolls around, that's it. No one comes back after that. There is a down side to this, naturally, in that shows that grow from season to season won't find their feet, but I'm not suggesting that you chop out the soap side of television. Keep it. There's an audience for it, obviously.

But me, I want a series that ends. Twenty four episodes, on year, definite end. Not a six episode mini series or whatever the else fuck is out there. One regular season of hourly (forty minute) episodes.

Think about it: how much more interesting would Lost be if you knew that there would be no second season? That every answer, character arc, whatever, would play itself out over the twenty four episodes. There wouldn't be things held back and there wouldn't be 'sudden additions' for season two (can't you just wait for new cast members to show on Lost--ooh, is that a second plane crash?).

Just twenty four episodes.

It's being done, sure, but come on, embrace it. I want it.

Comments

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bug_girl75
Feb. 4th, 2005 11:11 am (UTC)
I couldn't get into the second series of 24 either... seemed rather pointless...
I watched Lost too, it didn't really grab me either.

Maybe I'm just fussy? ;)
benpeek
Feb. 4th, 2005 11:21 am (UTC)

having taste isn't being fussy. it's having taste. it's those people without taste you got to worry about.
ashamel
Feb. 4th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC)
Kingdom Hospital was set up as a single story arc, and I think that worked well (though many seem to disagree). Having said that, the actually resolution was the strongest part of the season.

One of my favourite resolutions was actually Forever Knight. After a pretty lacklustre third season, they realised they were going to be cancelled, and the last 4 or 5 eps are brilliant.

As for Lost, I was thinking about it after my earlier reply, and suspect I won't get back to it. Just too many things that need doing.
benpeek
Feb. 4th, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)
i never watched more than a handful of FOREVER KNIGHT episodes. the ones i saw were pretty damn shocking. (and i never saw (or heard) of KINGDOM.)

most single series stuff i've seen is anime, actually. NEON GENESIS, COWBOY BEBOP. I thought they worked real well. the other series i liked that was one season was AMERICAN GOTHIC. the end of that was just brilliant.

i suspect i'll forget LOST come next week. though i made two posts out of it. maybe i won't. heh.
ashamel
Feb. 4th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)
No argument on American Gothic. Kingdom Hospital is Stephen King's adaptation of Lars von Trier's The Kingdom (strangely enough).

Forever Knight is a bit of an acquired taste, I suspect, and does get a bit samey. But it did do some great things.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 6th, 2005 04:45 am (UTC)
Was American Gothic that show with the crazy devil sheriff (or mayor?)who whistled the mayberry theme and the kid? Or am I thinking of some other strange show?
benpeek
Feb. 6th, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
i can't remember him whistling the mayberry theme, but this might be because i don't know what it is. he was either the devil, or someone who'd made a deal with the devil, and he had a son he was trying to tempt, but who was being protected by his dead sister.
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bodhichitta0
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
You know, that's a good point. I've never been able to sit through more than three seasons of anything. I made it through about three seasons of West Wing, about three seasons of the X-Files. I like 'Lost' but if it goes on for longer than three seasons I doubt I'll watch. 'Six Feet Under' is the only exception and they have a very short season--12 or 14 episodes. And I have heard that's ending this year too. Basically right now I watch 'Lost' and 'The Daily Show.' I will watch 'Six Feet Under' when it starts in June. And then I can probably get rid of the HBO... oh except for Bill Maher...
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
i never got into WEST WING. it was just a bit american for me--i found myself wanting a gunfight with the president or something. anything. suppose it isn't that much of a surprise, though i did think it was a cool idea for an american show. there was a lot you could do with it.

i do wish i had the daily show, though. that looks cool.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 6th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
I can totally see why you didn't dig West Wing. I thought it had some good writing and some humor but they beat some dead horses and got preachy also. I haven't seen it in years so I don't know how it is now. I think it's still on.

The Daily Show--oh God, I think it might be the only thing that sees me through for more years of Bush. (I can't believe it's only been weeks since his inaugration--it feels like years.)
benpeek
Feb. 6th, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC)
probably feels like years cause he has been there for years. however, i'm starting to forget what a prime minister that didn't look like john howard looked like.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 7th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
I probably shouldn't confess to you how depressed I get sometimes when I think about four more years of the dipshit and at least two more of the crazy bastards in Congress. Not that things would be tons better with Democrats. It's a matter of degree. I know that.
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mariness
Feb. 4th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
I haven't turned on the TV, as a TV, for anything other than the occasional weather report since September.

And September was really for hurricane watching, so that doesn't count either.

I have become completely spoiled by DVD's. To the point where I should probably write an LJ entry about how DVD's have destroyed my TV viewing, which has meant that I haven't seen a single episode of Lost yet.

I will, I think, once it moves to the DVD format.

benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
i dunno. tv shows on dvd have always struck me as a bit expensive, so i'm reluctant to make said purchase, when i could be watching them for free, you know?

i'm such a cheap bastard at times.
speshal_k
Feb. 5th, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC)
Yo.

Also, while the thought of sitting down and watching 1 ep a week for 20 odd weeks is fine, the thought of 20 odd hours of viewing sitting on my shelf just *waiting* to suck up my time makes me hyperventilate. It's too much commitment ;-)
benpeek
Feb. 6th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)
commitment phobe :P

but it's good to see another one. welcome, welcome.
mariness
Feb. 7th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
That's what libraries are for :)

The county library here, in fact, appears to be moving away from the concept of "book borrowing" to the idea of "DVD borrowing."

I mean, some shows I buy, and some shows I borrow. It all depends.



benpeek
Feb. 8th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
dvd borrowing from libraries hasn't really taken off over here. i think it's cause of the strangle hold of video stores.

evil corporate whores that they are.
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i_ate_my_crusts
Feb. 4th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
*headtilt*
What is this television of which you speak?

Zara-with-no-tv
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
you don't have a tv?

it's not like an ethnical thing, is it? those people who thing tv is evil drive me bat shit, and i'd be forced to hate you :)
i_ate_my_crusts
Feb. 5th, 2005 07:45 am (UTC)
No, not an ethnical thing...

It's a combination of getting out of the habit of watching while I was doing honours, being partially deaf and unable to appreciate it except with the sound turned up way too high, and having done without it for several years in a row and barely noticing.

The internet is my substitute for TV.
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2005 01:08 pm (UTC)
you're partially deaf? i would never have guessed.

and yeah, internet is the tv substitute for me.
girliejones
Feb. 6th, 2005 06:10 am (UTC)
But you're only one step away from her, how can you hate her? You, with your "I can't commit to the same hour every week for a year" rant?

Creatures of habit, like me , have no problem finding themselves in front of the TV at the same timeevery week. Also what is it that you are doing that you can't spare one hour a week for 24 weeks for 5 years? (Although having mocked that, it *is* my argument on why I don't blow dry my hair).
benpeek
Feb. 6th, 2005 06:17 am (UTC)
well, actually, i was only funning about the hate.

still, have you ever met those people who are against tv? that hate it and think it's evil and kick it out of their place? they kinda annoy me, just thru their self righteousness.

as for not sparing the hour a week, its just the effort of breaking out of other routines. i just don't think about it--never crosses my mind until i look at the possibility of spending years with a tv show and suddenly it becomes too much. ain't no thing if you like it like that, i guess, but i'd rather have the definate end.
girliejones
Feb. 6th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
still, have you ever met those people who are against tv? that hate it and think it's evil and kick it out of their place? they kinda annoy me, just thru their self righteousness.

Yes I have met such scourges on this earth. Actually it was the funniest thing and convinced me not to give up any TV - this particular person could not only identify our Premier at the time, she didn't even know who it was. Being that far out of the loop is not funny and its not righteous either - its completely removed from society in which we all must and do live in.

as for not sparing the hour a week, its just the effort of breaking out of other routines.

Well I guess that I can understand - being a creature of routine myself, I know how hard it would be to change it.
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