If you’ve been reading my column at all, you probably know that I watch television. OK, a lot of television.
I watch every science-fiction show I can fit in, and that doesn’t include my passion for mystery, crime dramas, etc. In fact, I have two televisions in my bedroom, each with recorders so I don’t miss anything.
Again and again, I’m seeing articles about how the strike will affect viewers. Well, let me share my feelings on it as well as some plans I have if the strike goes on for an extended period of time.
Since it is likely that most drama/sci-fi shows probably have enough episodes in the can to survive through the end of the year, I really don’t think it will affect me much. And yet, I have to confess to a strange feeling of … comfort … at the thought of a break that might last several months.
Now I’m sure that’s not what TV execs want to hear from someone like me. I work hard to watch every new episode when it airs so I don’t have to try to catch shows I’ve missed during reruns. It pays off during the summer in particular.
But overall, I feel that the level of quality in television has been slowly fading along with the ratings. And several of the new sci-fi programs have me wondering if I could possibly get some of my time back somehow. Those shows include NBC’s “Chuck” (which I spoke about last time) and “Journeyman,” as well as The CW’s “The Reaper” (which I will likely look into in the near future). They’re OK. Just OK.
They’re not really funny or gripping. They’re the kind of show that I used to “watch” while I was doing something else. “Lost” is great for this — I can get so much done with “Lost” on in the background because nothing significant happens unless the music builds up to a crescendo. Then I looked at the screen, not before.
Notice that I said “looked” because, sci-fi fans, “Lost” is one of the few shows I’ve ceased to tape or watch. I didn’t realize that the name of the show actually referred to the condition of its viewers and not the characters on the program.
Another show I have a unique way of watching is “Smallville.” Now, I loved the “Justice” episode last year, and whenever the other heroes are around, interesting things happen. But when they are nowhere to be found, neither are many interesting things, I feel. So I zap “Smallville” by fast-forwarding through the seemingly endless talk sequences between Clark and Chloe, Clark and Lana, Lana and Chloe, Lex and Chloe, Lex and Lana, Lex and Clark, Lois and Clark, Lois and Chloe, Lois and Lex … and don’t get me started on Jimmy Olsen!
On the other hand, I’m enjoying “Dexter” on Showtime. And I cannot wait for the return of “Battlestar Galactica,” “The 4400” and “Eureka.” So I will miss some shows more than others, but I do have a plan to survive a lengthy television shortage.
First thing I’ll do is fill up my Sundays with what I like to call my “complete story” schedule. For example, I’ve longed to watch the entire “Matrix” series from beginning to end. I’ll get up early on a Sunday morning, kick off my day with “The Matrix” movie, follow it with “Animatrix” and then dive into the last two films of the series. If I need a break in between, I’ll put out my copies of “The Matrix” comics (I have both issues, by the way).
Then, the next weekend, it will be a “Lord of the Rings” moviefest, taking in all three extended versions in a row in one day.
I’ve often wanted to see these things as a complete whole, but being a busy person, I usually can only catch bits and pieces of things. It would be a welcome change to dive into an extended storyline for a day.
Another option is to pull out my DVD collection and finally start watching the extras on DVDs I haven’t gotten to yet. I love DVD extras. After I’ve seen a movie or show I really like, I enjoy finding out more about it. I simply haven’t been able to keep up with the influx of DVDs.
This whole thing would satisfy a co-worker of mine who just wretches when she finds out I have DVDs I haven’t even opened yet. “How can that be? A DVD needs to be opened and watched as soon as it is bought,” she opines.
If it were only that simple! I buy DVDs of things I know I will want to watch again in the future, not just today.
Another thing I’d love to do is clean up my apartment and invite friends over for board games or DVD games. A long time back, we played the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” DVD game, and we loved it. I have several games that haven’t been played yet, including a “Stargate SG-1” and a “24” game. Luckily I live near several phone-order pizza places!
Then, when I’ve looked at all the DVD extras, I might start watching my favorite films and shows from the beginning again. A friend of mine has a cool idea for a film room at a local Star Trek/sci-fi convention. He wants to fill the whole weekend with premiere episodes of sci-fi shows. You know, like “Stargate: Atlantis,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Farscape” and “The X-Files.” Could be fun!
Another friend suggested we put together a DVD sharing club so we can trade unseen shows with each other. That could work.
There is, however, one thing I will never ever do, and that’s stoop to watching “reality television.” I can’t stand “Survivor” or even “The Amazing Race.” Oh, and one more “no way” is to do what one person suggested, “Watch more sports!” I like sports well enough, but I can’t tell you any of the players’ shoe sizes or high school grades or such things. I’m a “fair weather” sports fan, as one co-worker puts it. I only watch when it interests me to do so, and that’s not very often.
I’m sure that whenever the strike is done, part of me will breathe a sigh of relief, then get back to listening to stories as told to me by my best friend, my television.
Wayne Hall is the news editor of Airlock Alpha, and writes out of the Washington, D.C. area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.