I don’t watch much TV. For most of my adult life, I’ve lived beyond the reach of cable or broadcast, in the sticks of Vermont, in a time when your only option if you had to watch Beverly Hills 90210 was a satellite dish that could easily hold a Volkswagen bug. Also… I didn’t care. I was contentedly clueless about whatever sitcom or sexy drama everyone was talking about. Now, as a writer and a mom, with quite a keen interest in something I can just sit around and enjoy, it’s a time thing, but usually it’s still hard to find something to care about. Living in the big city (a-hem), we now have cable, like 80-something channels and not one of them ever seems to have anything of interest on. Well, no, I’m wrong here. There’s lots of interesting stuff – a couple of weeks ago I watched a team of scientists dig up a wooly mammoth. In the past few weeks, I have flipped through ultimate fighting, a woman with a hundred pound tumor, a gay wedding and numerous police dramas where for some reason or other, the electricity is off at every single crime scene, and they’re all striding around in the dark smirking and sexily shining flashlights at each other. Perhaps good for half-an-hour of “what the hell is this?” – but nothing to get me hooked.
The thing is, I long for good TV. A show I can really get caught up in. Something that will make me laugh and cry; something that will resonate and make me think of it long after I turn off the TV for the night.
The last show that did this for me – maybe the first show that ever really did it for me – was Six Feet Under. The writing was basically genius, the characters were wonderfully flawed and human – it was funny and dreadful and unpredictable, like life. I really truly wept after the final episode, like people I actually knew were gone forever. I woke up thinking of them, of the loss. Kind of pathetic, but there it is.
I watch The L Word but am always a little disappointed, and never bother to watch the repeats (unlike SFU). I really want to like it, but it’s jumped the shark several times over now. It’s hit or miss — mostly these last few seasons, it’s missing by a mile. I love how Jenny sold film rights for a New Yorker short story, her first film deal, and then spends hours in high-powered meetings so she can pick a director. Uh, does Stephen King even get to do that? As much as I roll my eyes and gnash my teeth though, I know I’ll keep watching – it’s all about Alice.
I loved the first season of Dexter and am psyched for season two. (SFU fans, see Michael C. Hall in a whole new light! I think he might be a genius.) I like Weeds very much, but never quite get hooked (insert lame drug joke). I’ve tried the Sopranos, but I have some sort of mental block when it comes to gangsters. I can’t watch any of the Godfather movies, either.
So I’m taking a poll: what’s out there that I’m missing? It doesn’t need to be something currently on the air – I’ve got Netflix. I want a new show to love. Something I can get totally swept away in. My daughter just started preschool, which means I’m going to have mornings free to write. And at night, after she goes to bed, maybe instead of scrambling to meet my latest deadline, I can get in some good TV watching?
Or, maybe I’ll just catch up on some reading…