Will I Ever Watch Them?

Life these days is so busy (with work) that I often complain about the fact that I never get a chance to watch TV any more.

In my youth I loved a bit of telly, but once computers arrived they sort of took over, and then they completely became my life. But in recent times, the quality of TV, especially US drama, has hit impressive highs. As a result, I wish I could spend more time watching TV. But usually I miss things on TV, so instead I ask for DVDs, since they make good birthday presents.

That is the theory. Instead, there are DVDs here in my room that haven’t even made it out of the shrink wrap, despite being on birthday and Christmas request lists for the last several years.

The fact that it took me three years to watch The West Wing from start to finish doesn’t bode well. I have a rule: never watch episodes of anything back-to-back. That way you get to stretch it out for longer. I did break that rule with Prison Break series 1, but that was worth it!

But, sadly, my life will not actually include time to watch all of these things I want to watch if I can only squeeze in a DVD episode once every three or four days. Being realistic, I need to be watching something every day, or I will never watch:

  • the rest of Prison Break (currently reached episode 7, series 4, and have been there for about two months)
  • Seinfeld, complete
  • recent Star Trek films
  • The Thick of It
  • Breaking Bad
  • Arrested Development
  • Curb Your Enthusiam
  • The Office (US)
  • Extras
  • House
  • 24
  • Homeland
  • Boston Legal
  • Red Dwarf (in its entirety)
  • Weeds
  • anything by Derren Brown
  • Family Guy
  • last three Harry Potter Films
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • The Wire

I could go on, but I think that’s more than enough.

You will note that I am quite keen on US drama. I don’t know why that is, but no one does drama like the US. Yes there are many misses, but there is so much stuff being made over there that there are bound to be many classics too. UK drama is sometimes very hard-hitting, sometimes gritty, but usually only made in mini-series, therefore it doesn’t seem to have much time to really get you hooked on great characters and fantastic series narrative arcs.

The only things we seem to do well here in the UK are police dramas, which I don’t particularly find interesting, and period drama, ditto. Sitcoms, we are absolute rubbish at (it’s all been done before).

I used to love sitcoms, but I think as my life has got less joyous, my requirement to keep smiling has disappeared. Malcolm in the Middle might just be my favourite sitcom of all time. Well, at least the first few seasons were. I didn’t see much of the rest, but maybe I will by 2040 (at current watching rates), since they are finally coming out on DVD!

And, of course, new stuff is coming out all the time, so my list is added to at a quicker rate than I can watch them.

Bizarrely, I make more time in my life for shows like X Factor. I still don’t really know why. I should hate everything about corporate supremo X Factor. But something about the show, and my love of all things music, and seeing complete unknowns being given a chance, keeps me interested.

Talking of which, another several hours of my life is about to disappear tonight. Great.

Star Trekking

In recent days, thanks to a TV channel called Virgin 1, I have rekindled my long lost interest in Star Trek. Yes, alas, I am a Star Trek fan. My favourite Trek is probably Voyager, followed by TNG and then Deep Space Nine. The Original Series… well, it’s entertaining. But I don’t think it’s fair to class it as part of the rest of it, because it’s so very different. Enterprise doesn’t even get a look in.

One of the more unusual reasons why I like Voyager is the theme tune. To me, it is one of the best TV themes I’ve ever known. It’s such a fine piece of music, and every time I hear it it never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Music never ceases to amaze me – how is it possible for it to instil emotions? If only all classical music was like that – then I wouldn’t find the whole genre so boring.

I’ve always liked science fiction. It’s just a part of me that likes speculating and wondering about the distant future. It simply amazes me to think what astonishing things will exist in the future thanks to technology. Of course, we’re pretty much certain that travelling at speeds over the speed of light is impossible, but hey, we can dream can’t we? It’s sad to think that I won’t be around to see the wonders of technology in the future; I just have to be content with the fact that each living generation is, in a sense, living out the science fiction of several centuries before. Not that there was any sci fi then… what I mean is everything today is technologically brilliant compared to decades or centuries ago. Yes…

So Star Trek fits that nicely. It would be nice if there was a new show, but maybe it’s best if it’s just left alone now. They’ll only go and ruin it again. We don’t seem to be able to make good TV any more. Probably because everything is derivative and nothing is original nowadays. There can’t possibly be any new storylines left, can there? This is the problem facing all the narrative world. And yet, we continue to devour it on a regular basis. You don’t see the rate of book publishing coming down… And those TV soaps? They rehash the same thing year after year just in different characters. But they still plunder on…

We go through life with a quest for narratives. We learn it from an early age. Everything we do, we like it in a story. Watch the news for an example. Observe your own life for an example. Ordering events into a logical progression that makes sense. My daily routine. My life story.

Not that I’m going to make an interesting point out of this. It’s just something I’ve observed. And it just so happens that us science fiction fans like stories that slightly different to, say, what you get in TV soaps. But at the heart of it, the basic plots are the same, whether it’s set on a starship or in Coronation Street. That’s why I don’t understand it when people look down on science fiction as if it’s a rather geeky affair. It’s not. It’s just another way in which people have chosen to satisfy our thirst as humans for stories.

But now, unfortunately, the title of this post has reminded me of the eponymous song. It was amusing when I was a child. Still is, to a certain degree… but now it’s more annoying.

I don’t think a reminder is needed, but here it is anyway: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FCARADb9asE

$DEITY Bless YouTube!