Too Many Shows, Too Little Time

When I list all the TV shows I watch regularly, I marvel that I can find the time. Ok, ok, I work part-time, but that really doesn’t explain it all. On the days I don’t have to go to work, there is so much errand running, housework, house maintenance, etc. I often refer to it as my unpaid days of work. I rarely watch TV in daylight hours unless I am on a treadmill. I am ashamed to say that I do not exercise  as often as I should. So how do I keep up with the following list: Downton Abbey, Spartacus, Castle, Being Human (US), Ringer, The Vampire Diaries, Alcatraz, Revenge, Shameless, Supernatural, Being Human (UK), Merlin, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Being Erica? That list ignores the shows that I watched but decided to stop after one season (Terra Nova, American Horror Story and  Hell on Wheels). It also fails to acknowledge the shows that I simply watch after they have aired on DVD (Dr. Who, Burn Notice, Justified)

Well 19 shows does not mean 19 hours a week. And surprisingly, even if it did, that would still come out below the Canadian average of 29.5 hours a week according to this newspaper report . At most it is 10 episodes a week because most of the shows that I watch have limited seasons with 10 to 13 episodes. So a 1 hour time slot each week is occupied by 3 or 4 different shows over a year. Good for the cable channels; I am glad that they figured out that they do not need to follow the traditional fall to spring tv season.

Speaking of  a 1 hourtime slot, that is approximately 44 minutes of programme and 16 minutes of commercial advertising. I can appreciate a witty ad as much as the next person, but I rarely need to see such a thing more than once. So I do not watch commercials. If I am going to watch a show, I want to watch every episode with enthusiastic anticipation. It will be recorded so as not to miss an episode. I will watch it at my leisure and I will skip through ALL the commercials. Ok, maybe not all of them, I have been know to watch a movie trailer or a TV show promo. And lets face it, outside of the Super Bowl, most TV ads are mind numbingly dull. And in the era of YouTube, you can always find a funny ad that you may have missed. I refuse to donate 1/4 of my entertainment viewing time to the corporate world. Some of the shows I watch are on commercial free channels. Those that are not, get recorded so that I can blast through the commercials. It frees up an incredible amount of time. If you check out the above link, the average Canadian watches 240 hours of TV commercials in a year. I refuse and I challenge the corporate sponsors to devise a different model of delivering their message. Subtle product placement perhaps? Individual episode purchase via the cable company, similar to the Apple TV model?

So how do I choose and keep up with my shows, exactly? I read Entertainment Weekly magazine and listen to NPR’s Culturetopia Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast (available on iTunes under Culturetopia) for buzz worthy TV shows. I browse the TV listings in the newspaper to see if any interesting movies will be airing. Any show I care about is already programmed to record. I have no interest in anything else. I take TV watching far too seriously and there is no casual viewing. If a show does not grab my interest after the first few episodes, in general, I stop watching. There have been so many shows that hit the ground running, that I no longer have time to allow a show to grow on me. I simply move on. So I own 3 Digital Video Recorders, which are similar to PVR’s (Personal Video Recorder) except they are separate from my cable box. I bought them before cablebox PVR’s where commonplace and have found no reason to change what I am doing. I never just turn on the TV and flip through the channels.  One DVR is in the kitchen and I often multitask (meal prep, laundry sorting, mending, folding – rarely ironing) while I watch. One is in a dingy storage room in front of a tredmill and the other is in our family room. They all have regularly programmed TV shows; they can stock pile hours and hours of episodes and I can watch at my discretion. Sometimes I am several weeks behind, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be very liberating; if catching up feels like a chore, then it is time to strike that show off my list.

I am still wrapping my head around 29.5 hours a week of TV for the average Canadian. That would be over 4 hours a day, on average. I don’t see how that is possible.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dave
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:53:03

    Ha! I know how you feel! At one point a few years ago, I was so overwhelmed by my overflowing DVR that I had to cut some shows cold turkey just because it was stressing me out that I couldn’t catch up. Lately, I find myself watching some shows on Netflix more and more, while cutting back on the “live” programming. I just need to keep my sanity. 🙂

    Nice blog, by the way! I like that you talk TV as much as you do movies. I do the same thing. There’s some really great TV worth talking about! I’ll be checking back!


  2. annhall
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 19:17:13

    Thanks for your kind words. I enjoyed looking at your blog too and left some recommendations for Junior Film School. I too have embraced Netflix, but wish the selection here in Canada was as good as that in the US.


    May 07, 2013 @ 06:03:10

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I will send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!


    • dvdiva
      May 07, 2013 @ 12:08:15

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated. I enjoy discussing TV almost as much as I enjoy watching it.


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