Quality time with Jack, Hurley, et al.

1 Sep

Watching the Emmys on TV the other night (all three hours of it) brought home to me how much enjoyment I get from TV shows — maybe more enjoyment than from movies. And I usually love movies.
This is just a quick spill of thoughts on my part, not anything sophisticated in the way of TV criticism, but I have to say, TV shows have several things going for them these days:
1. Excellent shows abound in all three categories of comedy, drama and variety. Ten or 20 years ago, when my TV watching time was more limited, I had two or three shows I watched religiously (ER! thirtysomething!). Last fall, though, when I had the TV to myself, I found myself bouncing among several shows to find the ones I really liked and finally settled on at least seven to record on DVR. The urgency to get to a movie theater to see the latest Tom Hanks movie was not there. I had my new big-screen, a quiet house and TiVo to pause, fast forward and rewind.
2. TV critics would say in the past five years or so, we’ve entered another Golden Age of Television. A lot of that is due to the intrepid programming of cable television.
3. And you know television is good when so many superstars of Hollywood are appearing in made-for-TV movies and miniseries, even in their own series.
4. A bullet point unto itself: “Lost.” This deliciously mind-bending show did not get the Emmys it deserved, but it’s a perfect example of how far TV has come. The storytelling, character development, plot twists, symbolism, intellectual engagement, scenery and acting were so good that over its six-year run I thought about teaching it to high schoolers. Not every episode was terrific, but the overall story kept building and building, compelling me to watch every single minute. If I ever complain about the quality of television in the future, I need only to buy the DVD sets of Lost. Probably the best-ever investment of couch time.
5. Late-night TV was fun when I was a teenager testing my freedom to stay up late and watch Johnny Carson. Now I’m back into it, what with Conan and Jimmy (Fallon, of course), and TiVo lets me watch it whenever. Helps me get in my Recommended Daily Allowance of belly laughs.
6. OK, a no-brainer — TV is free, after paying the cable bills. Movie prices have gotten out of control. It’s no wonder that every consideration of whether to hit the multiplex is preceded by, “Can I wait for DVD on this?” (“Inception,” no. “Avatar,” yes.)
The Emmys broadcast might have been an overblown production, but the turnout of actors and the montages of hit shows gave me many feel-good moments about the current state of TV entertainment.

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One Response to “Quality time with Jack, Hurley, et al.”

  1. Eldon Dacosta September 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    This a fabulous post and may be one that should be followed up to see what the results are

    A friend mailed this link the other day and I’m excitedly awaiting your next piece of writing. Carry on on the top class work.

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