I currently have 165GB worth of TV shows on my external harddrive. Besides that, there’s still about 10 DVD boxsets in my DVD library. I don’t just torrent stuff, I torrent what I can’t get in stores here. Considering TV in this country sucks and we only get on DVD what has already played on TV, I can’t get all the shows I like without resorting to torrenting. Okay, I’ll admit, I could buy boxsets from the US or the UK, but if I’ve never seen a show I don’t want to spend money on it. It might be complete garbage, and sadly I’m not rich enough to afford expensive mistakes like that too often.
It’s funny though, until about a year ago, I didn’t watch TV shows all that much. Right now I have a massive backlog of shows to watch. There’s probably at least 10GBs worth of video on my ext. HDD I still have to watch. My backlog keeps growing as I hear about awesome new shows I didn’t know about yet.
I cancelled my cable about half a year ago, and even then I only had it because I couldn’t get internet without it. My ISP was owned by a cable company. Still, it didn’t add too much to the bill, so it was okay. At least, until they changed names and decided to mess with their customers. After getting into problems with them several times, they cancelled my subscription. I’d like to say it was the other way around, but they cancelled me, not me them. I still don’t get why exactly. The money was supposed to be automatically deducted, but almost every month they’d send me an extra high bill for not paying the first one – they’ve never even fucking sent a first one ever – on time. This went on for half a year, when I was about to cancel them and get a new ISP, when they suddenly disconnected me all of a sudden. No warning, no letter. Nothing. Some time later they sent me a bill for 100 euros. Followed by another bill for 300 euros. Followed by yet another bill… You know, I never got what all these bills amounted to, I even call them about it and they didn’t have an answer. Last month they sent me another. It’s been well over half a year since I got my new ISP. I paid the other ones on time, so I’m calling bullshit.
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked here… What was I going on about?
Right, TV shows.
As a kid, I watched a lot of TV. In fact, you could say I watched too much TV and I might even agree with you. A large part of my English came from my hours spent in front of the tube. To this day, I still call Al Bundy my only real English teacher. I watched everything, as long as it was on cable. There was no such thing as low quality, there was just TV. I’d happily watch reruns of The Nanny, Roseanne, Married with Children and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
When I was about 16, something amazing happened. Farscape aired on BBC. I can still remember they aired a new episode on Fridays and a rerun on Monday. I watched both. Slowly, my attention moved towards the BBC instead of regular Dutch channels. I saw Black Books, Dead Ringers, Nevermind the Buzzcocks and bits of a funny show I’d always only drop in during the last few minutes and didn’t know the name of. Other TV channels didn’t interest me anymore, BBC was where it was at. At least, until Farscape finally aired here in the Netherlands 2 years later on Saturday at 4pm. Naturally, at a timeslot like that it never took off and quickly disappeared again. That’s when I learned how badly most good shows got treated here in favor of the always popular Fran Fine and Miss Bucket (or as she prefers, Bouquet).
After I moved out from my mom’s place, I stopped watching TV entirely. Instead, I moved on to something I found bigger and better at the time: anime. I devoured shows liked Chobits, Evangelion, Escaflowne, Full Metal Alchemist, Helling and many more. I wanted to move to Japan. I was a foolish Japanophile, but I needed something to cling onto back then and that was it. When I grew weary of anime, I wrote off all forms of television and decided to spend my time on other things.
At this time, people on the internet were raving about this comedy show called Arrested Development. The show had already finished for some time, but the hype was only beginning after it got cancelled. Since I hadn’t rediscovered my fondness of reading and writing, I really didn’t have much better to do with my free time than give Arrested Development a shot. Trying out one episode ended up in watching the entire first season in a couple of days. I was hooked.
This shocked me for two separate reasons. It wasn’t just that this was a level of comedy on television, a platform I had once written off, that I thought was impossible. The show had been right in front of me all this time. It was that mysterious comedy show I only saw the last few minutes of on BBC a few years back. I decided to give TV another shot and followed a few recommendations of a good friend. This led me to seeing the first episode of Heroes, immediately killing my interest in TV again.
This interest came back when the internet lured me into watching an episode of Firefly. That show completely blew me away.
Due to the wonder that is TVTropes, a site I will not link because I’m afraid it might keep people away from reading the rest of this blog, I ended up watching Farscape and Buffy again. Not only that, but I also decided to try this show people kept talking about a lot, Dexter. Dexter quickly rose up to become one of my favorite TV shows and I’m still amazed I kept ignoring it, thinking it had to do with the old Cartoon Network toon. I decided giving TV another chance after one season of that.
Again that friend of mine popped up with a recommendation, The Big Bang Theory. It’s a good thing I saw two quality shows before having to witness that show. I might have quit TV again if it wasn’t for that. He’s watching it because it’s about smart people and full of references to geek things. The fact that he can’t see how shallow these references are and how badly put together the show and its characters are makes me doubt his intelligence now. At least I now know than to follow his recommendations concerning TV again.
It’s strange, at first I wanted to say I gave up on TV entirely. Then I moved towards saying that I was really selective as to what I watch. I guess I still am, at least to some extent. Yet still, I seem to be watching a lot more TV than I used to. Although I am spending a lot less time watching shows, the amount of content I watched has drastically gone up. With a lot less room for reruns, although I could rewatch any of the shows I’m currently watching without a problem. Most of the shows I used to watch when I was younger make me cringe now.
It doesn’t help that when I visit old friends or family members, they usually are watching the shows I have moved on from and keep saying how they can’t imagine I cancelled my cable subscription. At the same time, they seem to think I’m wasting my time watching web-based shows like Atop the Fourth Wall, Doomsday Arcade or even Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog. To each his own, I guess. Although how often they keep complaining about how many times they’ve seen these reruns or how bad these commercials are, they don’t really seem too happy with their choice.
So, what am I watching now?
Another one of those shows I kept evading because too many people were talking about it, until I finally heard what it’s about. It’s quite possibly the funniest comedy I’ve seen since Arrested Development. Currently near the end of season 1.
Brilliant comedy about two losers who share a flat together, hate each other and have really pitiful goals in life. The point of view camera angles really give this show a disturbing feel that adds a lot to it. I finished season 1 and will watch the second one soon.
Avatar the Last Airbender
I recently expressed my interest in this show after having seen the trailer for the upcoming movie. I only started watching it the day before yesterday, but I’m already 10 episodes in and loving every second of it. It’s funny I dismissed it for having an anime art style while not being anime. Now I see it’s a good thing it’s not anime. There’s a story that’s actually unfolding at a good pace instead of fucking around with filler for 400 episodes to get anywhere, the show makes fun of a lot of the standard tropes for animation shows, and the story and the characters are great.
I can’t watch more TV shows at the same time before finishing them, otherwise I start getting stories and characters mixed up. I do have Castle (starring Nathan Fillion) and Deadwood torrented already. Plus I still need to watch The Wire according to a lot of people.