I’ve been watching a lot of television lately. It’s the pain – I’m drugged up a lot of the time: driving and other power tools aren’t recommended. I’d write more, but the pills turn my brain into oatmeal while I simultaneously lose the ability to make my fingers hit the desired keys.
Reading requires sustained attention: the codeine fixes my attention span at about a minute and a half. About the time it takes to read the back of the shampoo bottle in both English and French.
Television it is.
I started with Netflix. I have to get something for my fifteen dollars a month. I don’t watch the series or movies: I lack interest. I did watch “Happy Death Day 2U”, a funny sequel that almost lives up to the original. I instead watch the trailers. They entertain me for minutes at a time, and most contain enough information that watching the actual show becomes unnecessary—no more long-term relationships with entertainment.
I’m omitting authors, obviously. [i]
It didn’t take long to finish streaming trailers I was interested in. Most of what’s available is quality-impaired. I’m not interested in “Lavalantula.” I am curious about Nicholas Cage’s career arc: how did he go from Oscar nominee to campy and evangelical end-of-the-world movie standard? Also, skip “Time Trap.” It’s atrocious. It’s so bad, I’m going to watch it again. Just to enjoy the awfulness.
Prime Video is also full of “I’ve watched it” and crap. Regular cable it is. Not the mainstream networks. I’m not that desperate yet. There’s no “Masked Singer” in my future. I prefer the programming on the specialty channels. I like the pleasant civility of “The Great British Baking Show.” I like the ‘can-do’ restoration of artifacts on “The Repair Shop.” I like everything about “Home Town.” But occasionally, I hanker after fresh. [ii]
My mouth to God’s ears, and suddenly, I have new channels in free preview. Cottage Life offers tours of multimillion-dollar lakeside retreats that are for sale to people with a large pot of disposable income. BBC First has retro movies and indubitably English offerings. [iii] One or the other has a show about canal boats that I thoroughly enjoy while promising my anxiety we will not be making a lifestyle shift. There’s even a weird show where you watch people craft. Hours of new entertainment to enjoy. Unfortunately, the channels are in free preview. They remind you of that fact at every commercial break as they preview the upcoming programming I won’t be able to watch. It looks wonderful.
“Order the channels!” you say. “How much could it cost? Don’t you deserve happiness?” I hate that question. Mostly because my answer lands me in hot water. My answer is no. We’re not promised happiness, and we don’t necessarily deserve it.
As for the cost, it varies. I added Treehouse for my grandson, a kid-friendly, commercial-free channel that features bright colours and soundbite television. It’s five dollars a month on top of what I already pay. Most of the channels are five dollars more.
I don’t want to pay five dollars extra. I pay enough already.
The way my cable network works is this: channels are grouped into bundles. Each bundle contains one or two channels you like and seven to ten you hate. It’s some kind of requirement. You pay for each bundle, and the bill total depends on the number of bundles you order. I have eight bundles, ninety-five channels, and streaming music. I watch about twelve of them. I definitely watch under twenty. I want to replace the networks I ignore with ones I like. They don’t do that. Would I like to add a new bundle? Do I want to get rid of something I like? Would I be willing to take a survey after we’re done? [iv]
No. Not to it all. I already give the cable company too much money for weak service and defective equipment. I’m not interested in increasing my frustration. I’d leave, but honestly, they’re the best of a bad bunch. Competition is only as good as the participants in the pool. And complaining has limits when you’re a captive audience. Willing to cut all ties with the online world, I’m not.
What I would like to see is an open catalogue. Pick the shows you want and create your own tiers and collections. The companies need to stop assuming they know what I like. Stop making me support uncharismatic cousins. If the shows and networks can’t survive on their own merits, that’s life.
All I want is a few canal boats and a newly restored mantle clock.
Do you watch TV, or are you all about streaming and movies?
Do you have a show you are committed to, a “neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night” show?
Is there a show you were glad to see go (I was a diehard “Supernatural” fan, but, for the last few years, the show both jumped the shark and nuked the fridge. I was glad when it was done. It got painful).
[i] I’m also omitting “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Stranger Things.” They’re grandfathered in. But, no more series once those shows are done. I don’t want to be obliged any more.
[ii] I have no idea why my brain went country.
[iii] What’s the difference between retro and old? “Retro” mimics the past, “old” is the past. It turns out the movies I watch are just old. That stings since they’re the once I grew up on. Someone will have to redo “Clueless” and still set it in the 90s for it to be retro. Except, “Clueless” is a remake of “Emma.” Maybe that one’s vintage?
[iv] I’ve given up doing surveys for businesses to tell them how they’re doing. I also don’t bag my own groceries. The corporations run with not enough staff because they decided money is God and they need it all. They don’t have enough people to get the job done, let alone well, so they rely on the consumer to help. I’m done. Unless they pay me, I’m not working for them.