I like watching TV. All right, I know. I’m not supposed to say that, being a writer and all, but I do. It’s fun. And man, can it kill an hour or two when the snow is blowing thick and fast and the temperature is dropping like the proverbial stone outside my door, and my brain is drained from a day of writing (or whatever else life throws at me). All I want is mind candy, so I find it on TV. So sue me.
Back in the day (when my husband and I were raising our children) we had a television. One. And we talked long and hard about not getting another one when it finally bit the dust.
Then my grandmother came to stay with us for a while. (Two weeks, but it felt much much longer. When I phoned my sister to bitch (she’d helped Granny buy plane tickets) she said “She wanted to stay for a month, but I talked her out of it.” I still owe Sue for that.) That woman watched the news almost constantly. And the beginning of the second week was when the television decided to die.
It took my husband and I about two seconds to change our minds about buyinh a television. Saved our souls that week, and has been a source of entertainment since. (This is also when we decided NOT to censor what our kids watched, opting for using every instance as a teaching tool instead. I’ll talk about that another time.)
We now have a home theatre plus four other televisions in our house. There are two of us living here. Yep, we are TV people — and since we put in the home theatre, we have been freaks for marathons.
We started with Homicide, Life on the Streets. I bought the first season for my husband, for Christmas one year. I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered it being on television. The first season was — so then we dove in, found the rest of the seasons and watched them all. We watched that program go from something amazing to something considerably less so, by (we assume) the network wanting something it could not produce.
That was how we got hooked.
We have watched The Wire, Deadwood, Sopranos (this was more for my husband, because I had real trouble getting into this boy soap), Dead Like Me, The Riches, Red Dwarf (you’ll note this is the only sci fi thing on this list. This is also why we have more than one television in the house. He hates sci fi — and I do not.), Carnivale, The Shield, Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, Da Vinci’s Inquest and Dexter. All in marathon format.
Over the winters, we slide down into our escape from the snow and the ice and the crap that is winter in Alberta, and we watched episode after episode of a single TV show, often until 2 or 3 in the morning. (That’s the good part about owning your own business. You can pretend you’ll just sleep in the next morning. It hardly ever worked that way, but…) And we discussed the hell out of what we’d watched.
Now THAT’S the way to do a marathon. Talk about catching the long story arcs! Talk about watching characters change and develop over time! Talk about catching planning screw ups, and attempted saves. It’s all right there on the screen. And how cool is that?
My favorite? The Wire. Hands down.
I only mentioned the marathon thing because there was a “marathon” of that cute little comedy about the science boys looking for love (The Big Bang Theory) on one of our cable stations this weekend, so we tried watching it. I swear! Those TV people have no idea how to run a marathon! Looked to me like like 7 or 8 episodes, out of order, repeated ad nauseum. Probably economical for the station, but absolutely no good for a marathoner like myself.
Long story arc, boys! Even in a show like this, let us see the long story arc!