I have watched a lot of TV in my life — probably more than is good for me. From Dark Shadows and Saturday morning cartoons, through weekend horror film fests and Doctor Who and into the series of the Eighties and Nineties, it would take quite a few pages to list all the shows I’ve seen.
But there’s very little on the tube now that I want to watch, and so, in a grand (for me) experiment, today marks Day 1 of a week without TV.
I realized a few years ago that I was becoming disenchanted with TV. My cable network has 200-plus channels and it seemed like there was rarely something I wanted to watch. Oh the TV was usually on, but it would often be running a repeat of something I’d already seen. It was there more for background noise than any real entertainment.
I’m not a fan of reality shows; they can call it ‘reality’, but seriously, when you point a camera at someone, human nature will lead that person to ‘act’ out of character, and thus it’s no longer ‘reality’. Even when it was a show I should theoretically like, I couldn’t get hooked on watching it consistently. I’m a fan of swords and romance, as you can tell from the name of this page, so logic says a show like Knights of Mayhem would be something I would like. And I tried, really, but it just didn’t hold my interest.
The comedies I’ve sampled the last three years don’t resonate with my sense of humor. The dramas all seemed to run together — let’s be honest, how many crime shows can you watch and still tell them apart? Thanks to the scandals at the college and professional levels, I’ve abandoned watching most sports. Even the historical and cultural programs failed me — most of the channels that used to broadcast these shows now have switched over to a steady stream of reality shows, and the few historical or cultural shows that are run are repeats I’ve already seen.
As part of this year of transition in my life, I decided to look honestly at my TV habits. I found that I was actually watching very few shows, and in fact, would only be watching 2 or 3 in the future.
Bedlam, Law & Order UK and Being Human either killed off my favorite characters or so decimated the cast that I no longer have any interest in following the shows. Doctor Who and Torchwood aren’t on now, and who knows when, or if, they’ll return. Luther is over. Criminal Minds so screwed up the formula for the show last year that I lost all desire to see it. Even the movies shown on HBO and the extended cable are either films I’ve seen or things I never wanted to view.
That leaves me with White Collar on USA, and then the second series of Game of Thrones on HBO. And in a year when I’m aiming for fiscal responsibility and paying off debts — can I really justify $75-80 a month for the cable, plus the electricity from running the TV? Especially now that Pennsylvania has deregulated the electric companies, and my rates are going up 15-20%?
Which brings me to this week. I’m going without cable. To make sure I stick with it, I disconnected the box and left it at the office. I will reconnect it next week, so I can see the end of the White Collar season, but then, depending on how this week goes, I may just unplug for good.
Let the fun begin.