I watch entirely too much television. How do I know this? Because I can’t seem to read enough books that I want to that’s how I know. I have stacks and stacks of books in my place and haven’t read half of them. So, some television shows have to go to make more reading time. It is indeed a hypnotic box that keeps us transfixed in front of it for no good reason. However, that said, I cannot give up good quality TV no matter what beckons me and there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 of those I spend sleeping and 8 working. So what am I watching and what have I given up? Let’s list those I’ve given up first:
Survivor: I’ve watched this show since it started. This is what… the 17th season? Unreal. I mean, how different can each season be? You watch ruthless people win through lying and manipulation and you watch the others lose because they weren’t willing to compromise their principles or friendships for $1,000,000. It’s the same thing over and over. What the losers don’t seem to realize is that it’s just a game and if you don’t play by the rules of the game, you’ll lose. You’d think someone would be learning this by now. The last straw was watching this season’s premier. Every season they seem to want to find the most unlikeable characters they can so people will watch who they LOVE to hate. I was sitting there listening to the latest blowhard talk about how smart he was and how dumb all the women were and how easily manipulated and I said, enough is enough. Here’s one woman who’s not falling for that again. End of story. I haven’t watched it since.
Lost: Like The X-Files, I thought I would watch this to the end; because I like Science Fiction and because I like mysteries. However, the mistake I made in watching the X-Files to the end was assuming that Chris Carter would give us some answers. Instead, I don’t think he knew any of the answers and just strung us along and made things up as he went along. However it was vastly entertaining and each episode pretty much stood on it’s own. Lost however grew tiresome very quickly. After watching two seasons, I wasn’t willing to take this trip any longer. I am convinced J.J. Abrams has no idea where this show is going or where it went in the last couple of seasons. He did an EXCELLENT job on the last Star Trek movie!! However, Lost is no longer on my list of “must see TV.”
The Mentalist: (Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.) I gave this show a whole season because I like the lead character played by Simon Barker. He’s amusing. But I can’t seem to work up any liking for Robin Tunney’s character. The plots aren’t compelling enough; not that they have to feature murders and gore. Mad Men supplies none of that and delivers the goods week after week. It’s just not substantive enough for me.
Shows that I continue to watch:
The Amazing Race: (Sunday nights at 7 p.m.) This is a fun show that uses my favorite game format: a scavenger hunt. The values promoted are worthy; play dirty and it usually comes back to bite you in the end. Take your time and read the clues and you’ll be fine. Rush too quickly and sloppily and something’s going to go awry. Plus you get to learn a little bit of history and see some cities along the way. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for grown-ups.
Ghost Hunters: (Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.) Do I know it’s probably fake? Sure. But just the fact that there are no psychics on these hunts, that they have “scientific” equipment and that they are trying to debunk evidence and do many times, is enough to keep me watching. Oh and Jason and Grant and Steve are just the type of guys I’d love to hang out with especially while visiting spooky places. What more fun is there?
Supernatural: (Thursday nights at 8 p.m.) Well there are only two reasons why I watch this show at my age: Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki. ’nuff said.
The Closer: (Monday nights at 9 p.m.) I love the whole cast of this show. They work well together. However, Kyra Sedgwick’s character can be annoying sometimes and there are moments that even I want to slap her. The plots are standard police procedural and even though the whole premise was ripped off from the UK’s excellent Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren, it’s interesting enough to garner a TiVo slot.
Project Runway: (Thursday nights at 9 p.m.) The chief thing going for this show is to see how people can creatively design clothing and make it out of fabric. Fascinating. I can’t create a paper bag, let alone a dress. Oh and let’s not forget Tim Gunn! “Five minutes people!!”
Dancing With the Stars: (Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 & 8 p.m.) The judging is snarky and inconsistent. The stars only have nominal talent sometimes. So why do I watch? Because I want to do that. I love dancing and seeing someone blossom into a good dancer is fun and rewarding. The elimination shows are a complete waste of time however. Just post it on the internet already!
Mad Men: (Sunday nights at 9 p.m.) Probably THE MOST intelligent show on television right now. This last episode should be Emmy material for next year because the underlying themes are so complex and intertwined and the actors so flawless in their delivery that you actually believe Sterling Cooper ad agency exists out there in an alternate time-line somewhere. Brilliant, brilliant is all I can say.
And speaking of conspiracy theories….Sadly, the books I managed to read recently I can count on one hand: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is only worth throwing with the other hand. I can only say the ending did not justify the plot or to put it in fictional terms: Did I have to wade through this stupid plot to get to THIS??? Ugh. Someone let his own positive press over Angels and Demons get to him. Kind of like Book 6 of that other series people are wild about. Mr. Potter or Twilight whose popularity still stuns me as its horribly written and the main character is a stalker let alone a vampire!
On the good side, I read Ruth Rendell’s Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. (I hate it that some books are only available in the UK, like Barbara Erskine’s books. Why?) Anyway, Rendell’s was available, so I picked this up over there and finished it very quickly, which is saying something. Ruth Rendell is always, always a good read. I also did NOT know that Ruth Rendell wrote under the name Barbara Vine, whom I also like. Go figure. Why do people do that? Dean Koontz’s last Odd Thomas book Odd Hours wasn’t as good as some of his others either. I suppose some authors can’t be consistently good. Or maybe it’s just me and my tastes have changed. That’s probably it. I seem to have less patience with some that are mildly books and more patience with some that makes my brain hurt. Perhaps I get a sense that time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on such things? Age. Hmmm. Sometimes we have to let go of a few things to make room for others. This is a great time to do some letting go and to hunker down for winter. Gather the acorns, so to speak.