Goal: Watch TV. No, I mean it this time.
Around the time I graduated from high school I more or less stopped watching TV. I can't put my finger on exactly when or why; I was just not interested. I think that I have a problem with empathy, like I can't turn it off. When I see slapstick in sitcoms I can't help feeling terribly uncomfortable when Person A is about to do something incredibly embarrassing. This might be why I stopped watching, or it could be an effect of not watching TV for so many years.
So, I'm writing a book. I actually finished writing a novelette and now I'm working on another Work in Progress. I'm about 19 thousand words in, and I just laid out a simple plan to get me through the rest of it. I find it much easier to write this way – with an outline. It allows me to work in production mode better. It's kind of like cooking: I like having a recipe at hand, gathering all of the ingredients around me and then getting started. That way, when I'm cooking, I'm just cooking. If I have an outline, then when I'm writing I'm just writing.
That paragraph did nothing to further the purpose of this blog entry and I should take it out. But, I probably won't.
My point, and I do have one, is that I have connected with some people who are successfully writing in this new digital age and one thing that they talk about is... connecting with people on social media. This way you can build a brand and an audience base, so that if and when you are ready to publish, you already have a following. Brilliant idea. And, one of the ways that they encourage people to connect with others is through the strategic use of hashtags, particularly on Twitter. And, one of the recommendations they have for hashtags on twitter is the name of TV shows that you like, because nothing connects a group of people like talking about a TV show that they are watching, especially at the beginning of the work day in the office before the manager arrives.
This puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. Saying, "I don't watch TV" will only connect you to a handful of people, and of those people probably only one is worth talking to on a regular basis. I'm kind of missing out on a really good way to connect with people, because probably 99% of the population watches TV and enjoys it. I work hard to find other ways to connect, but maybe I should work smarter and not harder.
I have had some failed attempts recently to watch shows. There were a couple that legitimately sounded interesting – that were, in fact, interesting. I wasn't uncomfortable watching them and I enjoyed them. But, after so many years of not sitting in front of a television set, I just didn't really have the habit of doing so. It kind of takes some planning or discipline.
One of the shows I wanted to watch was on PBS – Wolf Hall. I love the intrigue – people vying for positions, calculating their options and either winning or losing in a heated political climate. I watched two episodes and then I never seemed to find myself at home at the right time to finish. I don't have a way to record shows because I don't subscribe to any cable services. That would be unreasonably expensive for somebody who hoped one day to sit down and watch A show and probably wouldn't get around even to that. There's always the option of streaming it after the fact, but I never got around to that, either. (I hear people talking about how many shows they have recorded and when are they going to get around to watching them. All of you; ALL of you do this. I'm not alone in this aspect.) And, that was that.
The other show I wanted to watch was based on a novel that I love called American Gods. It was an amazing novel and when I heard they were making a series of it, I couldn't wait. I connected with a few people about this. Then, the day came and it was airing. Except, that it wasn't on any station or website. I couldn't even stream it through Amazon. The only way I could watch it was to subscribe to Starz streaming service. I thought about it, and decided that it would be worth it. I saw the first episode and I don't want to admit how many months I paid Starz without ever even launching the app again. But, that first episode was everything I wanted it to be. They did a wonderful job of translating the novel into video. The characters were real, the acting was spot on, the cinematography was captivating... they did a spectacular job. But, clearly sitting in front of a computer scrolling Facebook and reading books is more my style than watching a show on TV that I absolutely love.
I keep saying that I'm going to get my life together. It hasn't quite happened yet.
So now, I try again. I could always go watch Wolf Hall or American Gods, but that's not going to connect me with people. And, I'm not going to be insincere. If I don't like a show, I'm not going to continue watching just to be able to talk to people about it. No, I have to learn to watch television, to stick with it, to discipline myself to see it through from beginning to end.
I've looked through PBS's Masterpiece offerings. I could do better watching mainstream shows, but I probably wouldn't like them. Poldark looks interesting, and it's in the second season. I would probably have enjoyed Downton Abbey, and that might still be an option. People are still talking about it. (From what I understand the series has ended. This understanding comes from me having done absolutely no research and is solely based on intuition – listening to the world discuss shows. There is a different tone once a series has ended.) Sherlock seems to still be playing. Death Comes to Pemberley and Endeavor are also promising. Of course, these might all be reruns for all I know. I'm not even sure how to tell the difference.
I've often looked back and regretted not watching a show while it was going. X-Files was amazing, from the outsider's point of view. People got together, made hats and tee-shirts that said things like, "Trust No One" and "What Would the Cigarette Smoking Man Do?" And, I didn't discover how fascinating the show Lost was until its final season. All I could think was, 'Man, I really missed out'. A coworker offered to lend me her collection – she owned all of the seasons in DVD. (By the way, don't ever do this. I suck at returning movies.) But, I missed more than just the show. I missed the phenomenon that was being a part of a society that was watching this story unfold. (And, this was before I even wanted to connect with people for professional reasons.) I can't get that back. I can try with another show, but I missed out on that one.
So, here is my plea. You, my faithful readers, do you have any suggestions? I'm flailing in a sea of content and I have no idea where to turn. Do you have any ideas of shows that I might enjoy – PBS or otherwise? I promise to stick to it this time, to see it through. But, I need help. What are some shows that I might like, that also other people might like and that might help me be a part of a group? What are you watching, and how do you feel about it? Do you discuss it with coworkers or friends?
Thank you in advance for your recommendations.