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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Watching the Tube

Wow.  My kids and I just finished watching the first season of "Heroes."  This is one cool TV show from 6 years ago.  I can't remember being so interested in a television show and being able to sit down and watch it with my kids.  We can't wait to start Season Two.  Who says there's nothing good on TV?

I've always been a TV watcher.  As a kid it was "Brady Bunch," "Mork & Mindy" and Scooby Doo.  By the time I was a teenager, MTV was integrating radio and television.  Cable arrived with 300 channels and nothing on.  With each new show, genre or innovation to content, the mode was the same.  You waited until the time and day the program was scheduled and sat through all of it, including the commercials.

Then came the VCR.  VCRs were awesome at first, but sometimes it was tough to schedule the VCR to turn on at the right time.  It really stunk when you missed that Dallas cliff hanger because you ran out of tape. Ack!  I can't imagine how many family feuds erupted when one family member inadvertently taped over the other family member's favorite show.  Good luck trying to fast forward through those commercials.

Meanwhile, programming started to change, and not always for the better.  Cable was mediocre unless you were paying a premium for HBO.  There were still some great dramas - "LA Law" and "ER"- and classic comedies like "Seinfeld" and "Friends."  The problem wasn't so much that the content wasn't good, but it was becoming hard to know when to watch.  The networks were constantly shifting days and times for shows and even then there was only about half the number of episodes in a season.

DVRs were a welcome addition to compensate for the inconsistency in the television scene.  Finally, a way to schedule recordings without tapes and the ability to record more than one show at once!  You still had to fast forward through commercials, but it was certainly an improvement.  Problem was, you still had to deal with those unpredictable and short TV seasons.

Now there are services like Netflix and Hulu.  Finally, you can watch TV on demand!  I'm loving this.  I especially like how you can take older shows and watch their entire run on your schedule.  In addition to "Heroes," we never would have seen "The Office," "Breaking Bad or "The Tudors" without Netflix.  No commercials to fast forward through makes it easier to watch more content in less time.  I'm looking forward to discovering television I missed the first time.

Right now, though, I'm just happy to see "save the cheerleader, save the world."