More than a year ago, in April 2007 (time flies!), I wrote a post about Dexter and The Shield and the fact that bad characters behavior can make good (even great) shows. Action-drama, science fiction, comedy-drama (dramedy), medical-drama, situation comedy, police-drama; television series cover many topics with as many different approaches. I am always surprised by the variety of the content, and the fact that a TV show can attract an audience that rarely watches television. Everybody can find something interesting in a television series and get almost addicted to it; you are watching it every week or so and you would not miss season finale for nothing in the world. You are hooked.
TV shows, and I am mostly talking about American TV shows here, are great entertainment. Not all of them, but at least the ones I appreciate the most, of course (am I being subjective? Definitely!). Pushing Daisiesand its Tim Burton-esque style, Ugly Betty with beautiful people being ugly, and supposedly ugly people being beautiful, House M.D dealing with cynicism and realism of life, Battlestar Galactica dealing with religion and cybernetic race, How I Met Your Mother which never answers the question, Nip/Tuck moving to Los Angeles and getting trashier and dirtier… I could also add other shows I like such as Dexter, Prison Break, 24, The Shield, Desperate Housewives, Stargate (SG-1) Atlantis, The Big Bang Theory (The Big Bang Theory: Am I really that kind of Nerd?), Heroes, Curb Your Enthusiasm (Curb Your Enthusiasm: Pretty, pretty, pretty good!). And the shows not airing anymore like Day Break, Deadwood, OZ, Dream On and Boomtown.
I have always enjoyed TV shows because they are entertaining, short, with different plot/story on each new episode. When I was young, The Prisoner and The Twilight Zone fulled my imagination (TZ afterlife episodes, time travel and science fiction) but they also gave me my worst nightmares: “I am not a number — I am a free (wo)man!” (Number Six, and not the blonde chick from Battlestar Galactica). The Persuaders with the unexpected duo Danny Wilde/Brett Sinclair (Tony Curtis/Roger Moore), their beautiful cars: the red Ferrari 246 Dino and the yellow Aston Martin DBS, and a playboy lifestyle for whom everything was easy to get and enjoy: money, women (as always…), beautiful places across Europe with a sprinkle of action in an always classy atmosphere. I also remember watching The Wild Wild West with Robert Conrad and Ross Martin, The Avengers with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg, Logan’s Run with Gregory Harrison and Donald Moffat, The Time Tunnel with Dr. Tony Newman and Dr. Doug Phillips lost in time, Battlestar Galactica the original television series…
As I don’t have a lot of spare time, I don’t watch TV shows regularly and I am often a season late but I prefer watching them on DVD (or record them) and sit down for an episode or two when I want, instead of being stuck a specific day at a specific time because an episode is airing. And since I appreciate many TV shows (current and old ones), I would spend all my evenings watching television. No thanks. So raise some questions: are TV shows entertainment only? It is their main goal. Do they depict the world that surrounds us and the diversity of our societies? Maybe not exactly. Like I said, most of the actual best shows come from the U.S and I hear people say that we are being ‘americanized’. Not totally true, but not totally untrue either. What is true for sure, is the increasing number of people watching television series instead of movies, and the many discussions about the last episode of Lost (‘Why is John Locke dead?’) or Battlestar Galactica (‘Who’s the twelfth Cylon?’).
TV shows are a real addiction, and addicts need their weekly (maybe even daily) dose. After season finales and before their return in September, summer is a brutal withdrawal. And it is even worse when a scheduled show supposed to air is postponed like 24 earlier this year. Or when a new season is long awaited like The Shield Season 7. By the way, don’t expect Lost before January 2009. Yes, I know, you are going to have a hard time watching reality shows instead of TV shows… As for me, I will watch -again- some of my favorite films noir 😉