If there’s one thing I learned from the writers’ strike, it’s that American Gladiators is a poor, crippled, mongoloid excuse for a replacement for quality scripted television.
Oh, and I also learned that I’m a hell of a lot more productive when I’m not spending several hours every day trying to stay on top of my shows.
My DVR’s season pass currently lists forty TV shows. That’s 4-0. One the one hand, it’s not like I’m trying to watch forty shows per week. The list includes include Fall, Summer, and midseason-replacement series, but… still. That’s a hell of a lot of hours spent every year with LCD emitters frying my retinas.
Forty seasons of television per year. That’s just too much time worshiping at the Temple of (Boob) Tube. Just think of all the the things I could have accomplished with my life in the 100+ hours I’ve sat watching episodes of The Apprentice. (Yeah. Pretty scary when I put it like that, isn’t it?)
It’s not like I’m suddenly going to become one of those people who gets rid of their TV just so they can incessantly talk about how great it is not having a TV. No way. I love TV too much to ever fully give it up. But I am going to make some serious cutbacks. Starting with upcoming Fall TV season, I’ve decided to cut the fat out of my TV-watching diet so that the only time I spend in front of the tube will bring me unadulterated joy. Anything else is just wasting my time.
With that in mind, I went through the exercise of hacking and slashing through my season pass list until I was left with the selections I’d make if I were absolutely limited to following exactly five television shows:
- The Office – Need I say more?
- Lost – Damn, this show is good again. Really good.
- Friday Night Lights – I hope I don’t regret this. I’m only on season one.
- Beauty and the Geek – The most charming, funny, and fun reality show on TV.
- So You Think You Can Dance – What American Idol would be if it were sincerely entertaining. With hotter contestants.
Didn’t expect two out of my five to be reality shows, but… there it is. These are all shows that still have the power to make me positively gleeful.
I would have had a harder time narrowing down the list if there weren’t so many of my favorite series ending their runs this year: Battlestar Galactica, Jericho, The Wire, The Batman, Legion of Super-Heroes.
Shows I had a difficult time eliminating: Terminator, Reaper, Chuck, Life, Ninja Warrior, Mad Men, Burn Notice, The Unit, My Boys.
I had a pretty easy time letting these shows go: Smallville, Heroes (!), American Idol, The Apprentice, Transformers Animated, Dirty Jobs (if you’ve seen thirty episodes, you’ve seen them all…), Family Guy, Human Weapon, Spectacular Spider-Man, Saturday Night Live (I can always catch the highlights on the interwebs), Witchblade, Death Note, Real Time with Bill Maher. Breaking Bad, South Park (losing me this season), Daily Show/Colbert Report, 60 Minutes, How I Met Your Mother, Rescue Me (once-brilliant, it lost me last season), My Name Is Earl, Breaking Bad.
I’m surprised how many shows were so easy to cross out. But when I started thinking in terms of: “Which TV shows are genuinely fresh, entertaining, and bring me joy… and which shows merely help me pass the time?” …the decisions got a lot more simple.
What say you, fellow TV-addicted people? If you had to slash your TV time to just five shows, what would they be?