Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don't Touch That Remote... er, Mouse!

I'm an avid TV viewer, but I'm also very particular about what I choose to watch. Very rarely do I flop down in front of the television and channel-surf, or just watch whatever's on the tube at that moment. I don't read TV Guide, and I don't check online listings. In fact, I've all but cut live television out of my life, in that there is only a single series currently on the air that I watch—AMC's The Walking Dead (if you're not watching it as well, shame on you).

So what do I watch? Well, I'm someone for whom the advent of DVD boxsets was life-changing. (I know that sounds melodramatic, but it's also accurate.) Over the past several years, I've purchased complete runs of all six Star Trek TV series, all four Stargate series, The Fugitive, Lost, Babylon 5, all incarnations of Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Heroes, Red Dwarf, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Get Smart, Swamp Thing: The Series, The Prisoner, Lost in Space, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Space: 1999, Planet of the Apes, Ren and Stimpy and Pink Panther—and thanks to friends with similar collections, I have access to tons of other series as well that I could borrow if I wanted to try something new.

DVD, Blu-ray and DVR have spoiled me. After years spent enjoying these technologies, I now hate having to wait for weeks or months to watch the next episode of a TV seires, and I hate having to sit through commercials even more. When I watch a series, I want to be able to view it from start to finish at my own pace, on whichever television or computer suits my fancy, and sans plastic-smiling pitchmen and fluff-headed pop stars trying to sell me acne medicine, hemorrhoid remedies, Michael Bay films (which some might consider worse than either acne or hemorrhoids), luxury cars and beer—not to mention ads for crap like professional wrestling and fake ghost hunters on what is supposed to be a channel devoted to science fiction.

I'm a magazine editor and freelance writer who is lucky to have been able to work from home. That means I have time each morning between getting my son on the school bus and starting the work day 40 minutes later, and again at lunch time, to pop in a disc and pick up where I left off the day before. In this way, my daily TV-boxset fix keeps me sane despite my high workload.

In recent years, I've thus been able to re-watch the entire Star Trek franchise, as well as the complete runs of The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, Young Indiana Jones, Galactica, Heroes and B5. And as I've watched each episode, I've been having running e-mail dialogs with friends who share my interest in those shows, describing my reactions to individual episodes, as well as my thoughts on particular characters, trends and so forth.

It recently occurred to me that I've missed a major opportunity by not logging these reactions on a blog for posterity. It seems a natural thing to do—each daily e-mail chain has played out like a running blog commentary, and instead of sharing my thoughts only with close friends, I could open the conversation up to the entire blogging community... or, at least, the two or three people who might choose to stop by.

It's a shame I only thought of doing this now, as I could have logged hundreds—perhaps thousands—of blog entries by this point if I'd been doing it all along. However, it's never too late to start. After all, I have them all on DVD, so I can always watch them yet again.

My goal with this blog is to discuss an episode a day, from whatever TV series I'm watching at that moment. At any given time, I'm usually enjoying multiple series. Currently, for instance, I'm working my way through simultaneous viewings of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, after which I'm tempted to force myself to sit through the other two Stargate series, Infinity and Universe, just to be able to say I did. If I do, I'll definitely document that journey here, as I stopped watching both shows very early into their runs due to a serious lack of interest. I'm also planning to finally watch Farscape (of which I've only ever seen the pilot), as well as the original Galactica and Quantum Leap. Expect to see those dissected as well.

And who knows? Someday, I may choose to revisit Trek, Stargate, BSG and the other shows I already re-ran. In the meantime, stick around—it should be a fun ride.

Have a great holiday season, folks. I hope to see you back here in early 2011, when I actually begin my TV-blogging journey.