entertainment, television

Why I’ve Basically Stopped Watching Television

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I have tried. I have tried watching modern sitcoms, murder mysteries, medical dramas, other types of dramas, historical pieces, and “historical” pieces, epic fantasies. Even children’s programs don’t seem to have the same standards for storytelling that they used to (I mean, so it’s for kids, it still has to make at least a little bit of sense).

Anyway, the only things I truly enjoy watching anymore are Jeopardy!The Big Bang Theory with White Fang, PBS Nature, and the occasional Masterpiece Theatre. I would much rather listen to music, read, or put in a movie.

There are lots of specific, smaller reasons why when it comes to individual programs that either I used to like or that I never did like after watching a few episodes. But here are the major ones:

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The plots become tedious. There’s been a murder, the detectives find clues, exchange witty banter, almost die, and then solve the murder within two days. A patient enters the hospital with something like a stubbed toe, and discovers they have the worst kind of disease ever; after delivering the bad news to the one-episode guest star, the doctors all go sleep with each other. Whatever small problem happens in the sitcom — a child fails a math test, the neighbor’s car breaks down, the beautiful pre-law student stumbles on her neighbor kissing her sister’s boyfriend — somehow it’s all magically fixed within 22 minutes. It’s all very predictable; and for me, predictable often equals boring.

Too much sex, gory violence, and profanity is not my cup of tea. I honestly don’t care if some feel these elements make a show “more realistic” or “more exciting.” Since fiction is supposed to be an escape for most of us, I would really rather not be reminded of the more brutal and less noble aspects of humanity while trying to be “entertained.” I’m actually finding myself beginning to lose respect for actors that I repeatedly see in very violent or sexual programs (via the previews and commercials — usually a 30-second clip helps me determine very quickly if I’ll be watching more, or not).

Why does there have to be a social justice agenda to everything? Why the heck does a fictional superhero need to care who won the U.S. 2016 election? Why do we need to be bombarded with characters “coming out” in alternate lifestyles? Why is it so important to shoehorn current debates on climate change and captive marine mammals into battles between comic book heroes and villains? Hint, TV industry — they don’t, we don’t, and it isn’t.

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If series go on for too long, they tend to get repetitive, and dull. I know that ratings (translation, money) tends to make the decision much more than the quality of a program as to how long the program develops new episodes. But as far as I’m concerned, I think there should be such a thing called “artistic integrity,” meaning that directors/scriptwriters/actors know — and respect — when it’s time to call it quits.

I simply don’t find many TV characters I can relate to. If our society is supposed to be building tolerance for formerly “marginalized” people, then why don’t we have well-researched and kind portrayals of characters with autism, ADHD, physical disabilities, Down’s syndrome, phobias, blindness, deafness, and so much more? Why can’t we have TV families that live in a modest duplex, or single parents working as janitors, or college students who actually have to share an apartment in a lower middle class neighborhood and don’t drive a Porsche? (Also, without any of these situations being poked fun at?)

We used to have TV shows airing that covered a lot of these things, respectfully and with good writing and acting. I’m not necessarily one for nostalgia, but I do find myself starting many sentences regarding prime time broadcasts with, “I remember when…” And I truly think I shouldn’t have to be considered “an old foagie” to be feeling this way.

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I just can’t get on board with “reality” TV. For one thing, most of it isn’t real. Sorry to burst your bubble, folks. (Actually, not that sorry.)

Game shows and talent competitions make me yawn. This is probably a strong personal preference, but it’s yet another reason that I avoid or ignore the screen.

So, now that I’ve spent a fair amount of time whinging at you, what are your thoughts? Do you struggle to find something worth your precious free time when it comes to television? Are you big on Netflix and Amazon original programming — the “way of the future”? Or would you rather we go back to the days of 10 channels with quality shows on at least 7 of them most nights of the week?

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18 thoughts on “Why I’ve Basically Stopped Watching Television”

    1. On the whole, I’m not opposed to the idea of having a female Time Lord. In fact, in some ways, I’d really like to see what a show about a female Time Lord would be like. (River Song does not count in millions and millions of ways. Nor does that one episode with the Doctor/Donna.)

      BUT I really, really don’t think now is the right time. AND I don’t like the idea of taking a character that has always, through 12 incarnations, been male, and suddenly changing that.

      However, I truly do wish Jodie Whittaker the best of luck. She could do a fantastic job as an actress. So that’s really what I’m going to be hoping for.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I very much agree. I have to filter through 12 junk shows just to find anything good! My family often digs into the older shows (We love All Creatures Great and Small, MacGyver, the Andy Griffith Show, and the old Star Treks). Every time I try to switch back to something “modern” I get horrified and disappointed. Masterpiece Classics are usually good, but other Masterpiece programs are going downhill too. ;( Oh well. I guess that is what movies and books are for!

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    1. More and more often these days, I find myself giving up on shows I had previously enjoyed. A lot of Masterpiece I still enjoy — when I get the chance to see it, which is what’s becoming less for me in that regard. But I’ve pretty much abandoned everything else on basic, apart from Jeopardy and The Big Bang Theory; and cable is generally one big cesspool for me, unless there’s a decent nature program on National Geographic or something. Yeah, I’d so much rather put in a movie or stream something!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So I haven’t completely stopped watching all modern television, but I’ve seriously cut back (one of the main reasons I started watching Supernatural was cos it was older) Right now the only two shows I watch that are currently airing are poldark and Game of thrones- cos I agree with you that storytelling has massively gone downhill. You are so so right about the plots being way to tedious- I think half the shows I used to watch and quit were evidence of that.

    AND OH MY GOODNESS YES THE SOCIAL JUSTICE THING HAS KILLED TV FOR ME!!! That was the death knell for all the other shows I watched. The best example of this is what’s happened on the BBC- especially the children’s programmes. I used to love children’s tv- cos while I can watch more gory stuff (hello game of thrones) I prefer most of my tv to be innocent and light. BUT in the last year or so everything became straight up propaganda- it actually concerns me that there are children watching these because they are *so slanted*. I think also what you were talking about was specifically why I stopped watching Supergirl- I mean that was supposed to be a fun show which was pro women empowerment- but in season 2 it became about how Hilary Clinton should have won the election (because she was an alien) and characters having massive turnarounds with their sexuality (I wouldn’t have minded if it hadn’t come out of nowhere) and Kara being flat out abusive to her boyfriend (seriously- I couldn’t stomach the way she treated him “unless you do what I say I can’t see this working”- that’s flat out emotional abuse, not feminism or romance). I also think it’s a problem that they look at the world from such a narrow perspective and assume everyone must agree with them. Ughh sorry for ranting it’s just something that really irks me!

    Also don’t we all watch tv to take a break from reality? And you’re right for all their inclusivity it’s *ridiculously* narrow and there are so many things they won’t touch. You don’t sound like an old foagie at all- I just think people will see the difference for themselves if they watch tv from 10 years ago. And yeah I’ve zero interest in game shows or reality tv- if I wanted to fry my brain cells, I’d sit out in the sun!

    And I thought you’d add this since you mentioned it in another comment- I *one hundred percent agree with you about doctor who. I’m not opposed to female time lords/ladies but *why* were they too lazy to write a half decent new character for this role. A lot of people argue that this is to give girls a role model- but I don’t understand why they had to take away a male role model in order to do it. It just infuriates me no end. Like you said, he had been a man for 12 incarnations- it was a totally unnecessary change. I also don’t like the fact that people say it was “canon” when this was only shoehorned in the last few years so that they could do this. Like you said, I wish her the best of luck, however I’ve long been over how ridiculously bad that show’s got.

    sorry for this overlong and ranty comment!! Fantastic subject and post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And don’t worry about the ranting — this whole post was basically one long rant!

      Yeah, I gave up on all the superhero shows a few months back, because I simply COULD NOT STAND the torture anymore of all the not-so-subtle jabs and indoctrination. It’s like writers would pick a name out of a hat to determine who was going to come out of the closet as the villain, gay, or a dog that secretly wanted to be a porcupine, just to “toe the line.” Like you said, if it comes out of nowhere, without any hinting in previous episodes, then it’s clear that it’s to complete an agenda. “Supergirl” literally made me want to throw things (and rescue Mon-El because he deserved much better).

      And, as you said, there are even kids’ shows being affected — I am having to be extremely careful about monitoring what my kids watch. A few weeks ago, a program that they’d regularly been watching (a little beyond Muffin’s age range, but still appropriate content), totally flipped with a blatantly social justice thing shoehorned in, and man, did that piss me off! White Fang is, of course, much more capable of making up his own mind, so I don’t mind if he comes across some stuff about sexual orientation, etc. (especially since I am teaching him to treat everyone with love, even if you don’t understand something they’re doing). But I think anything aimed at kids 10 and under should be off limits with this crap!! As you pointed out, the way they call themselves “inclusive” but it only counts if you agree with their views is SUCH nonsense!!

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      1. You’re welcome! That’s a relief!

        Yeah you are *so so* right! I used to love those types of programmes, but not anymore. Every episode there was something- a soundbite from an actual political campaign or some not-so-subtle propagandistic untruth or like you said some new character deciding they were a porcupine 😉 (hehe nice one by the way!)- I just couldn’t take it anymore :/ Yeah, they actually put things in that *made no sense* to the story just to make a point. And YES that was exactly how I ended up feeling about Supergirl too (and poor Monel! Ughh I couldn’t stand one more week of her literally saying abusive things about him because he was a man :/ not okay)

        Yes- it’s really fantastic that you’re doing that. It horrifies me that some children are watching this stuff- it’s really *not okay* to stick sjw stuff into these shows! Yeah- one hundred percent agree!! What bothers me even more is that a lot of this stuff- regardless of age- is that in the UK the biggest culprit of this stuff is the BBC- and they are funded with tax payer money!!! So even if you don’t want to, you’re funding the potential indoctrination of little children, teens and even adults. Of course the BBC claims to be unbiased but a) it’s impossible for a broadcaster to be unbiased (& why they need to be privatised) and b) the evidence clearly points to the contrary- as with this doctor who debacle. It’s just ridiculous- because it also goes against the principles of *a lot* of people in the country- for instance in one children’s programme they were using anti-Brexit slogans and rhetoric of the evils of old people (which was a very popular narrative after the referendum, encouraging young people to believe they were betrayed by their grandparents). Like you said, it’s “inclusive” but only as long as you agree with them on everything (meanwhile the goalposts keep moving, so who knows how you’re supposed to keep up anyway)

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      2. Yeah, for me the line was drawn when I couldn’t find a single show that didn’t have some sort of modern political thing thrown in — and I don’t watch a lot of stuff to begin with, so week after week, my DVR would shrink from, say, 8 shows to 6, then 4… I enjoyed “Riverdale,” but they so clearly inserted a sexual orientation for a character that I’m sure the original Archie Comics never intended, purely due to the show being set in the 21st century. And for years, “Supernatural” seemed to be the last holdout for playing to the political arena — focusing on the storyline seemed more important — until they changed showrunners after season 10, and — boom! So that ticked me off, too, because it was totally not necessary for the advancement of the plot!!

        And you’re right — I think it’s about time the UK lets TV become privatized, because the broadcasters having far too much power by receiving taxpayers’ funds and using it to push a minority (in many ways) agenda is not okay — nor should it be considered so!

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      3. Yes I was the exact same!! Yep my list has just gone down ridiculously. I used to watch about the same amount, now I’m down to 2 just in the summer and watching old shows. I haven’t got that far into Supernatural yet, but I’m gonna take your word for it and stop around then. I can’t see why that show would ever have to be political! And I gave up on Riverdale- I saw too many people getting on the showrunners about making a character ace/aro (whatever the term is) and when they started bowing and scraping to their demands, I thought I’m decidedly *not* their target audience

        Yeah, it’s ridiculous. I don’t see it happening because there’s still a group of people who parrot back the whole “the BBC is unbiased” malarkey and would throw a gasket if it was privatised (I don’t see why that lot can’t just pay for it out of their own pocket). Yeah it’s so so not okay! And there are huge swathes of the population who are not okay with it. (In fact the majority, given their anti-Brexit stance)

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      4. Yeah, I highly recommend acting like the finale of season 10 of Supernatural is actually the end. If it had been (with a few particular tweaks), it would have been PHENOMENAL, and they would’ve had my undying respect for going out with a bang. But now (on the cusp of season 13), it’s become ridiculously grasping at straws, and the acting/directing is just not what it was. A shame for the actors who have invested so much in it.

        And I agree — I think that forcing the entire public to pay for something they may be ethically opposed to is simply not all right!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think anything that tries to run for more than 10 years is taking a massive risk. It’s been proven time and time again that the shows that finished the strongest wrapped it up soon after they started lagging — not years beyond when most of the hardcore fans were done!

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  3. Yep, the propaganda is very prominent in TV — though I see it in movies and books as well — and I don’t see a lot of people talking about it or how it annoys them, so I so appreciate this post. 🙂

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    1. The thing about propaganda or messages in books or movies, it’s more easy to avoid — you can simply choose not to read that book or view that movie. With so many cable channels chock full of show after show after show that maintains this craziness, including the news and even sports and weather, it’s almost impossible not to come across it. For example, you want to check the weather forecast with one simple click (instead of waiting for your computer to boot up, connect online, etc.), and suddenly, there’ll be something about man-made global warming. Or you simply wanted to see who won the big game — but guess what, there’s a big debate going on about how the NFL is racist. The news has stopped being about reporting the facts, without personal commentary, and become all about delivering an ideology (and I blame *both* liberal and conservative sides for this).

      We’ve talked about trying to cancel our cable, but in our area, there isn’t an alternative for internet service, or basic TV, other than the cable company that’s been getting increasingly more expensive and carrying less stuff we actually watch. We’re kind of between a rock and a hard place in that regard — and I find it hard to believe it’s just my family.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, yes, good points. I don’t actually HAVE Cable or TV myself, so I just don’t watch “TV” unless it’s like a show I get on DVD from a library, so I was just talking about the show side of things, not thinking about the rest. 🙂 But yep.

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      2. We couldn’t even watch the news tonight without there being an incredibly skewed piece on how much emissions American traffic produces. It’s really getting to me. Cutting back or even cancelling our cable wouldn’t change that stuff.

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