Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Excellence of Television
People sometimes get a little cranky about TV. Either there's too much of something they don't like (reality TV, infomercials, doctors in love), or not enough of what they miss (whether it's the Beav or Buffy). And people don't want to admit they watch TV all that much, anyway. "Oh, I happened to catch five minutes of Oprah or American Idol or America's Next Top Model . . ."
Several years ago I realized that if I read 50 to 75 books a year, then I had enough credit built up to also watch as much TV as I wanted. What I realized, in this orgy of CRT love, was that TV . . . had gotten pretty darn wonderful. Great acting, fantastic stories, and the time to really explore characters and their worlds to an extent the multiplex will never match. Rome and Deadwood were as compelling as any documentary or drama I'd seen in the last ten years. I liked Dexter way better than the books. Supernatural was a delicious fill-in for Angel. True Blood was a little steamy for my taste, but In Treatment had me glued to my couch.
And you know what? I don't even have premium cable. I watched all of the above series courtesy of the library - and at no charge. I checked out each season of Deadwood (in order, of course) for 14 days and had my own little McShane Marathon.
So here's to the magnificence of the small screen! Whether it's a classic like The Far Pavilions or a gritty eye-opener like The Wire, you can enjoy it long after its run has ended. What's on your personal marathon list?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to put a reserve on Little Dorrit. Hey, it won all those Emmys, I should give it a chance.