My Savior, My Smart TV
New shows are to be approached warily, examined for any possible weakness in writing or casting.
The first cut is the deepest.
I remember when the phobia began. It was a Friday evening and and my homework was done, dinner eaten and I was now parked in front of my family’s one television that I had commandeered for the next hour. The event? A pivotal episode of the series Dark Shadows. Even my mothers declaration that this was a remake of a show she remembered from a long time back did nothing to dissuade me from falling head over heels for it. A soap opera with vampires and witches? I’m in!
I was hooked on this 90's remake and about 9 episodes in. Victoria Winters had just returned from traveling back in time and meeting the same man she knew in modern times as Barnabas. Now Victoria was back in the present day and she and Barnabas would see each other again and she was the only one among the family who knew he was a vampire and he knew she knew! The last episode had ended with her waking (only her consciousness had traveled back in time, her body had been in a coma) and she was staring at him in horror and he was staring at her wondering if she would out him and the episode ended and tonight I would finally see what happened next!
Except I didn't. No one did. In place of Dark Shadows there was some other program on and I later found out that not everyone had been as enthralled with the series as my preteen self was. It was canceled. No warning, no closure. This haunted me for weeks, maybe months. I searched around to try to find books, articles, the original soap, all so I could find out what happened next but I never did. To this day I never have.
The first cut is the deepest but since that first heartbreak there have been many more. My So-called Life, Rome, Lie To Me, Flash Forward are just a few that stand out. This is why I have taken full advantage of modern technology and I now protect myself. To start I invested in a SmartTV with subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix as well as access to FoxNow and HBOGo. I also don't start watching a series until it's well established that it will be around for some time. I started both Scandal and 24 in their third seasons, New Girl and Weeds when in their 4th, Breaking Bad only had 1 season left when I let myself get hooked and The Sopranos, The Wire and Lost had already aired their series finale before I watched the premiere episode.
Here's all I need to get by!
I know what you're thinking. You think I'm part of the problem because if I watched the shows when they originally aired maybe they wouldn't get canceled. Possibly but I'll stick to my method because it's spared me a lot of heartache. I've adored Kiefer Sutherland since Flatliners and watch him in everything but I knew better than to get touched by Touch. I tried to warn my sister about Hawthorne but she didn't listen and ended up writing angry letters to NBC with no response much less any final episode that left her with any closure.
My method has freed me in another way too. Because I rarely watch tv shows in real time I don't need to be in my living room 9pm on Thursdays for Scandal, 8pm on Mondays for Gotham or 8pm on Fridays for Grimm. My schedule is my own and I don't end up with a DVR full of shows that I feel pressure to watch before the space runs out. I can go weeks without watching any tv at all and then choose a day to lay out on the couch and binge watch everything from Orange Is The New Black to an oldie but goodie like Frasier. So right now I’m in season 2 of How I met Your Mother and at some point, maybe next year I’ll get around to seeing what the hoopla over Empire is all about. And that's the way, uh huh! uh huh! I like it!