Turned on and tuned in

Friday, 14 June 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I know this is the time of year when I'm supposed to watch less TV, not more. It's barely dark out at 10 pm for goodness' sake! But always having been one to go against the grain, I am finding myself making excuses to friends' invitations to go sit on patios and cutting out of early summer beach frolicking to watch whatever show I happen to be obsessed with this week. And I blame it all on Apple TV.

This little gadget, that you just plug into your television, is even more exciting than the invention of the PVR!  I’ve been cancelling channels off my cable subscription left, right and centre.  If I want to watch something I just go to ITunes or Netflix.  Check my local listings?  Who does that anymore?  

I have never been one to be on the forefront of technical advances, so if I’m doing it, that’s a sure sign it’s about to be big with the masses.  But apparently some people still do watch scheduled programming because the number of cable subscribers isn’t going down as fast as the number of Netflix subscribers is going up.  

A lot of people talk about cutting the cord from cable, but still haven’t.  That might be because they still want to watch live events like sports, breaking news or, I suspect, The Bachelor.  I tell myself the only reason I still have cable is that I’m in the business, and I need to know what’s on TV.  So I generally know what’s happening on Bachelor.  It’s a tough job.

On any given night last week, as the sun still blazed outside, I was on my sofa watching 3, 4, 5, or 6 episodes of Scandal.  In fact, I’m slightly ashamed to admit that one night I watched a total of EIGHT episodes in a row.  I just can’t get enough of The President and Olivia’s hotness.  The acting is so overdone but starting an episode is like opening a bag of Doritos.  I can’t stop at one.  

I’m watching so much TV, I’m starting to mix up characters and story lines.  Starting House of Cards while in the middle of Scandal was a bad idea.

It’s an exciting time to be a viewer.  The TV industry in general in this country is in a state of flux.  At the moment, television broadcasters have a long and complex list of regulations to which they must adhere.  Every Canadian TV broadcaster needs a license from our regulatory body (the CRTC), and to hold on to said license they have to invest in a certain amount of – and depending on their license – a particular type of Canadian content.  

The CRTC is promising to open up discussions to change that, but who knows how long that’ll take.  Meanwhile, the internet is the wild west.  Netflix?  They’ve essentially become a broadcaster; I go there to find shows and download them onto my TV. Netflix doesn’t need a license and doesn’t care about Canadian content.

Canadian broadcasters are, of course, working on their own versions of Netflix, but how they’ll all fit together on the broadcast horizon and who will be left standing is another question altogether.  Something tells me it’s all going to come down to Google.  I really wish I’d invented Google.

Here are my top choices for summer TV viewing.  Think of it this way, while everyone else is outside playing, you’ll have the sofa all to yourself.

1. Homeland: if you’re into espionage.
2. Scandal: American network style political drama.  But it’s really about the ongoing affair between The President and his muse.
3. House of Cards: if you liked West Wing you’ll love this.  Kevin Spacey at his finest.
4. Game of Thrones: also a political drama, old school style.  Complete with Kings and Queens, incest, brothels and some very bloody battles.
5. Arrested Development: one of the funniest sitcoms ever written.
6.  Nashville: it’s Dallas with country music. What could be better?
7.  The Walking Dead: if you’re into Armageddon-type dramas.  I’m only a few episodes in and still unconvinced.  I’m afraid to watch this one alone.

It’s going to be Labour Day before I get through this list.  Please send me your favourites if I’m missing anything!


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  • bluegrass69

    Try “Saving Grace” and “The Glades” for great, uninhibited cop drama.

  • Sue

    Vancouver-filmed Motive. They start the show by revealing who was killed and who the killer is. Then the investigators have to figure it out. The show aired on CTV earlier this year and now is re-airing on CTV and ABC (as of May 20 as it was picked up by ABC.)

    Also Once Upon a Time (also filmed in Vancouver – Steveston is where ‘Storybrook’ is located) – fairy tale characters with no memory of their previous life in another land. Adds endings to common fairy tales you’d never expect.

    I’ve also enjoyed watching “The Americans” about Russian spies in the US during the early 80s.and Defiance and Lost Girl (the latter two are filmed in Toronto), on Showcase Canada and SyFy in the US. So many shows to get hooked on!

  • nunnyabiz86

    Scandal is also my fave at the moment…can’t wait for it to be back in September!

  • Tim Edwards

    Love Game of thrones. Are you going to watch True Blood? If you need someone to watch The Walking Day just give me a call. Lol

  • Eugen

    I did the marathon thing with NewsRadio and Sherlock on Netflix. I also enjoyed The IT Crowd as well.

    I love on demand viewing but it can suck you in pretty easily…

  • Erin Frew

    Camelot on Netflix was pretty good, I just wish that they hadn’t stopped filming -they only made one season! But it was still entertaining and fun to watch!

  • annaandkristina

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Keep them coming!

  • Sarah Whyte

    Sherlock (with Benedict Cumberbatch) is a must. I’m also watching Weeds — which is very funny … quick & snappy. Enjoy! We are also cable free with Apple TV and it is a discipline not to buy everything from iTunes. But, if you are going to buy something, I highly recommend The Newsroom. I’m not sure how you would experience it as someone who has worked in the industry — but I love the show — and pretty much anything else done by Aaron Sorkin.