Turned on and tuned in
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!