Monday, April 24, 2017

Binge Watching

I don’t normally watch television. I just got tired of the nonsense and only turn it on for sports or special events. It is choice to get additional free time without wasting my time.
Well, it has been raining. That limits my outside duties but it was too cool and clammy to do my inside duties so I turned on the TV. I was going to watch fast cars turn left but it was raining there too, so I started to surf.
It is like unplugging my brain to be overcome by a series of pharmaceutical and junk food ads interspersed with young good-looking people saying regurgitated scripts. Luckily I only have a few channels to go through but it is the same on every click.
A few years ago, the rabbit ear networks wanted to compete with the overwhelming cable media, so they came out with these off-brand channels. No name stars in formulated cookie cutter cast that go on and on forever.
So I found this show called “White Collar” and sat back to watch. I didn’t have any expectations of fine acting and was not disappointed. The plot, as long as I could tell, was about the FBI getting some con man out of prison to help them solve cases. I can’t make this stuff up. If you want to know more, check it out on the web.
The cast is the usual handsome young chiseled chin lad wear finely pressed suit with a quirky fedora (nod to the youngsters). His nemesis was the leader of the FBI squad with glass offices as big as a house. Of course there was the weird little bald guy who stirred up trouble, the stern big strong token black guy with few lines, and the young tightly dressed female who was maybe oriental and a bit chunky but was not the love interest. A recurring criminal slinky redhead that kept it just slightly interesting caused the romantic angst.
The hour turned and the next episode came on and then another and then another. Wasted an entire afternoon following this cast of characters bumble their way thorough the plot with their constant banter and witty innuendos.
Binge watching does show the flaws of staging or perhaps limited budgets. Each scene was photographed at the same angle. The sets were one room apartment, the glass offices that doubled for offices, museums and hotels (be sure to get lots of outside shots as filler) and a loading dock from an old warehouse for all the action scenes. There were no car crashes or chase scenes and no explosions (again the budget?). The little bald guy was a drinker but no one ever eats on television. For that matter no one ever sits down and binges on television on television. Oh and there was this FBI truck disguised as a moving van or something with a plastic curtain like in a meat market where the FBI guys could cram into and listen to headphones at every cast members soliloquy without any background noise.
Now as interesting as I’ve made this program sound after four episodes I had to go back to staring at a blank screen. While it did have a few twist in the storyline I personally found it too formulated and have seen it all before with a different cast of characters.
My wife was a TV junkie. She started out with soap operas; mainly “General Hospital” so between 1PM to 5PM there was no disturbing her or keeping her from her shows. She spoke of them as if they were family and I even tried to be polite and watch along with her but a character would change at the blink of an eye without explanation or logical reasoning and she found that totally acceptable. After she died I continued the routine until one day had the ‘Ah Ha!’ moment.
Since then I’ve missed Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and many more titles that just cannot hold my attention any longer. Now and again, like for a rain day, I’ll try to find some old classics to watch more out of memory and set details than plot interest.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

"Twilight Zone" episodes, though getting really old by now, can still grab you despite the arch overacting and 40s camera angles. Alfred Hitchcock had a fine series, too, but haven't seen that one on. They were even more formulaic back then, but the overall quality was higher when there were only three or four outlets, instead of 1000.