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Bored with TV

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2017-04-21


Lately, Iíve been growing bored with TV series way too early. Itís like we live in this golden time of TV when there are all these crazy and amazing things to see nearly every night of the week Ö and all I can do is to watch a few episodes, at most, of a show that a few years ago I would have been hooked on and been a loyal viewer. But nowadays, if I get a bit bored with a show or it fails to connect directly to me within the first episode or two Iím as likely as not to give up on it as to stick with it a little while and see where it goes.

I didnít used to be that way. I remember decades ago watching loads and loads and loads of bad TV since that was all that was on. Great series were the rarity and there might only be a few of them to air each year. I remember watching things like Evening Shade and seaQuest DSV, not because they were amazing, but because they were on. And Iím sure I could list dozens of similar shows like those that I watched each and every episode of because there werenít many other options.
Back then I watched a lot TV series in syndication from past decades too. I ended up watching entire runs of shows like The Brady Bunch and Qunicy M.E. decades after they originally aired. Heck, I can remember a few summers where each morning my brother and myself would watch The Facts of Life then Quantum Leap each and every weekday as we worked through those shows.

Nowadays I donít think I could do that. There are a lot of series that Iíve never seen like The Rockford Files or Baretta that are easy enough to watch on various streaming services. Iíve tried watching them but I just canít get past the idea that each episode of dramas pre (say) 1993 are essentially the same episode over and over again where the characters never change throughout the run of the show that tell mostly the same story with subtle variations.

But I bet that if those two series had been in syndication the summers when I was a teen I would have watched every episode with great glee. It makes me wonder, have my tastes changed in the last 20 years so that now Iím a better connoisseur of dramas and comedies, or was I simply more adventurous and accepting of series than I am now?
It concerns me too just how fast Iíll lose interest on a show. It seems like Iíll give a show two or three seasons before I start getting bored by it and start looking for other new and exciting things. The Americans and Halt and Catch Fire are two shows that were some of my favorite things on TV the last few years, but for whatever reason I failed to connect with during their most recent seasons. I donít think those series have started producing bad episodes or have started to go downhill, I suspect the problem lies with me and my attention span.

I wonder too what would happen today if a show like ER on NBC debuted today? Would I even watch it? ER was an influential show for me in that I started to see just how TV series could be something more than it had been. But today I think Iíd take one look at something like ER and probably dismiss it out of hand without watching it.
It might be true that I have become less adventurous in what I chose to watch but itís also true that with the current state of TV where literally new series are debuted on a weekly basis, many of which are quite good, I can afford to be this way. Does something like Six, The Mick or Channel Zero not immediately connect with me? Well, give up on it and move onto something else since thereíll be something new along next week.

I donít necessarily think this is a completely terrible way to be since, letís face it, while there might be lots of great series most TV produced today isnít very good. But I do wonder whatever happened to the person I used to be that would take a chance on just about anything and see if it was any good or not?

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