TV Talk: My Television Schedule

Updated with new networks.
Here’s something many of you probably never expected to hear me say (or read me write for that matter): I watch too much TV. Okay, I don’t really mean that, at least not in the traditional sense. I don’t actually have a problem with the number of hours I spend in front of the television (well, okay, in front of the computer which is in front of the television), but rather the number of shows I’m currently watching.

What’s the issue? Well, every week it seems that most of my free time is spent keeping my DVR clear of the new shows that air, leaving me less time for other important matters, like movies or TV box sets (ha… and you thought I was going to say “reading”). This is an issue because there’s a good chunk of TV series that I’m currently following that aren’t as good as the ones I’d like to be watching on DVD (The Shield in particular). So I figured a good exercise would be to look at all the TV series currently airing new episodes that I follow, and maybe make some choices that will ease my burden (or, you know, “burden” as it were). After all, the last time I used this space to muse about a show that I no longer cared for, I cut the cord a week later.

Plus, I thought it could be fun for you all to see exactly what I’m watching, day by day. You know, if you were wondering.

This is the busiest night of the week, busier when there’s a Sunday Night Football game on that I’m interested in. So after a long day of watching NFL football, I’ve got five more TV shows ot watch, some of which hang around a bit throughout the week. The number was six, as we were watching Weeds on Showcase (it airs here in Canada after it finishes airing on Showtime in the States), but a DVR mishap led to a non-recording of this week’s episode, forcing me to the download option. Since I was already downloading anyway, I went ahead and downloaded the rest of the season, burning them on to DVD and freeing me up to watch it at my leisure (of course, there’s that time crunch thing I was writing about earlier).

Mad Men

Mad Men

The day kicks off with Mad Men, the best drama on TV. That ends next week with the season two finale, opening things up a bit since AMC has nothing to replace it. Entourage airs concurrently, which I still watch even though its not very good. It’s been a bit better this season, but the truth is most likely that I still watch Entourage because it’s easier to watch than it is not to watch it. Were it a full hour show, I’m pretty sure we would’ve given up on it by now. The Amazing Race is next (we’d watch it earlier, but the east coast feed is always delayed by football, so it’s not DVR-friendly). The show is up and down in terms of quality (based on casting), but is generally a fun hour. Dexter will take over from Mad Men as the best show of the night, and possibly the best drama overall, although I’m not sure if it will ever be as good as it was in season one.

Finally, we continue to watch HBO’s True Blood for reasons that kind of escape me. It’s easily the worst show we watch, but it always seems to manage enough interesting things week to week to keep it on our series recording list (usually with cliffhanger murders of cast members). I’m thinking the fact that it’s on Sunday night when our DVR is empty is why it has stuck around. If it were later in the week, we’d probably never get around to it. It’s probably the best bet to be dropped, but the fact that we’re already halfway through the season makes the choice a little harder (with the thinking that we’ve made it this far, we might as well see it through).

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Again, football can take over the night from time to time. It’s not an automatic, as my wife only tolerates my football viewing for so long, but if it’s a game I’m interested in (i.e., is important to my fantasy football team), I’ll watch. Otherwise, it’s a night for catching up on Sunday’s shows, How I Met Your Mother, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. HIMYM is a favourite and a highlight of the week, but Terminator is on the bubble. It’s a show I want to like more than I actually do, owing almost entirely to the fun performance by Summer Glau. When they give her Cameron terminator character enough to do, and the action has enough forward momentum, then it’s a fun hour of TV. When they bog the show down with Lena Headley‘s dull monologues and brooding, giving us time to think about all of the problems associated with the show’s time travelling motifs, then it’s a not a fun hour of TV (I dropped Heroes from the schedule for similar problems). In any case, it sounds like this choice will be made for us, as the show gets horrible ratings. I wouldn’t be surprised if next week’s episode is the series’ last, with FOX deciding to not bring it back after the World Series break.

A night off! We watch nothing that airs on Tuesday, so it looks like the best bet as movie night (or on heavy football weeks, catch up night). We gave Fringe a shot with its pilot, but it was too procedural-y for our tastes. We were also catching up on season two of The Tudors, which just started airing on CBC a few weeks ago, but I’ve given up on it. The wife will still watch it when I’m not around (she’s also watching 90210), but I just can’t pretend that I’m interested anymore.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

In truth, it would be better for me if our Wednesday shows were swapped with out Tuesday shows, as Wednesday is basketball night (where I actually step away from the TV and play sports, rather than just watching them). Thus, we have to squeeze in America’s Next Top Model and Dirty Sexy Money when I’m around. To be honest, if my wife wasn’t into those shows, I wouldn’t bother. ANTM is so rigidly stuck to its formula that I’m not even sure it qualifies as guilty pleasure anymore, while Dirty Sexy Money is busy shedding any of the good things Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland brought to elevate it last season in order to become a complete guilty pleasure. It might be the next show I let Kim watch by herself (perhaps while I’m away playing ball) if Krause doesn’t do enough to keep me around.

Wednesday nights are also the night of Friday Night Lights, but since Direct TV isn’t available anywhere in Canada (as opposed to the barely-anywhere that it’s available in the US), I don’t get the show until Friday or so off the net. I was going to wait for it to air on NBC, but decided that I’d rather be involved in the online discussion of the show than catch it in HD. Oh, and if you’re wondering, after two episodes, the show seems better than last season, which is hopeful, since you have to figure that this will be its last. Here’s hoping it gets a better swansong than last year would have been.

The next busiest night of the week, with shows that air later in the night generally hanging around on the DVR for the next couple of days (we don’t watch shows as they air, as it would expose us to the dreaded commercials). Thursday is home to my favourite show, The Office, and will be home to my other favourite show, 30 Rock, at the end of the month. Until then, I’ll be checking out SNL Weekend Update Thursday, if for no other reason than to keep me from watching it online at work the next day. Like The Amazing Race, Survivor is up and down due to its dependence on casting, but I like the game too much to ever consider dropping it. Survivor: Gabon so far has been a little dull, but at least it hasn’t been hateful. These things tend to pick up after some of the chaff is cut, so hopefully that’s coming.

The Office

The Office

My feelings toward Grey’s Anatomy have improved from antipathy to simple apathy, which probably describes my wife’s feelings too. But dropping it is entirely up to her, and if she’ll continue to watch it, so will I. It’s basically the only show she watches that the majority of her coworkers watch, so I’m guessing that we watch it just so she has something to talk to them about. Ah well, gives me time to catch up on my blogging. We also gave ER another shot after years of not watching, drawn in by its final season and the promised returns of former cast members, but after a couple of episodes found that we couldn’t be brought to care about the characters that actually make up the cast (even the ones that were carryovers from when we stopped watching). After we give up on Grey’s, I think it’ll be a long time before we watch another medical show again. The whole format is tiresome now.

We checked out Life on Mars last week, and it wasn’t bad. But I’m still wavering on why I should check it out again. The concept is fun, and the style was fresh, but at the same time, I feel like it’s going to ultimately shape up to be a slightly-different cop show. If I’m going to spend my time watching a cop show, it would probably be better spent on the next six seasons of The Shield. We’ll give it another week to find out.

And that’s the week. Somewhere in there I squeeze in four episodes each of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report when my wife is at work. In total, I’m currently watching 17 shows (including The Daily Show and Colbert) plus football, which is a lot, right? Of those, I’m ambivalent toward seven of those shows, so there’s room to move. And now that I’ve written it down, maybe there will be some movement. So listen up shows… you’re on notice!

Yep, Im going back to this gag again

Yep, I'm going back to this gag again

8 thoughts on “TV Talk: My Television Schedule

  1. The gag… it never really gets old.

    What would American prime time be without a steady supply of British shows to ripoff? Game shows, reality shows, sitcoms, dramas… there’s nothing they won’t try to rework into a US version. I’m not just trying to be the facetious Brit here, either. I just wonder how many writers out there in Hollywood (or wherever) with original ideas are getting shafted by the networks who would rather plunder the UK market.

  2. This TV season was especially dire for new shows ripping off shows from the UK and elsewhere. If it wasn’t the UK (Life on Mars, The Eleventh Hour), it was Australia (Kath & Kim), or Israel (The Ex-List), and if that didn’t work, they just ripped off old US shows (Knight Rider, 90210). The trick for writers with original ideas is to avoid network, and look to cable.

  3. Here is my schedule:

    Sunday – Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, True Blood, Entourage and Dexter
    Monday – How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Prison Break and Sarah Connor
    Tuesday – The Shield
    Wednesday – Friday Night Lights, South Park
    Thursday – My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    Prison Break, Heroes and Terminator I have fallen behind on, and will probably cath up on later on DVD. I recently added Sunny in Philly and find that it is easily one of the funniest shows on television.

  4. I really enjoyed the first season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it started to wear thin for me during the second. I’m not sure if it was the introduction of Danny DeVito’s character that threw off the balance of the cast, or the simple fact that the shock value of the humour started to wear off. I’m currently watching season three on my iPod.

    I thought you used to watch The Amazing Race, did you stop or was a I wrong about that?

  5. I was once a Survivor fan, but never got in to the Amazing Race. Perhaps one of these seasons I’ll start watching, but Sundays are pretty booked for tv right now.

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