This isn’t a proper blog about stuff that pees me off – but there are little elements of it all in there. Please note: As it is early on a Saturday, I have metaphorically vomited the words through the power of the keyboard. So if it’s a proper edit you’re looking for, I apologise as you will be disappointed. I type exactly how I speak at this hour.
All comments are my own and now meant to offend. But they probably will.
I love TV. I love it. I watch all that I can, and it is mostly US shows. I do watch the off british show but it’s so dull. I like the hype of flashy lights and strong narration… ‘Previously on…’
One thing I wish: when I watch UK shows, they’ve had their adverts cut – I love US adverts. If you read this blog, you’ll realise, I have a knack for criticising adverts, later you’ll read why, but I wish so much I could watch the ultimate cheese on toast that is American adverts.
By the way: A bit of context to why I am such a telly enthusiast: I work for myself as a webpreneur so I spend hours and hours editing online. Choice telly (I choose myself) is a lifeline to me. Sad, but true. At least it’s not shoes or handbags. And movies are long.
For me, the habit started at uni. We’d watch shows that might appear on Channel 4 and then realise that they were a couple of seasons behind the show, or that it had actually been axed in the US. So we’d find the download of the old seasons, and fly through them, one episode after the other after the other.
It started with 24. I hadn’t been enlightened to the wonders of Jack Bauer and caught a bit on BBC2. Then I realised I could watch previous seasons and most importantly, the next episode to the one I had just watched. It’s a natural decision for a spoilt kid like me to want the next episode NOW.
Once I had gone through the backlog of seasons of shows, I then realised the schedule of US TV on a site called sidereel.com . I could build a profile of the shows I love and then it would tell me when they were airing. It’s not gospel, but it’s near as it can be with armchair-editors contributing from home, so it’s bound to have errors on scheduling. I also found that you could watch shows on that site too – but only retrospectively, any current episodes are always plagued with some jokers posting the wrong episode in order to get links to their advertising banners. But the best bit is now you can also watch shows on netflicks, but they often don’t start at season 1.
Never start a show halfway – Stop. Go back to season 1 episode 1 and watch from the beginning. Character formation is key to the enjoyability of a show.
The everyday tracker on sidereel tells me when my favourite shows had an episode air, so I would ‘obtain’ it via utorrent.
Eventually you will catch up with current airing – week-to-week. Which is a bit of a downer.
Watching one US show will lead to another, like hits of crack. The American razz-mitazz is so much more enjoyable than the muted excitement of British TV, I am not a soap fan. I cannot stand them and neither do I care for zombies or idiots abroad/driving/giving birth which is all there seems to be from the UK. Sidenote – I do watch every cooking show I can though, we have some amazing chefs and I love food. So that’s gotta be said.*
One thing that is important to note when watching more US shows – they are becoming more and more box-set friendly. Meaning, they want you to buy the box set, so they write the show in such a way that you have to watch them one after the other – the depth of storylines and capturing the viewer is now an art, they do it without the viewer even noticing. So when I watch a single episode, I feel like I need to watch the next one, and believe me – doing it that way makes far better viewing, rather than watching week to week, so I ‘save up’ certain shows to watch in succession: Amazing Race, 24 (when it’s back!) Game of Thrones (do this in short bursts (3 episodes at a time), not week to week or it loses it’s ‘feel’), Madmen – anything with a real ongoing storyline. This is why Netflix and lovefilm have suddenly shot to fame with people getting to freely watch the boxsets on xbox, wii, ps3, their phones, laptops, probably their cars; creating a pseudo-addiction of ‘Another one, Another one Syndrome’.
Of which I am riddled.
* I still can’t cook.
Shows I recommend watching:
Parks and Recreation (current, stick with it, its a slow burner but hella funny once you know the characters – Quincy Jones’ daughter, Rashida is in it with Aziz Ansari, he’s brilliant. You’ll recognise him from a few shows below as guest parts)
The Office (US) (now finished but awesome) <— I wasnt a gervais fan. But Steve Carrell does a bang-up job. Also Catherine Tate joined the cast in the last two seasons.
30 Rock (now finished) <—- gotta love Alec Baldwin
Big Bang Theory (current) <—- love it but E4 are 8 episodes behind now
Modern Family (current) <—- very funny
Angry Boys (hiatus) <— another kiwi being hilarious
Flight of the Conchords (now finished, sadly, but I saw them live at Hammersmith Apollo – awesome) <— if you like funny songs
Psyche (current) <— crime fighty, but the dude is pretending to be a psychic detective, quite funny and full of deeper gags for old movie buffs
Chuck (now finished) <—- a good little spy show, amusing and with nice characters
Cartoon: (Not for kids) Archer, Bobs Burgers, Family Guy, South Park, American Dad, Cleveland Show. Voice actors for archer are also in Bobs Burgers, Big Bang Theory, Flight of the Conchords and the odd guest actor.
All of these shows listed in this blog have their actors migrate. In the past movie stars would see going to TV acting as a ‘step down’. Now people want to see their TV stars in movies and other shows. Plus half of them are either from Saturday Night Live, are married to eachother, or both.
Food: Hells Kitchen USA, Kitchen Nightmares USA, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, No Reservations, Masterchef UK and USA, Great British Menu, Great British Bake Off, American Baking Competition – it’s ok, I don’t like the crumpet Paul Hollywood’s got on there, she’s no Mary Berry but it’s a carbon copy of Bake Off without the delightful Sue Perkins.
Top Gear UK is amazing, Top Gear US is rubbish. Deal with it Americans – you just can’t capture the essence of the show.
The Amazing Race is a great US show – we should do it here. Watch it – it’s good. It’s a Jerry Bruckheimer show – like CSI, so no expense spared. Couples race around the world for $1m but it’s not easy!
NCIS, NCIS LA were watched but I’ve lost it with them both, and Criminal Minds. That got a bit rubbish too.
Warehouse 13 (current) (requires a little imagination, but enjoyable and definitely one for watching one-after-the-other like the ones below)
Grimm and Supernatural – I used to watch these but it went so far down the weird route, if you miss an episode, you’re done for.
Lost and Sopranos will make you angry when you watch the ending. It’s a bit like a cornetto – really awesome til you get to the manky chocolate bit at the end of the cornet.
24 – frankly i don’t watch ‘Spooks’ because this horrid girl I went to school with is in it and she was a real bovine creature. So I don’t watch that. Even though it’s shot at my glorious Uni (walked through them filming a few times, got told off.). Anyway, Jack Bauer pisses all over that tripe, so get a bit of JB in your life. Stat!
Ok Let’s get serious now.
I watch mad men – i am in love with the 60s as a hippie in a former life, and Jon Hamm just makes me swoon. Moreover, I majored in business advertising after studying media previously, and so it’s more than just a show to me, it’s a real grasp of advertising and consumer behaviour. Thoroughly enjoyable, although I would like to see more of Hamm’s bum. Maybe Showtime need to get on that. I love the dissection of the advertising industry, the creativity and strain of being creative within it – I understand that, but I also understand what the customer wants – and that’s how I ‘get’ the main character in the show. It’s a genuinely good production from some outstanding cast members and the director of the Sopranos (So far he’s been ok, but if he ends it like Soprano’s I’ll be very upset). It’s aired on a Sunday, but I prefer to save them up but frankly, I can’t wait.
I wanted that job as an ad exec. That was a plan once. But as a woman, I wasn’t prepared to commute to London every day, kiss misogynistic arses or screw my way to the top. So that’s why I love mad men, it’s like the window of what could have happened (take it being in the 60s out of the equation, the job’s still the same) and how I dodged a bullet.
Ah. Showtime. These crazy Canadians make some cracking shows that air in the US and eventually make their way over here. It’s all tits and gore – but so was the the time. I found the Tudors to be an excellent show and I fell in love with Henry Cavill – the new Man of Steel as the Earl of Sussex and his exquisite bare behind.
The Borgias was a little risqué with their family business but in true Showtime flavour, shot in the UK or on rightful location, no expense spared and loosely fitting to the realms of history – timelines are a bit squiffy for dramatical hollywoodisation, but it’s not like they spared Anne Boleyn her life or anything; they just hammed up her diddling her brother a bit more than the history books say. Definitely worth watching.
Showtime also made ‘Weeds’ which was a fun show to watch – in the end though, you get fed up with Nancy. She’s a glutton for her own punishment as a widow pushing weed. A milder, funnier ‘Breaking Bad’ which I am yet to bend to peer pressure on and watch. I’m still on the fence about ‘Breaking Bad’ I’ll get back to you on it.
What I don’t like:
Vampires. Zombies. Sports. Shameless. Teen drama. Reality shows about stupid women purporting to be ‘housewifes’ – they wanna come to Britain and learn what a house wife is the cheeky cows.
Soaps. Idiots in benedorm/learning to drive/having babies.
I used to hate Britain’s Got Pop Factor (TY Steve, I stole your joke) but I enjoy it because of one thing – Twitter. I like to hurl funny jibes about live TV and I thoroughly enjoy reading other’s peoples, too. That Katie Weasel has me in bits on Twitter.
I also don’t start a new show until it reaches season 2 and has been penned for a further season. I don’t bother with E4 – the shows they show are all pretty much axed: Bitch in Apt 13, New Normal, Happy Endings, Rules of Engagement are all chopped in the US, so why the UK channels are investing in them, I don’t know. Probably because E4 spent the budget on Big Bang Theory.
Shows to steer clear of:
Prison Break after season 1. Season 1 is amazing, but oh dear lord, they wrecked it.
Community – gave it a go, turned out to be awful
Arrested Development – Even Jeremy Kyle couldn’t fix this bunch of weirdos – I don’t get it.
Dexter – I can’t sympathise with a serial killer as the main protagonist, there’s something in my brain that prevents this.
Anything with Charlie Sheen in it. Although the YT video of him ‘Winning’ is worth a watch.
I also have the misfortune of watching ‘The River’, ‘V’ and other shows that attempted to bring dinosaurs back. Don’t waste the hours of your life, let it get to season 2 at least.
Homeland – I HATE THIS SHOW. Those flippin’ women – both the wife and Claire Danes’ character boil my piss. It’s so ridiculously far fetched, there’s more truth in ‘Supernatural’.
Sidenote: I also watch paranormal shows but only ones that use scientific gadgetry (Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters) but I do like the silly ones (Deep South Paranormal, Destination Truth, Ghost Mine). I dont like mediumship – it’s a form of con-artistry. I grew up with Del Boy as a dad and I’m banned from watching Hustle because it would ‘give me ideas’ plus the study of language and trigger words (advertising) so I can spot a bullshitter when I see one. So steer clear of that old crap. Apparently, Most Haunted’s coming back after recovering from the demise of Living TV. Let’s hope they get the gadgets out and actually do some science in their second chance as the viewers are different to before, rather than indulge in bullshit artists like Derek Acorah. Viewers want to see more science in this technological age, not new-age hippie conjecture that there might be someone with a ‘P’ in their name that’s going to ‘get them later on tonight’ .*Sigh*
And I also watch a huge amount of conspiracy crap. I love it. I have to apply a bullshit filter, and I do enjoy shouty Americans like Alex Jones and Jessie Ventura. It does make me think about stuff.