Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tube Day Tuesday—The Beginning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         TV Tuesday 9-19-12

You know, I’m sort of fond of blog theme days.  You might’ve guessed that, seeing as how I’ve dedicated a few days each week to recurring themes already.  In three cases, I link up with other host blogs—ABC Wednesday, Five Question Friday, and Six Word Saturday.  More recently, I started my own theme of Snapshot Sunday.  Some people might think these sorts of patterns can create boredom, but I think they add some structure, especially to a blog like mine that’s rather eclectic in subject matter.

                                                                                                                                Image credit:  digitalart/

With that in mind, I’ve decided to add another regular feature here to Idle Chatter, Tube Day Tuesday.  I hope that the reference doesn’t date me too much, as I preferred this title to my second choice—the less anachronistic but more mundane, TV Tuesday

I know I’ve mentioned many times before my love for the medium.  In fact, a couple of years ago, I started a separate blog to dedicate solely to the small screen and all its glory.  I just popped over and checked, and see that it lasted a total of eight posts.  But that’s more a reflection on my organizational/follow-through skills than it is on my fascination with the world of television.

Anyway, like most of my ramblings here, even on a theme day, there won’t be a lot of rules.  Oh, the starting point will be TV, but it might be a current episode recap/review, news about a DVD release, discourse on character motivation, or idle commentary on whether I care for the soundtrack to a particular series.  You just never know. 

Also, just as a passing thought, I’ll mention that another blogger, Donald, over at Rebooting This Crazy Life, mentioned recently that he was going to be joining a 31 day blog challenge in October, with the idea being to write about the same umbrella topic for the entire month.  In my comment to him, I laughingly said TV was probably the only topic I’d be able to use successfully.  Even though it was a flippant remark, as the days have passed, I’ve actually been thinking about whether I might truly want to give that a try.   I figure there’s one more Tuesday left in September to help me figure out if that’s something I would really want to write about for a month straight, as well as whether you, Dear Reader, would want to read about it for a month straight.  Feel free to chime in with your opinions on the matter.

And, finally, I thought I’d leave you with the (slightly edited) text from one of my earliest posts over at the now-defunct TV blog, as a primer for what I enjoy—and don’t—about TV . . .

What makes good TV?  For a blog dedicated to sharing my views on that very topic, you’d think I should have a ready answer to that question.  Unfortunately, the problem is, it’s not as simple as it sounds.  See, good TV—like beauty—is very dependent on the viewer.  Everyone has their preferences, their biases.  So, if I’m going to be giving out my thoughts on what’s on the tube, it might be fair to start with some of the basics about what I like (and maybe a little bit about what I don't).

First, I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned buddy show.  One of my favorites of all time is Hardcastle and McCormick.  Then there’s Starsky and Hutch, Alias Smith and Jones, Wild Wild West,Simon and Simon . . . the list could go on and on.  On a bit of a side-note, it makes me a little sad that this list is made up of old shows; true buddy shows are pretty rare these days.  High on my list of current shows is White Collar, one of the few modern-day buddy shows—and one that will almost certainly show up here regularly.

The next thing that’s always a plus in my book is smart dialogue.  Snappy repartee, impassioned orations, casual literary or historical references—these are the sorts of things that score high with me.

And the last thing that comes to mind tonight (though I don’t intend this list to be all-inclusive) is believability.  Now, this shouldn’t be confused with realism; I’m not expecting—or even wanting—complete veracity in the programs I watch.  I enjoy any number of programs that start with some pretty unlikely foundations (see some of those buddy shows mentioned earlier), but they are always constructed in such a way that the suspension of disbelief is easy.  That’s a pretty fine balancing act sometimes, and the primary credit is split between the writers and the actors, but every little bit of the production plays a part, as well.  When everything comes together like it should, the viewer is lost in a world that only exists in that 30 or 60 minute block of time.

So, if that’s a brief look at things I’m biased toward, are there things I’m biased against?  Absolutely.  The most obvious would be the opposite sides of the listed virtues.  I don’t like insipid dialogue, or characters that sound stilted, or cliché, or just plain stupid.  I also can’t abide watching any program that continually reminds me that it’s not real. 

Beyond that, there’s only one really huge deal-breaker for me, and it’s a fairly new invention in the grand scheme of things:  reality television.  Anyone browsing these postings hoping for the latest updates on Big Brother or Survivor has come to the wrong place. American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are likewise not on my viewing list.  Call me old fashioned, but I like my television to be scripted and staged (and admit as much).

With these basic guidelines in place, though, it then becomes a matter watching a show and simply seeing if it “clicks”.  Sometimes—not often, but sometimes—that click is instant, and I know immediately I’ve found a new favorite (White Collar), but more often, it takes a while for a show to really grow on me.  These days I love to stumble across reruns of old Friends episodes, but I’m not too proud to admit I wasn’t sold from the start.  On the other hand, it also usually takes at least a few episodes before I’ll completely write something off; the programs that completely turn me off with the first viewing are almost as rare as the ones that win me over that quickly.

So, that’s a peek at my criteria for “good TV”.  Your list is probably at least a little bit different, but I still bet we end up in the same place every now and again.


Thanks for hanging in with me on my first outing of this new theme; I’ll be interested to see where Tube Day Tuesday takes us.

What’s the best thing about TV for you?