Television: Drug of a nation and a generation
When it comes to first world problems, information overload used to be the number one cause of anxiety among young adults.
But those folks are a cagey bunch. They adapt. Now, they can carry on a conversation while checking their text messages, surfing the web and watching their favourite TV shows without even batting an e-lash. Their heads are right around spam filters. They can cope with rapid remote movement. Come at them, bro, and they’re ready to give you the millisecond of attention you deserve. Information overload? Pfffft. No sweat.
But now a new kind of anxiety is in town and it’s starting to unsettle this wired up, hooked in, broad band of tech heads. Across every office space, university campus, schoolyard and shopping mall there’s an underlying tension which froths and bubbles to the surface. And the cause? Too many good TV shows and not enough time to watch all of them.
No, wait - this is serious. We can’t all bend time [present company excepted], so listening to a mate tell you she just downloaded three episodes of the latest season of Dexter (and she’s loving it, by the way) can send some people into a catatonic stupor, snapping out of it only to claw her eyes out in an attempt to get hold of a copy. Others cover their ears and beg loudly for her not to reveal the latest plot twist.
Others, still, feel the disappointing pang of not having got around to watching the series at all because they were watching 17 other shows and just didn’t have the time - at the time - to fit it into their busy schedules. Another group scoff as, after having given the show a mere 10 minutes, gave up on what turned out to be an Emmy award-winning series that just keeps delivering.
And a final group stare blankly, wondering what all the fuss is about with television anyway. These are the others.The ones that got away.They have their own stresses.
The stakes are high among peers to keep on top of the latest TV shows. Some see a show like The Playboy Club and immediately jump on that horse, only to learn it gets shot in the paddock after three episodes. Others back shows like Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad and they’re still winning. It can be a bit of a gamble, which is why we use Facebook and our social circles to recommend and share the best shows to watch.
Television networks have tried to cash in on this trend with their on-demand programming, but the biggest challenge is time. Time waits for no one. And you can’t take time you’re not using and save it up for a later time. It doesn’t work like that. So you have to be selective. Bearing in mind, however, that while you’re selecting the shows to watch, new shows are being made all the time and some of these will be the next Mad Men, West Wing, The Wire, True Blood or Sons of Anarchy.
HBO is to blame (or to be thanked) for dragging Hollywood talent back to the small screen with its magnificent backdrops and meaty budgets. And now the industry - particularly in the US - is thriving. Ideally, we should be able to clone ourselves and watch every show out there, or perhaps find a job which requires us to classify or review TV shows on a consistent basis (and no, you can’t have my job or my stem cells).
Let me say, though, I don’t condone downloading TV shows. Pirating episodes off the internet can be thwarted by offering latest episodes (set to immediately self-destruct after viewing) for a very small fee ($2 per episode) and a low download amount (<50MB). I mean, how hard can it be?
Pay and free-to-air TV networks should offer everything via a planner for immediate access and I believe so-called “Smart TVs” will take us there eventually. Similarly, mobile devices like tablets will be a great outlet for TV networks. Eventually. But we’re a long way off this standard.
Until then, we’re left to fight for bargains among the DVD racks, or wait in line as our mates share around the precious flash drives like strung-out junkies. It’s criminal. And, as I sit here in my vest on the sofa watching the telly, I want the judge to know I don’t even have a white collar.
You wouldn’t download a car? Probably not. But we don’t have unlimited ADSL in our area.
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