I like to talk to you about television. Ahhh yes, that once named “Idiot Box” is enjoying it’s new found creative renaissance. There are so many channels (terrestrial and “over the top”) that are offering original shows, it would make your head spin. We are no longer confined to just the three or four major networks and that is a good thing…on paper. There are more places for potentially good shows to grow. For example, a great show on CBS that average seven million viewers a week may be in danger of cancellation but on a premium cable network that same show may be seen as a triumph.
With the influx of television networks (and their desire to fill their schedules with original content so they in turn can sell them for international/syndication rights and the cash that follows) there has likewise been an influx of shows. Some good, some really good, and others not so good. What gets me are the shows that started off with promise, but then drives itself of a creative cliff. As a viewer you’ve already spent so much time in that show’s world you’re hesitant to give it up, so you continue to watch. You find yourself rolling your eyes at something that you in essence have volunteered to watch. You rationalize it; you say “well, there’s only a couple of episodes left” or “I can’t wait for the next major storyline” but you limp along. If you’re like me, you end up playing with your cell phone while the offending show in question is relegated to the background. Ahhh, television. This is known as “hatewatching.”
Hatewatching is one of the worst things about being in this “on-demand” culture we have built ourselves. Since shows are scattered out on so many networks and device, finding a show is quite literally a discovery. Doggone it, we found “True Vampire Detective: House of Thrones” and we’re sticking with it. It’s our show, we are going to ride it to the end. And so, even if the quality dips, we find it hard to walk away. I remember watching a basic cable show for three seasons before deciding to walk away. I just couldn’t do it anymore: having to deal with slow meandering storylines and cardboard cutout characters. The break was messy, but I was proud of myself it was done. Guess what? The next season, it seemed I couldn’t navigate to two webpages without someone mentioning the show. The “fear of missing out” or FOMO (as the kids call it) a great storyline because I had elected to fall behind was great. I wanted back in. I wanted to give it another chance. I eventually made my peace and walked away wholesale, but it was close. Real close.
And if you know me personally, you know EXACTLY what show I’m talking about…
Either way, hatewatching doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so I urge you to prepare for the worse. Then again, it isn’t as bad as “Netflix Guilt” (hating yourself for not watching that movie in your queue or that DVD in your mailbox despite the fact you are paying for the service) but hatewatching isn’t pleasant, that’s for sure.