For some reason I lack the stamina to actually follow a TV program today. This is odd because,
1) I like a good, long, serialized yarn, and this seems to be the golden age of that sort of show,
2) One of my favourite hobbies is sitting around and doing nothing
Part of this is that I live in a place where there seems to be an unspoken rule about having at least two TVs running simultaneously, familiarity breeding contempt and all that. Still, why do all these shockingly well-produced shows bore me so? The quality actually seems to be getting in the way – TV has now reached the point where shows can unfold like a realist novel. But part of the fun of watching a TV show was familiarizing yourself with its own quirky logic and rhythm; there was a certain abstraction in it that at least solicited some response on the part of our imagination. When a piece of fiction drifts away from the natural (whether through its own badness, or through choice), it becomes easier for it to, perhaps unintentionally, represent/symbolize some aspect of the human condition in a more striking manner than most attempts at meticulously recreating the nitty-gritty of things are. Not least because what counts as “realistic” at any given moment is really just a set of mutually-reinforcing cliches that at best only apply to one particular demographic (in this case, usually aging baby-boomers).
Then again, the most recent show I enjoyed all the way through was Avatar: The Last Airbender, so perhaps this says more about my own pop-cultural sensibilities than anything else.