It’s the Time of the (First) Season
Before the advent of Tivo and cable TV’s equivalent, video-on-demand, getting comfortable with a new television series in September was something of a crap shoot. If you missed the first couple of episodes of a new show before you heard good things about it from friends, you could either jump in late without the knowledge of the usually critical first few weeks, or you could wait until the summer rerun season and start afresh. I completely missed the boat on the first three seasons of “24,” forcing me to take a third, and costlier, path: TV on DVD. In the case of a highly addictive show like “24,” the ability to watch 2 or 4 episodes in one sitting more than compensated for the cost of the discs. This year, however, I planned well, and my Directv Tivo box made the new season easy to manage.
All summer, short teaser trailers for new shows I thought would be interesting cropped up as I fast forwarded through commercials on other shows I had Tivoed (yes, it’s a verb too!), Pause, backup, hmmm - looks interesting. Unfortunately, in the middle of July, you can’t find those shows in the Tivo database, so you can’t schedule their recording directly. You can try entering them in Tivo’s ‘Wishlist,’ but that will lead to countless planned recordings of any show with the word “Invasion” in the title. As for “E-Ring,” good luck finding the hyphen in Tivo’s on screen keyboard simulacra. Just the term “ring” gets you scheduled for “The Ring Two.” “Ring Me Up” and, of course, “The Rockford Files.” Guess they still have a few bugs to work out.
But I’m persistent and don’t take my opposing thumbs for granted. The only show whose premier I wanted to capture on Tivo but missed was “Alias,” and as I was watching that live in hi-def at the time, I didn’t miss a thing. Of course, there was what initially appeared to be an embarrassment of riches this season that often found me Tivoing two shows while watching a 3rd live on my Samsung HiDef box. Trust me, the term “embarrassment” is best reserved for the networks who take a great concept for a pilot and dilute it until it fits into a whole series.
Now my life is planned. What little time I have for TV is spent watching that which I wish to watch, or at least that which I thought I wished to watch. But I’m being wishy-washy. Is it, again, a case of 99 channels of bleah on the wall, 99 channels of bleah? Take one down, Tivo it ‘round, and there’s 98 channels of bleah on the wall.