Skip to main content

Televisionary New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year! It's been an exciting time in the Televisionary household, what with Entertainment Weekly naming this site one of ten "must click" TV websites in their recent Best of 2007 issue.

I do wish, however, that we would have started out 2008 with news of some sort of accord between the WGA and the AMPTP; instead, it seems as though the chasm between the two sides is widening rather than shrinking. Sigh.

To that end, with 2008 upon us, I thought I'd come up with a few New Year's resolutions for myself that are--as opposed to most people's resolutions about losing weight, quitting smoking, etc.--solely television-focused, in this time of industry strife.

So what exactly am I proposing?

(1) Refrain from watching strike-replacement programming, no matter how much you might be desperate for something new to watch on the telly.

Yep, you read that correctly. That means no American Gladiators, Supernanny, or When Women Rule the World. I'd rather turn off the television than tune in to long on the shelf reality fare or unscripted series rushed into production and on the air.

And poor ratings for these strike-replacement programs means eroding the networks' stance that these are acceptable replacements for the scripted programming that we love and miss.

(2) Watch scripted series I don't normally tune in to on a regular basis.

That means sampling series that I don't really have anything against, per se, but don't really watch religiously, programs like Bones, for example, or Friday Night Lights. But there's no way that even wild horses will get me to tune in to CBS' Moonlight, Sophia Myles or no. Sorry, guys, that's one line I just can't cross.

(3) Tune in to repeats of scripted series.

Show the networks that you want the strike resolved quickly because you are desperate, not for mindless reality fare, but for the return of quality scripted series to the air. So do yourself a favor and watch the repeats of series like Pushing Daisies or Grey's Anatomy, if that's your bag.

(4) Watch more TV on DVD.

Over the years, I've amassed quite a collection on TV on DVD that most of the time sits patiently on my shelves waiting for a trip to the DVD player. With virtually no new first-run scripted programming to watch on network television, I'm planning on spending some time in the Televisionary past, taking a stroll down memory lane with the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls, rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Wonderfalls, or Battlestar Galactica in its entirety, taking a trip across the pond with Brit imports like The Office, The Thick of It, Extras, Vicar of Dibley, or Jonathan Creek.

Or I'll pick up a few season collections of series that I didn't get a chance to watch the first time around on television. Maybe I'll even find a few new Televisionary obsessions along the way. And if you haven't quite managed the enormous collection I have, there's always Netflix...

So, my question to you readers is this: what television-related New Year's resolutions are you making in 2008?


Asta said…
I resolved weeks ago not to watch any of the new reality TV replacing scripted shows. I have been watching 'Project Runway' and 'The Amazing Race', but those are both established reality series that have aired for some years.

And I've already begun the TV on DVD viewing. It's about time I got the shrink wrap off of some of those boxed sets.
Anonymous said…
My resolution is to not sell myself short on a spec I'm working on and make something so good they just can't say no.

Jace, for something across the pond, did you ever catch the BBC six-parter "State of Play" from about 3 years ago? Currently being made into a movie, but the original is excellent if you can get your hands on it (you'll be pleased to see the two leads from Life on Mars in it, amongst others).
Jace Lacob said…
Terraling, I LOVE "State of Play" and watch it at least once a year, thanks to a handy press screener DVD I have of the series. It's brilliant television!
Unknown said…
Jace, correct me if I'm wrong (and you surely know better than I), but haven't the striking writers requested that we not buy American DVDs while the strike is on? Similarly, I haven't been watching shows online because the writers aren't being compensated for them, and I believe the rate of pay for DVDs is also an issue.

I figure it's time to catch up on British shows.
Vance said…
Congrats JACE on the EW thing! I totally spotted it while I was perusing through during the holidays!

But yeah, shouldnt we be holding back on the DVD purchases? I know I brought it up before and was met with a disagreeing group especially before Christmas. The British DVD's sounds like a good option though!

But the other ideas (especially catching up on Friday Night Lights and avoiding replacement reality TV) are a must!
Jace Lacob said…
Thanks, Vance.

As for the DVD issue, I haven't actually bought any since the strike began but have several floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with TV on DVD. As for those without such large collections, that's why I suggested Netflix (rather than purchasing).

It is indeed a time to explore British series and if you're not watching BBC America, now is the perfect time to start!
Mel said…
Oh my goodness, do I love Vicar of Dibley! I can't believe someone else on this half of the world has heard of it. Thanks for coming through for me again. (I only wish I still got BBC America....)
Anonymous said…
I've already got my Arrested Development DVDs lined up and ready to go.
People who enjoyed State of Play might want to check out some of the other series that its author, Paul Abbott has been involved in:

Touching Evil
Clocking Off
Linda Green
Shameless (region 2)

Fans of Russell T Davies for his work on reviving Doctor Who and creating Torchwood might want to check out his past works (including work on Touching Evil and Linda Green, above):

Dark Season
Century Falls
Queer as Folk
Bob and Rose
The Second Coming

Also, for another British twist on a Torchwood type organisation (written and directed by Joe Ahearne who was director of 5 episodes of the new Doctor Who)


Lastly, I mentioned Cracker in relation to Paul Abbott, but it was created by the wonderful Jimmy McGovern. Here is some of his other work:

The Lakes
The Street

And that's just some of the UK drama that is out there. And you can buy or rent it safe in the knowledge that you are supporting a system where the writers get royalties of 2.5% on large scale DVD release.
Anonymous said…
If you like State of Play, you might want to watch The State Within, too. Similar format (single arc of six hour-long episodes). It's not on a par with The State of Play but it is pretty good, nonetheless (apart from one niggling plot flaw which I won't draw attention to in case you miss it.)

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t