The Tyranny Of Television

The Tyranny Of Television

When is too much, too much – and is there such a thing as not enough? My friends are often horrified by how little TV I watch (though they only have to put me down near Doctor Who to watch me clock the screen hours), but I don’t really see why some people are able to spend entire evenings on the sofa.

Well, that’s not quite true. I’ll confess that I’ve had times when, after watching one programme, I’ve seen something else that caught my eye, and something else, and something else, and before I realise it three hours have passed. But those days are few and far between … so why is it normal for some people?

For those new to my blog, this isn’t my usual topic of writing (well, Doctor Who crops up quite a lot), but it was something that I was thinking about after writing an essay on the media for French earlier. We had to write a paragraph about television, which was easy enough – Docteur Qui ;) But then talk about adverts…?

BBC doesn’t have adverts!

What was somebody like myself, a Whovian with little interest in talent shows and soaps, supposed to write? I mean, yeah, I could make it up – write down some rubbish about a deodorant ad I saw at the cinema, but the implied message was clear. Teenagers, the exam board had reasoned, watched TV, and would be able to answer these questions.

I don’t know what counts as too much television, because I know that somebody with my schedule will watch perhaps the odd hour now and again, whereas somebody with little to do might watch three. Perhaps when it starts pressing on other engagements, social affairs, reading time – perhaps when you would rather stay at home sitting on your sofa instead of talking to friends and family.

And is there such thing as too little?

Earlier, I had a friend horrified that I’d never seen the BBC Sherlock (I’ve now borrowed the DVDs from her for later perusal). I know my French teacher thinks I’m a freak, but he probably thought that anyway, after seeing the unexpected TARDIS I drew on the first page of my exercise book. Although I did have a reason for that. It was a logical illustration to the text. No, really.

Proof. Deciphering my handwriting and translating as a comment will earn you cookies.

As you can see, I do lots of high quality work in French lessons. And illustrate it.

I remember, though, when my brother used to be obsessed with Smallville or whatever it’s called. To his credit, this was quite a few years ago, long before my sister went to uni, when he was about fifteen, so we shan’t judge him. But one time we were out to dinner in a nice restaurant and he was hurrying us over dessert. Hurrying, hurrying, hurrying – we’ve got to get home! It’s on tonight and I want to find out what happens!

That was the tyranny of television.

I don’t think we were home in time. I don’t really remember it very well. But the fact that it mattered…

Now, I’ll be the first to confess I get irritated if I miss, say, Doctor Who or Torchwood. With iPlayer, this is much less stressful. (I should explain that our TV’s recording capabilities rely on good old VCR, and only record from the analogue signal. Since this is being switched off in April, it may be time to invest in one of these boxes that everyone seems to have.)

But it shouldn’t be stressful at all.

It’s a TV programme, for goodness’ sake. Does it matter if you miss one episode – especially when you can catch up later? Does it matter if you forgot about a series so missed the whole thing? (As I did with Merlin this time around?)

If you care that little, it probably wasn’t worth it in the first place.

What do you think? Do you watch TV, or are books and the internet – since you’re reading this – more your thing? And have you ever written something really odd in a French essay? (Or any other subject…)

7 thoughts on “The Tyranny Of Television

  1. Hehe, I’m only really a Doctor Who watcher too – though I’ll tune into Merlin when I want some cheap easy rubbish to laugh at and point out inaccuracies in, or Torchwood when I want some proper amusement. Books and the internet, all the way! :)

  2. I don’t watch much television either (except Doctor Who, in partial thanks to you). But now I finally have BBC America on my regular cable service–have I mentioned my dislike of living in the US?–so that will probably change soon enough. I also occasionally watch pseudo-educational programs on the infamous History channel, and I do like Masterpiece Theater.
    Sorry for rambling. My point is, the bulk of American television is completely unknown to me; I’m much more of a books and Internet person. I’m glad, because if I started following a bunch of television series my life would just collapse. I’ve already let Doctor Who partially take over my life.
    And unfortunately I’m unable to translate your lovely French essay. I’d have to get out my dictionary and zoom into the picture really closely, which I’m much too lazy to do. It made me smile, though, because my friends and I used to get in trouble with our French teacher for talking about Doctor Who in English in class. Then we used Docteur Qui instead, and spoke of le Docteur, ses copains, et le TEDREE (temps et dimension relatif en espace…I think).
    Zounds, that was a long comment. I guess it’s to make up for my marked absense over your last couple of posts.

  3. I don’t even have a TV at home, technically, but I do get movies and TV shows through Netflix. and, sadly, I have yet to see Doctor Who. Worse, I’ve seen nearly all of Smallville. (I am ashamed). :P

    1. That isn’t what you should be ashamed of … the fact that you haven’t seen Doctor Who is the crime there! If only we could have a virtual marathon on my blog for all those who haven’t seen it … *sighs* Technology really needs to catch up with my imagination.

  4. I grew up without TV, our poor analog couldn’t get any channels, even PBS (our version of BBC) came is as static fuzz. I soon lost al interest in it, till high scholl where I”d watch a couple cartoons at the neigbors while watching the sleeping baby.

    I STILL don’t watch TV, unless I get sucked into what ever my hubby is watching. As it is, he gets it all through Hulou and Netflcks now. We’ve cancled our cable, though it means we misseed out on 24 hours of “A Chrsitmas Story” which is, apparently, some sort of American tradition. :}

    Nope I’m totally a book person, if I’m not writing my own stuff. Even the internet wasn’t really my thing until recently, and now only because I read freinds blogs (al la this one, sorry I took Spanish, not French) and try to keep up with the wrtier’s blogs I follow.

    :} Cathryn

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