A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Television Habits

At Chez Gunther, I am the sole reason we still have cable television access. Warrior Queen does not watch; likewise, our cats are too sophisticated to be lured into what passes for entertainment on the tube. 
Actually, I end up watching it - and getting sucked in - by default. Our sole television with a cable connection is in the basement where our anti-social cat, Oreo, lives. She cannot stand the other two cats in the house and whenever she sees them she retreats to her subterranean hiding places.

If I want to visit her, I have to go to “her place”; to occupy my mind during my visits, I tune in to the tube. Okay, the exercise bicycle is also in the basement, and when I use it (happy to report that my knee and back ailments has subsided enough to allow me to resume my exercising) I will catch  up with local news, weather, and cruise down the dial for something else interesting.

In the last 25 years, I have followed exactly three television series: Monk, Hack, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. This list is in reverse chronological order. I don’t recall any other series during that time that captured my attention. In recent times, say the last year, I’ve found more than one series within the same time frame that captures my attention.

Agent Carter, which had its first season as a limited series last winter, is now one of my favorites. The limited series is a new phenomenon in American television. These are not a full series, which is typically 13 original episodes/season, and not as small as a mini-series, a television trend from the 70s where episodes (perhaps four, but sometimes as many as six) would be aired on successive nights during one week. That week usually fell in May or November, the Ratings Sweeps Months, when the networks and the advertisers would scrutinize the ratings more carefully than any other time of the year.

In any case, Agent Carter, part of the sub genre Marvel Comics Universe which is taking over television, caught my attention last year. It has everything a male television viewer could want: intriguing story lines with action-packed scenes and the very gorgeous Haley Atwell. It is also set in an interesting time period that has been overlooked as a dramatic setting for television - post World War II 1940s, or the beginning of the Cold War era. A second season with new episodes is being advertised to begin on January 17.

Galavant, set in the Renaissance era when knights were bold, damsels were perpetually in distress…or so we’ve been told. In actuality, as Galavant points out, knights did battle to rescue their true love, kings are deposed, peasants flirt with progressive political theories, and everyone sing, sing, sings! Okay, this might not be close to reality either, but damn it’s entertaining. The plots of course are old-fashioned, but the dialogue and songs are finely tuned works of in-your-face satire. It is almost as if someone turned Monty Python and the Holy Grail into a television series. A second season of Galavant started last week (I ignored watching the first season to my great regret), but unfortunately it is another limited series, which means it will be over before it should be.

Which brings us to Archer; the James Bond-derived mash up with today’s sensibilities. It is supposed to be returning for a seventh season this month. However, the month is a third over and there hasn’t been so much as an advertising campaign giving us a date for its season premiere. The Internet has been no help - the latest news is dated June, 2015 and will only say that Archer is coming back in January 2016.


The Internet also mentioned a teaser that the character of Woodhouse, Archer’s servant, would return this season after being absent in season six. This was wonderful news, but then fate intervened. The actor who voiced Woodhouse, George Coe, died in July. Perhaps this is the reason that season seven is delayed, but there has been no news to that effect either.

And, for all intents and purposes, that will be my television viewing habits for the immediate future…at least until the Mystery Science Theater reboot debuts.

(Thank you for reading. As I wrote this first draft, news broke about David Bowie’s passing. RIP, Thin White Duke.)


Blogger Travel said...

It is good to see you writing regularly. TV is largely background noise for me, there a couple of things I look forward to Downton Abbey (in it's final season) and Goldrush.

January 12, 2016 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I used to howl out loud at our Science Mystery Theatre parties. oh the joy!

January 12, 2016 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Travel. I need something more than background noise to get me through the tediousness of exercising on my bicycle. The morning news, Morning Joe and whatever TCM might be playing at the time fills this need nicely.

Spo! A fellow Mistie! Wonderful!

January 16, 2016 at 5:28 PM  

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