Television. I hardly watch any more. First, I never have time. Then, there’s the glaring lack of quality, except on premium channels like HBO, which doesn’t need to stay within the FCC’s lines. And yet, there’s always the rage about ‘reality’ shows, laugh-track ‘comedy,’ and the corpse-fetish shows like CSI, or the current hot drama where the audience is as lost as the cast members. No doubt my tastes are too narrow.
A few people I know recommended Heroes, but due to timing I’ve oly been able to catch the last fifteen minutes of two episodes. I was able to watch 80% of the mid-season finale, and instantly got hooked. I could pay $1.99 for the recap from iTunes, or wait for reruns, but lickly NBC has posted all 11 episodes to date for a limited time. I’ve watched the first four, and while I don’t know how many more I can watch before the freebies are gone, I’m impressed beyond words at this show. I don’t know how long the magic can last, for in my opinion TV shows rarely sustain greatness beyond a couple of seasons, before writers get desparate for attention, and the worm eats itself.
I recently read an essay on lewrockwell.com expounding an ‘Austrian’ theory of culture, with which I have many, many disagreements. I am mulling over a reply and my own theory. The gist of this essay is the author’s embrace of TV as good culture, especially long-lasting shows and collaborative efforts (Gilligan’s Island, X-Files, and The Simpsons are the author’s favorites). I don’t know about the writers of Heroes, of the long-term plan of the show, but were only to last one season, say 22 episodes, that might be a better thing than drag on for five years. There are well-written shows on TV now and in the past where cast members solve things week after week, but a few hours after the show is over you’ve forgotten everything. Heroes instead layers question after question, with multiple story-arcs, and leaves me wondering after each one what will happen. In some sense I already know, as I read every word at the Wikipedia site, which is rife with spoilers. Perhaps I should have waited until after I saw the shows, but I didn’t think I would have that chance until several months from now with re-runs. Heroes is like a well-written novel, and indeed every show is entitled “Chapter X” (with a number instead of X), much like a novel. Perhaps it’s the geek in my, but the thread with Hiro Nakamura is my favorite. I almost wish the show was a long book, as so far this is the most novel like TV show I’ve ever seen.