I am one disc away from having completely viewed the first two seasons of “The New Adventures Of Old Christine.” My dear friend Dan recently emailed me links to each episode of the current season of “Breaking Bad” (boy, those minds combined to offer something awfully smart with this season, don’t you think?). And part of the reason my Saturday was thrilling had to deal with the fact that a quick trip to Target led me to find that DVDs of all “30 Rock” and “House” seasons were 14 bucks.
OK. Quick. Take a look at that first paragraph. What do all of those things have in common?
Still can’t come away with anything? Take another look. Go ahead. Keep looking.
Give up? Well, all of what was explained had nothing to do with current-time television (with the exception of “Breaking Bad,” though I am still only a mere six episodes into a season that is about to end). “The New Adventures Of Old Christine” has been cancelled now for quite some time. The sale at Target allowed me to finally own the third season of “30 Rock,” though there are two more sets still available that I don’t own. “Breaking Bad,” well, you don’t really want to hear me rant about “Breaking Bad” anymore, now do you? And “House?” Well, for the longest time, I owned only the first season on DVD. So that’s about as caught up on the show as I am, still praying Jennifer Morrison’s character somehow doesn’t leave (though that particular plot turn has already been spoiled for me).
I bring this up, why? Last week, I had a conversation with another dear friend of mine, Frank, who expressed jealousy over my insistence upon waiting for a chance to view all of the recent season of “Breaking Bad” in a binge-like fashion. He said he wished he was able to do the same thing. Considering the fact that his constant badgering was one of the main reasons I got into the show in the first place, this struck me as interesting if for no other reason than the AMC drama is something he says is the best show on television.
But he only vouched for the show’s place in television lore after being able to overdose on the show via DVDs for the first three seasons. This, in turn, has led me to conclude the following: Having to watch a show from week to week without the ability to simply carve out a few hours to knock out a block of episodes, I’ve found, can actually take away from the television viewing experience (“Dexter” is another example of this theory to me and even if I manage to find a way to keep up with the show after its newest season begins on Sunday, I may actually opt to wait for the DVDs).
Which leads me back to the top. I’ve always loved “The New Adventures Of Old Christine.” My problem? I decided to chase a career in newspapers. I haven’t had a consistent night schedule for almost five years now. Even though I admittedly came to the “Christine” party late, I was hardly ever able to sit down and watch an episode of the program as it was going over the airwaves. Insert the TV on DVD phenomenon and boom — I’m able to catch up on all the craziness Barb, Richard, Matthew and both Christines get themselves into.
But why does that matter now, you ask? That’s easy. “2 Broke Girls.” “The Playboy Club.” “The New Girl.” “Up All Night.” “Whitney.” “Terra Nova.” “The X Factor.” “Pan Am.” “Revenge.” “Person Of Interest.” “Charlie’s Angels.” And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
These are all part of a new crop of television shows currently at our disposal as the best time of year for television is among us. Think about it: The expectations attached to what could be our new favorite show. The promise of new characters and old faces. The stories that we find ourselves overly invested in. That’s right. After all of these shenanigans months ago, it’s finally here.
Though as the television landscape is changing, so are the ways we prefer to view our favorite shows. For instance, this year, I have decided to explicitly wait for shows like “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Playboy Club” and “Whitney” to fizzle out before giving some of the (hopefully) interesting shows time to either gain steam or just call it a day before even getting off the ground. Then, of course, there will be the shows I dismiss now — such as “The New Girl” or “Pan Am” — that I will probably fall madly in love with in three years, when I actually have the time to check out what was hip in 2011.
But, you see, that’s the beauty of everything from TV on DVD, to inexplicably named, probably illegal websites, to 100 percent legal and pay-for-play websites, to the always-expansive world of Internet connections: We don’t need to force ourselves onto the couch for three hours on a specific night to make sure we don’t miss out on anything we want to see anymore. All we need is some hard drive space or a $20 DVD player.
And as Frank alluded to above, once you view television in such a manner, it’s hard to imagine watching TV in any other way. So good luck on your venture into the unknown world of network survival, new fall television programming. I’ll catch up with you in a few months, or maybe even years. Just try and be sure to take note of the great things “30 Rock” did with its DVD bonus features. A good blooper reel is worth 14 bucks any day of the week, no matter how great a show’s ratings might be.