It’s the end of the year which means I am even more introspective than usual. As I’ve said numerous times over the past few weeks in my own Best of 2014 posts and in the comments of Katie’s posts, it’s been an amazing year for television. There was (or at least seemed to be) more diversity shown on-screen and even more platforms providing new content than last year.
In addition to all the ways television as a medium has changed, I’ve also noticed changes to my viewing habits. There is so much available and since I came in fairly late to the idea of watching absurd amounts of TV, so many older shows I want to experience as well. To conclude this exciting year of TV and discussion here at TVexamined, I’ve compiled a short list of what I’ve learned and changed about the way I watched TV in 2014. Thank you all so much for reading and commenting and I hope to see you next year!
This year, I’ve embraced the idea of only watching what you like or what brings you pleasure in some way. For too long I’ve been a show completist and stuck with shows to the bitter end, even if I was no longer enjoying them. Shows change, tastes change, and time constraints sometimes mean things have to go. I let go of at least a few shows this year, some of which I may pick up again someday but others will probably always be left unfinished. As a whole, it’s made my experience of watching TV more enjoyable as now I look forward to all of my shows weekly instead of letting things stack up and watching only to clear them off my list.
I was also reminded of the benefits to taking recommendations from friends. These are the people who know your taste in TV and are the most enthusiastic about getting you to watch something. If you are anything like me, your list of shows to watch eventually is longer than can feasibly be watched in a lifetime, so friends are a great way to focus that list a little. Without a recommendation, I wouldn’t have found Eli Stone which has become one of my favorite shows or tried Sports Night which means I would never have seen the episode “Six Southern Gentleman of Tennessee”. I also would not be watching Grey’s Anatomy or The X-Files at the moment and both have already brought me a lot of joy and entertainment.
I found the fun in stretching my TV comfort zone. This year, I tried my first animated show (Bob’s Burgers) since my days of watching Rugrats, Doug, and Hey Arnold. The format of the show may be different and there may still be a little more toilet humor than I prefer, but it has so many other features that I love in a show. It has great characters to love and lots of random singing, which I’m a sucker for. It was also the year I tried my first show made in a non-English speaking country. The content of the show was right up my alley (political drama with strong female characters) but it’s a different experience watching something entirely in a language you don’t understand. It turns out that I love it and while I probably don’t get quite as much out of the dialogue as a native speaker, subtitles and vocal inflection goes a long way. I’m a TV nerd at heart, so I want to try anything that expands my idea of what TV is and can be. I may not like it all, and I’ve certainly tried shows that haven’t immediately appealed to be, but broadening my horizons has been well worth it.
Finally, I learned that following even more TV critics than I already did makes Twitter even more fun. Whether they are liveblogging a show they are watching for pleasure or engaging each other in conversation and debate over a show or scene, I feel like I learn even more about the ways other people watch and experience TV and it reminds me that just because they do this for a living, it doesn’t take away the pleasure of watching something for fun. On a more practical note, it’s also a lot easier to keep track of reviews or special posts that they link when they are all on Twitter. It’s quicker than checking each website I read.