Last year I lived on my own for the first time in my life, and lived by a strict budget. I had to make room for beer and pizza, dvd’s and trips to the movies, so it came down to TV vs. The Internet, and since I’m a sucker for free porn whenever I want it, the internet won hands down. Half way through the year I was getting really bored, winter had set in, and in Syracuse New York that means lots of snow and shitty road conditions because in a place that gets lake-effect snow up the ass, apparently it is just too hard to figure out a system of snow removal and make it work! But old-man-style rants aside, I ended up being couped up in my tiny apartment a lot more than I liked. Terror was beginning to set in, I had read all of my books and most of Graphic Novels more than twice, I wont even go into how many times I read The Walking Dead series from beginning to where the last I had issue left off. Therefore I decided to dive into some T.V. shows I had been putting off watching, mainly due to lack of T.V., or because I heard about them too late in the game and wouldn’t even know where to begin if I just started watching what was on at the time. Now I wont go into the details of how exactly I gained access to these shows because Big Brother is always watching, but I will say that it had something to do with the some sort of pirate infested web site and a program called transmission for Macs.
This did allow for me to watch some really great T.V. shows one episode after another with no commercial interruptions. Over the next month and a half I gorged myself on amazing television. I started with LOST, I had seen the first season but had missed a lot, so I went back and started from the beginning again to give myself a little refresher. Then I moved onto the first two seasons of The Wire, then I caught myself up on both versions of The Office, and the first two seasons of Extras, and finished with a bang with the all-too-amazing one-two punch of Battlestar Galactica (the mini-series right up to the end of season 3, webisodes included, thank you scifi.com), and Band of Brothers. After this I had to take a little break. It was far too much amazingness at one time, and I needed to give my brain and senses some time to recover. Also the winter rager that had happened around the area had taken a little bit of a break, so I decided to venture out to the movies and catch Children of Men, it was in its last few weeks of playing and I was already behind with all of my friends, and I also had been craving it ever since I first laid my eyes on the trailer the previous summer.
I don’t really want to get into how amazing the movie was, maybe at some point I will do a TARDY TO THE PARTY write-up on it, but suffice it to say, the movie was beyond good. It was even beyond amazing. It was the best thing I had seen in theaters in a long time, and possibly one of the best films I had seen in years. But I couldn’t help fighting this strange feeling deep down inside, a feeling that actually made me question my fimic taste, but this was a very short-lived bout of self doubt. It had finally dawned on me exactly what this feeling was…I felt a bit robbed. It has nothing to do with anything the movie did, but it has to do with my ridiculous T.V. watching session the weeks before I watched the movie. Television shows have gained an amazing production value, and people finally realized that better than average writing is the way to go if you really want both an addictive show, and good ratings. The characters are given more time to change, and show humanistic qualities, and the plot lines are given more time to flesh themselves out, and in the case of a few shows that I watched, almost a whole season’s worth of time to come to completion. In the end The Wire, and Battlestar Galactica were like 10 plus hour long movies, and since neither are done yet (actually The Wire is done, but I still have hours and hours to catch up on) there is no feeling of loss to have…there is still more coming. All of this though, leads to the feeling I keep getting after watching a new movie in the theaters, a feeling of “is this really it?” After seeing a T.V. show with the writing and production value of a movie, one episode after the other, without a commercial, any two hour movie just pales in comparison. They always end up feeling like a snip bit of something grander, and I am always left wondering what happens now that this plot is done, what is in store for the characters, or what happens with this minor character, I want to know more about them. And this is a result of being exposed to T.V. shows where those questions get answered almost always. Both Battlestar and the Wire were good at taking a character you think is merely a minor one and giving them time to be expounded upon at a later date, and also loving every second of it.
I’m not exactly sure where I am going with this though. I am not upset at movies for being too short, and I am not upset at T.V. for finally realizing its potential (and that most people like the 16:9 aspect ratio, and the cinematic feeling of immersion it gives you). Maybe I should be upset at my self and my addictive personality, for watching far too much T.V., and for doing it in a marathon and commercial-free way. Now that I am back at school I am watching less T.V. and more movies and I do feel this strange inner turmoil beginning to settle itself within me. But I fear what the future has in store, with no places of business in my town clambering for summer help, and am constantly left alone all day, bored and with a fast internet connection. It’s only a matter of time before I want to catch up on The Wire or finally give Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing the fair chance that it deserves. What will this mean for the summer movies I can’t wait to see. Maybe there needs to be group meetings for people with T.V. consumption problems. I just find it weird that the feeling I get after seeing a movie is not one I like, but I still really don’t have anything in particular I am mad at. The great filmmakers should continue to do what they do, and T.V. creators and writers need to keep up the good work. I think I just need to start looking at them the way they are, two different mediums of entertainment, and just appreciate that they are doing just that, entertaining me.
p.s. I still haven’t gotten a chance to see the new Indy movie yet, but now that I have waited so long and everyone else has, hopefully when I see it soon, it will be my next installment of Tardy to the Party!