Friday, June 16, 2006

Television Viewing Habits

My television viewing habits have had a major overhaul over the last year since becoming a father. Come to think of it, "overhaul" isn't the right descriptor. The word "non-existent" fits so much better.

I went from not missing an episode of 24 to being 8 episodes behind with no appreciable chance to catch up on those episodes. For all I know, Jack Bauer could have changed identity again and I would be totally left in the dark as Season 6 begins next January.

Aside from 24 and other hit FOX shows like American Idol (not a big fan), I have no idea what shows are popular and what ones are not. Most of my family room time is either spent reading, vacuuming or watching PBS programs like Arthur or Clifford the Big Red Dog or Its a Big, Big World starring Snook and his friends.

Why do I know that?

Being a parent of an almost one year old baby, television becomes less and less a driving force in ones life. It's a shame really.

That's about to change.

After a year on hiatus, it's now time to rekindle the television experience. A solid recommittment back to the glory days of lounging on the couch spending good quality time staring at a box gleaming with moving color pictures of activity spanning a multitude of genres at the expense of house upkeep and paying bills. Look, not that my life has to revolve around television. But taking some time to reacquaint ones self with the remote is our American duty. Remember, nothing says "My brain is shut down until further notice" more than a day chalked full of television entertainment.

Popularity aside, here is my list (in no particular order) of television shows that I would watch if I had unlimited free time.

1. 24

The hit FOX show which airs on Monday nights at 9PM just ended its 5th season. Viewers have to suspend disbelief due to the inordinate amount of "stuff" that that happens in one episode (one hour of real time) in Los Angeles. If you've driven in L.A., try getting more than five miles in less than a half an hour. If the show took place in North Dakota, no problem. But L.A.? Nope. Not happening. Seriously, superb writing makes this show what it is along with Keifer Sutherland's innate ability in keeping his facial hair at 2 days growth.

2. House

Another FOX show I thought wouldn't last mainly because it was another medical drama. Boy was I wrong. Hugh Laurie who plays Dr. Greg House is masterful. After watching one episode, Mr. Laurie (born and raised in england) will make you believe that he is really from the states.

3. The Sopranos

Honestly, I've never watched an episode because I don't have HBO but I figure any show with gangsters (not gangstas) is good in my book.

4. Mythbusters

Create a show that revolves around experiments you always wanted to try as a kid but never had the stuff to do it. That's Mythbusters. What kind of gun if shot into a lake would not reach you if you were hiding from bad guys under the water? The answer awaits you on Mythbusters.

5. Family Guy

Yes, FOX has done it again with this irreverent animated comedy about a dysfunctional family with a talking dog and a baby that is bent on world domination. Add in a few 80s pop-cultural references and its a half hour of quality entertainment as long as your not easily offended.

6. Desperate Housewives

Okay, I put this on the list because its the popular thing to do. I don't watch it and I'm not real geeked up at the prospects of one day seeing it. Housewives in suburbia. That's all I know. But if Eva Longoria stays on the show then maybe a ten minute paroozing of this one hour drama will be in order in the fall.

7. Scrubs

Another medical show that I thought was doomed when it aired in 2001. For 5 seasons, its held its own on NBC and has become a cult favorite. The plot surrounds a young doctor who is trying to learn the ways of medicine, friendship and life. The characters all deliver their lines in a quick, sometimes sarcastic, comically steady tone. For instance, Dr. Cox played by John McGinley plays an intimidating character oozing with sarcasm but deep down, has a heart of gold. By far, the best character on the show. However, his perm has to go.

8. American Idol

So many parents are looking for a family oriented show versus content driven by sex and violence. Enter American Idol...or American Karaoke as radio talk show host Jim Rome refers to it. The plot: Get a group of singer wannabees who have no job, send them to Hollywood, tell them they are the best entertainers since Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, give them a mic and have them sing. At the end of the season, every karaoker will end up going home dejected only to realize that they're only good enough to sing at Flea Markets and County Fairs. The winner, although not guaranteed, might actually have a singing career. after its all over. Last season, a grey haired 29 year old won the whole thing. Come on. The guy is really 48! Anyway, tune in for more wacky wannabee singer hijinx during season 6 starting in January of 2007.

9. The Daily Show

Forget the liberal bias or the conservative slant in daily news. The Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart is the news stripped down and presented in a satirical manner with a ton of embellishment. In other words, it entirely fake but pure comedic perfection.

10. Lost

A very hot show. Survivors of a plane crash are forced to live with each other on a remote island. Gilligan's Island this isn't.

There you have it. But alas, I have no unlimited free time so all of this TV watching won't be happening. Well...maybe an episode of 24. After all, it was a cliffhanger. When do they go to the bathroom?