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So, I don't have cable anymore. I don't want to be that guy, and say that I don't watch TV [1], because I do watch TV. I have a big TV, and I love to watch it. I await 4k excitedly. I mercilessly mock those who think SD is good enough. It's not. HD barely is. I think we're in a sort of Golden Age of TV [2]. Long form, story arcs, tales that couldn't be told before on TV, or not at all in movies [3], and in higher fidelity than you can currently get on the big screen [4]. And no one in front of you live-texting the movie on their phablet with brightness set to stun.

But back to the point, I don't channel surf anymore. I pick something and watch it. By whatever means, fair or foul. Archer, Justified, House of Cards (both versions), Deadwood, TDS, etc.

So when I sit in a hotel room and watch what's on, my first impression is, thanks be I don't waste time trying to find something to watch anymore. Apparently there aren't any happy finds of history, nature, or general interest anymore, something I could watch with half a brain, and maybe find out something I didn't know before. Or even just old movies.

Last night, I was struck by how many shows are just people picking through other peoples' junk. Weighing, judging the former owner, whether present or absent or unknown. Pawn shops, barn finds, storage lockers, junk yards, attics. And hoarders, in the end, the ultimate purveyors of the obsession with old things [5]. Cars, antiques, and emotions. Real Blank of Location and Top Whatever seem to be the equivalent of these shows, except holding up others' emotions, foibles, and follies up for our perusal, instead of junk.

Oddly, the BBC is to blame, followed by PBS. Antiques Roadshow (BBC first, then PBS) and An American Family both started these obsessions. Of course, we are apes, so maybe it was inevitable that the same need to observe others in our tribe gave us The Wire, and American Pickers. Dickens, and Jeff Probst.


[1] Though since I cut the cable, it's a lot less – lots of TV watching is just background noise.

[2] The original Golden Age was honestly not that golden. I Love Lucy is just not that funny, and never was. And now it's not really fair to call what we have now TV, except that it plays on the box in your living room, same as I Love Lucy. But that box is probably a computer, whether it's hooked up to a 50 inch flatscreen [5] or a tablet. It's not the networks. It's the internet.

[3] though it's possible that with the rise of HBO, Netflix, movies will figure out a way to play long form. That's what I'd be looking at if I were head of Universal.

[4] Yeah, at the old Hastings Ranch, on the 130 foot screen, it was better. And at the Arclight, with the projector set properly, and the current version of Die Hard not playing in the next theatre, it's better. But like the vinyl/digital argument, with all things optimized, and new vinyl, it sounds better on the first play. 100 plays in, digital wins every time.

[5] Pitch to Bravo execs – the guys from Pawn Shop go through hoarders' houses. Can't miss! Gets both the mullet and the all important schadenfreude demographic… No sorry, I just can't do it. Plus I'd say schadenfreude and I'd be out of that elevator.

[5] Flatscreen. Like “dial a number” (my Google Voice app still says “dialer”), Ma Bell telephone rings on mobile phones, static, modem noises, and record scratches, still around, but no one will remember the last time they actually saw/heard one.