When I hear people say that they don’t watch television because “there’s nothing good on”, it makes me wonder.
We have plenty of alternatives to watching TV, it’s true. But that doesn’t negate TV as having worthwhile content.
I think what people mean when they say there’s nothing good on is that they are used to a passive experience where they turn to a channel and just watch it for a bit — primetime TV on one of the big networks being a typical example.
But that is ignorant of the powerful and informative potential of television. In fact, there are fewer and fewer people who watch television idly, and there are more and more who watch television selectively. Many now record shows on their Tivos, but me personally, I either record my shows using Windows Media Center or download episodes off the Internet.
The only time I actually watch TV is for live events like the Olympics.
But there are so many quality shows on TV! Yes, there are regular series (I watch Battlestar Galactica, LOST, and The Apprentice), but there are a lot more special miniseries on topics I’m interested in. Right now I’m watching Hard Knocks from HBO, which shows training camp for NFL teams. A seven-part miniseries called Generation Kill just finished on HBO, detailing the Marine invasion into Iraq in 2003. I download these episodes since I don’t have HBO.
A few months ago, there was a long series called CARRIER, showing life on a nuclear aircraft carrier.
So TV has to be one of many sources of information for someone who is truly curious about the world. It’s true that there’s a lot of garbage on TV, but that’s not really a comment from a curious, engaged human being.