When I worked full time I was one of those obnoxious people who says “I don’t really watch much TV,” putting down the poor TV-watching soul who tried to initiate a conversation.
But it was true, and not only because I worked full time and had two children. There just wasn’t very much on back then.
Now it’s a different story, and one of my favorite things to talk about is a TV show that someone else loves as much as I do. Breaking Bad was one, and The L Word and Web Therapy and, most especially, In Treatment. Now I have to get my Gabriel Byrne fix somewhere else – and The Vikings doesn’t quite do it!
These days, as I’ve written before, almost every single one of my favorite shows are on Sunday night: Girls, Looking, Episodes, Downton Abbey, and True Detective.
It’s hard to find people my age to talk to about Girls. Have they forgotten? Or did they just glide through their twenties without angst? For me, it’s hard to watch, but mesmerizing – like reading someone’s diary. Not really like a TV show at all.
Looking got a few bad reviews, for some reason – perhaps because the guys in present-day San Francisco seem so ordinary, kind of like twenty-something girls. It feels a little more scripted and stylized than Girls, but it’s another interesting cultural window.
Cultural windows – I guess that’s what all these shows are about. Episodes, about British screenwriters whose TV show in England was such a hit they were brought to Hollywood to recreate it, is very funny – a wry look at what happens when Hollywood meets highbrow.
Very highbrow Downton Abbey is a bit like a more fast-paced Upstairs Downstairs set to sappy Lifetime movie music with, it seems, more attention to place settings and gowns. The fast pace feels jarring – you’re just drifting happily into one story when you’re jerked away into another (it must be designed for people with short attention spans), but at least all the story lines are intriguing.
And then True Detective, a series to savor. I read somewhere it’s an existential detective story – for me, it’s a character study, with two amazing actors, one of whom I never really paid attention to until he lost 40 pounds. (This is what he looked like in Dallas Buyer’s Club; he’s gained a little weight since then but he’s still rather gaunt, which fits his existential ruminations).
Okay, enough – I’ve driven off all my poor non-TV-watching readers who came here for edification. And besides, help! I have all this recorded Olympic ice skating to watch!