Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Television

Much of my life I didn’t watch hardly any TV. Like maybe once a month. Now that I’m retired I have more time, so I have started watching some TV. There is an awful lot of really hard core, mind numbing trash on. But there are some good shows too. For the last 15 years I lived in Europe and I had satellite TV. Hundreds of channels. But I was working so I didn’t watch much other than the Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the BBC.

Here in America I am now just a retired old man living on a very modest income. So I haven’t got cable TV or satellite TV. All of what I watch is free over the air. The big problem with TV is the commercials. The volume is turned up much louder during the commercials, and they take come on all throughout the shows. Total time is sometimes almost half of the show.

If you buy a digital video recorder (DVR) then you can just simply fast forward past the commercials. You can press pause if you need to go the toilet or if the show gets a little too exciting. If you get a Tivo you have to pay them monthly fees, but it is also possible to legally purchase a DVR. This is what I did. The DVR makes watching television a truly pleasurable experience, instead of a constantly frustrating experience, with the continual loud interruption of the many, many commercials.

Here is my list of the genuinely first class and enjoyable programs that are on American TV at the moment:
My name is Earl
30 Rock

Knight Rider
Meet The Press
Saturday Night Live

Late night I prefer Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson (who hosts the late-late show). I record Craig Ferguson, since I very rarely am awake when his show comes on. Then I watch him the following day, usually mid-afternoon.

The Public Broadcasting System has some good programs too:
E Squared
Jim Lehrer
Gwen Eifel
Bill Moyers
Tavis Smiley
BBC World News