tv

Kill your TV

I watch a powerful amount of crap on the TV, it has to be said. I’m determined to raise the quality bar and reduce the number of shows I watch to only the very best, primo fino alla fine that the medium has to offer. After all, I have a lot else to occupy my time what with Go, reading a cube-shaped book about Dickens, and living the simple, ascetic, minimalist life of a Taoist monk, if it was a Taoist monk that eats a lot of crisps.

So here is my list of allowable shows. Some of them I have already seen but it would be better to watch them again, than to waste my golden autumn years watching lesser forms of entertainmint.

Quality drama

  • Six Feet Under
  • The Sopranos
  • Breaking Bad
  • The Wire
  • Deadwood
  • The Tudors
  • Lost
  • Sherlock
  • Game of Thrones
  • Jonathan Creek
  • Hustle
  • Generation Kill

Classic comedy

  • The Simpsons
  • King of the Hill
  • Seinfeld
  • Frasier
  • Black Books
  • Spaced
  • Father Ted
  • Blackadder
  • Yes Minister

Also

  • Quality documentaries, especially about massive engineering, or space. Or massive space engineering which would be the best.
  • QI which is basically like an evening with me, only with less surprising facts and not as funny jokes.
  • Lavish costume dramas (especially Dickens adaptations.)

I obviously had to eliminate a lot of quite good things in my pursuit of the greatest and most culturally significant TV shows of all time. Basically if we were sending a space probe out to contact alien civilisations, and we put a DVD on board, it is the type of thing that would go on that DVD.

You may disagree with the contents of this list - indeed, you certainly will - and of course you are entitled to your wrong views. Comment if you think I have missed out on something fantastic, because obviously I will never be watching any new shows again, as the list has closed and will remain as it is, for ever. [Updated April 2013]

Crikey

I was just watching another perfeckly crafted episode of Grange Hill there, while enjoying a refreshing fajita, and who should pop up as Pogo Patterson’s reluctant love intrest, but Sharon out of EastEnders! Also known as TV’s glamorous Letitia Dean.

Grange Hill is one of those programmes like Casualty which everybody who went to stage school in Britain has to be in at some point. Or it was as apparently it is cancelled now, that is OK as I do not know anything that happened after about 1990 anyway. That is as true of real life as it is of Grange Hill.

Of course everyone else out of Grange Hill later went on to EastEnders as well eg my lookalike Todd Carty, Susan Tully, and some other people.

It is mad when you use the power of the modern Internet to investergate what has happened to people out of Grange Hill. Ziggy Greaves is a playwright, Zammo Maguire owns one of those little shops that mends shoes and cuts keys, and is fat, and gruff PE teacher Mr Baxter is a successful novelist.

Fay Lucas’s son was the scary child with a gas mask out of Dr Who, Claire Scott posed nude for a magazine, released a bad cover of ‘The Locomotion’, and now works in a shoe shop. Pogo Patterson is a pub landlord. Gonch Gardner was the president of my student union when I was at UEA, where he continued to raise money by ridickulous business schemes eg selling toast in the playground. That does not work at university, as students cannot afford luxury food like toast.

Mr Bronson of course was in The Empire Strikes Back, where he frightened Imperial storm troopers by shouting ‘YOU BOY!’ at them. And his arch-nemesis Danny Kendall is now head of communications for AOL, if that still exists.

So if anyone laughs at you for watching bad 1980s TV eg classic era Grange Hill, Blake’s 7 ekcetera, do not listen to them as it is good.

Kettles are saaaaad

Primitivepeople unfortunately hurt his foot, for which much sympathy, but he did manage to bring happiness to others by posting hilarious Alan Partridge clips. So now I have been spending the day watching more such clips:

I just got through reading Sharkey Ward’s excellent book Sea Harrier over the Falklands, which is jolly intresting about naval air combat operations, but many of the anecdotes in the book seem to end, like Alan Partridge’s Bouncing Back, with the words “Needless to say, I had the last laugh.”

Hit that switch!

As missfrost and others have pointed out, it is TV-Turnoff Week! Despite some sneering from (television) journalists, I think it’s quite good to remind ourselves every so often that the world doesn’t revolve around telly.

As one of our foremost philosophers Bill Watterson has remarked:


We’re not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery— it recharges by running.

I love watching telly, but then I also love double chocolate muffins, and I know they’re bad for me. That doesn’t mean I can’t have them, just that I need to exercise a bit of self-control. It is surprising how if you ban yourself from watching TV for a day, you find all sorts of other intresting things to do. Why not try it and report your experiences on televisionfree?

These people are nuts!

(King of the Hill. Bill, Dale and Boomhauer are in a mental institution due to a typically bizarre and incompetent sequence of events.)

Dale: We gotta get out of here. Smokin’ breaks are too short, the food is good at best, and the anti-depressants are making my mouth dry. And happy!

Bill: Why don’t we just call Hank?

Dale: No! Hank must never know we were in here. Our society stigmatises the mentally ill. And rightly so! These people are nuts!

Two of those guys are living in windmills!

Four hours stuck in a wigwam with a bunch of sad-acts who know more about me than I do. Two of those guys are living in windmills! That’s like one step away from Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.” — Jonathan Creek

The scary thing is that I do want to copy Jonathan Creek and be exactly like him including living in a windmill. And the other day I was stalking him by nearly visiting his windmill at Shipley in West Sussex, although that was by accident.

I think the appeal for me is that he is a tall intellergent man with messy hair who lives on his own, solving impossible murders and doing mortgage adverts, and is immensely attractive to women. That is nearly like me except for the adverts. And the murders.

Photo by Garry1968