Sunday Discussion: Too much TV?

I discovered a show called Rectify a few weeks ago, and it's one of the best shows I've stumbled over in years. But I didn't try it when it was new. I discovered it while the third season was airing. (Maybe I would have found it a lot sooner if I'd just listened to Jess Lynde. Or if it hadn't aired on Sundance.)

Isn't it annoying when that happens? Or maybe it's a show you stuck with for an entire season or two, but it never lived up to its potential and you realized you wasted a whole lot of time. Or a show that started great but fell apart and never recovered and just kept getting worse... wait, I'm having Heroes flashbacks. Or possibly FlashForwards. Or maybe it's a show that you tried and gave up on, and then later it turned out to be terrific and you kicked yourself for not sticking with it. That happened to me with two of my all time favorites, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Babylon 5.

So here is this week's discussion question: Is there too much good TV out there these days? How do you choose what to try when you're faced with such a wide selection from every genre imaginable? I mean, I remember when there was never enough science fiction on television for me, and now there's arguably too much. Is it starting to feel like a chore to pick and choose?

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


mazephoenix said...

Yes, there is too much to choose from. I'm happy to see so much sf..but there's not enough time. So it's all about choices. Sometimes shows get cancelled and the choices get easier..Hannibal for instance. I still have some many feels about the (perfect) finale.
So while I'm glad there's a's a double-edged sword.
Glad to see you covering Recify-it's a show that has gotten lost among the many choices.

Phyllis Strickland said...

I gave it a third try. It just feels so depressing and it is so slow. I think I'll wait to eye if the network let them finish their story. I'd be doubly upset if that was also canceled prematurely

Gavrielle said...

I'm old enough to remember not having too many things to watch. It was in the early 1990s, and in NZ we had three free to air channels. I could keep up with TV no problem. Then we subscribed to satellite TV, and everything changed: for the first time there was more TV available than I could possibly watch. It was nice to have more choice, but it also caused anxiety.

And of course it's got so much worse since then. Whereas I formerly had to put up with TV arriving several years later than the rest of the world if it arrived at all, I now can (and do) pick from the TV schedules of the US, the UK, Australia, Europe and Japan. And of course it's now also easy to pick up series I missed the first time round (hello, The Practice).

It's way too much to keep up with, especially as I also work long hours. And yes, it definitely causes panic when I feel buried under a tidal wave of media. My way of dealing with it is first to be ruthless about quickly cutting anything I don't love, and second to deliberately not let myself worry that more and more great TV is piling up. I tell myself I'll have time to watch it "some day". This, I have to say, only sort of half works. But it's the best I've got.

Jenna said...

I choose those which are reviewed here on this site - and thus have the Billie Doux Stamp of Approval™ :)

No, seriously. I rarely watch a show which isn't reviewed here. Also, as I don't have access to American TV, I use this site to discover new shows to watch. My enjoyment of TV shows wouldn't be complete without Doux Reviews :)

Billie Doux said...

Jenna, that's just lovely. :) For me, it's the other way around -- I usually try things that our Doux Reviews readers recommend more than once because I'm pretty overwhelmed by all of the choices out there. If something doesn't grab me right away these days, I usually drop it.

Jess Lynde said...

I like that there are a lot of choices these days, and that there are so many options in the types of show I like. It has been just wonderful to have a full slate of sci-fi programming to enjoy this summer, in addition to the wonderful Rectify (which I'm absolutely thrilled more people are checking out because Billie is reviewing it!). It does mean that some really great things tend to get abysmal ratings, but it also seems like networks (cable networks, in particular) are giving the low-rated shows slightly longer leashes these days. So gems like Rectify and The Americans can still eek out multiple seasons, even if they only seem to appeal to a limited few.

Fortunately, the inability to watch everything has never really bothered me. I never feel pressured to check out a show just because everyone else seems to enjoy it. I just check out the things that appeal to me based on premise, style, and cast, or get tips from fellow fans or professional critics. Sometimes that means starting with a show from the beginning, and sometimes it means coming to a show later, if it has the types of elements I typically enjoy and enough folks keep insisting that it gets better. Either way works for me. That’s just the life of a television fan!

Jenna said...

Billie, I know I don't comment much, but I've been hanging around since waaay back, when the site was simply called "Billie Doux" and there were no reader comments under the reviews. I remember those nice photos from the shows on the margins of the individual pages, which changed each month. I used to get excited by the beginning of each month to find a new picture there :) I've found a bazillion of great shows thanks to you & your friends. And my favorite way to watch TV is to binge-watch the episodes, and reading your reviews after each one :)

Billie Doux said...

Jenna, you just made my day.

I miss those side photos, too, even though I still have them all in a great big file. A casualty of moving to a more user friendly site, I guess.

Heather said...

I end up feeling pretty overwhelmed by all of the great possibilities much of the time. I think it's because I want to be a part of an audience while it's airing or being discussed in the social media/internet sphere. Even typing this comment, though, it sounds like a wholly unnecessary thing to bemoan, since I am also of course grateful that there are so many things out there that get people excited to talk about TV.

mazephonix: Hannibal finale!!!!

Josie Kafka said...

I love that there's so much great TV out there. I especially love that I still have some retro shows to binge-watch, which is my preferred method of viewing.

But there aren't many great comedies, and that's driving me a little crazy. I liked The Office, 30 Rock, Community, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Arrested Development. Even Parks and Rec. But I haven't discovered a sitcom that I like as much as those canceled shows. (Okay, Kimmy Schmidt is getting a second season...but when?!)

rebecca_s921 said...

I subscribe to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Crunchyroll (for manga and anime.) Between old and new shows I honestly have too many choices. This is not counting shows I buy from Amazon or Itunes, like Dr. Who which I have to buy because I don't get BBC America. There were up to 20 shows I was tracking on Hulu but now it's dropped down to around 8 or so, simply due to fatigue (too much of the same thing, like 10 seasons of Bones or Supernatural (sorry not sorry)), not enough time, and simply lack of interest. There are days I look at all the choices, sigh, then turn off my lap top and go read a book, but that might be my depression flaring up.

There are a lot of shows getting high marks from everyone, like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc. that I simply don't want to watch, simply because of the depressing premise. I kind of have to be in the right mood to be able to get through those. The first season of The Walking Dead was deeply traumatizing to me. I felt I was in a down mood for a whole week, and don't want to watch season 2 at all. Regarding Hannibal, I'll probably binge it when season 3 hits Amazon, when I feel I've built up enough mental fortitude to handle it. :P

Billie Doux said...

I'm really enjoying the comments.

I don't think I can handle Hannibal. :) And I was just saying to someone that if it weren't for Talking Dead, The Walking Dead would be too depressing to watch. Somehow, decompressing for an hour with Chris Hardwick makes me put it in perspective.

mazephoenix said...

Love this site with its informed reviews. As far as sitcoms go-oh I have a hard time finding anyhting fun. Impastor is so, so bad. I want it to be good because it stars Michael Rosenbaum-he deserves a hit. But sadly it's just too bad and predictable. I look forward to more Kimmy Schmidt too.
Brooklyn Nine nine is very funny. Somehow it makes the concept work and Andre Braugher's deadpan is priceless.

Valerie said...

While there is an abundance of TV and I of course appreciate that, I think all the noise is drowning out the truly great programs. I don't have the time to sift through all the the new programs anymore (which is why this site is so helpful, I never would have found my all time favorites such as Veronica Mars and Buffy if it wasn't for Billie Doux) So yes I think it's too much TV.

P.S. a good comedy that is on right now is Alpha House, it's an amazon original that focuses on U.S. senators. it's absolutely hysterical.

Heather Carmitchel said...

I feel like I'm relatively dialed in to what is going on with TV, so I really only tune in after the first few eps have aired and I see some good news about it or if I'm completely out of TV to watch and I've been looking forward to something. I like to give shows about 2-3 eps to catch my interest, though sometimes it is easy to tell from the pilot that I do or don't care. My personal feeling is that even though there is a lot on, the majority of it is really poor. I think actually spend most of my time rewatching things that I know I like, especially because I'm introducing them to my boyfriend.

Right now I'm watching Person of Interest and In Plain Sight with him because I thought he'd like them (he did) and I recently watched a few eps of Rectify, Transparent, Sneaky Pete (pilot), Humans, Mr. Robot, and Lucifer. Of those, I'll watch Sneaky Pete and Mr. Robot with the BF and maybe Lucifer or Transparent on my own.