It was probably before “Lost’s” first season where I finally succumbed to becoming a couch potato, but I have kind of known alongside many other pop culture enthusiasts that television was evolving into something else than mindless TGIF programming. Obviously, you can even look before “The Sopranos” took HBO by storm to uncover such gems like “Dream On” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” Around the time that “Breaking Bad” became water-cooler fodder, I was singing the praises to the high heavens that TV was becoming somewhat more interesting than films. Now that I didn’t love movies still, but more people were excited about television that movies around certain friends of mine who weren’t cinephiles. Television was exciting at least in a different way, akin to a good book you didn’t want to put down. Still, I can’t deny that nearly every show I have gotten hooked on still hinges upon the occasional soap opera tactic of a cliffhanger ending or melodramatics. Which doesn’t bother me, since that “hook” is what keeps me coming back. I never understood why my mom was addicted to soap operas until the same thing happened to me with Lost and then, Breaking Bad.
So now that I’ve seen shows like “The Affair, Mad Men, The Americans,” etc etc etc, I can safely say that TV programming is keeping me happy and relatively stimulated on an intellectual level but at the same time, much like any accessible medium now, is becoming difficult to keep up with in terms of sifting through content. Before we had 1000 channels to sift through and luckily DVRs have made it easy to pick and choose. Now that Hulu, Netflix and Amazon have gotten into production angle, it’s becoming even harder to decide which show to binge watch. I know a lot of friends who say “I will wait til it’s over” but I think since I grew up waiting week to week for my favorite shows, I enjoy the routine of the waiting game now. With that said, Amazon has done something very interesting these past couple of years by offering viewers a “choice” of sorts. They get to vote on which pilots they think will sucker them in for full seasons. I went through this process last year (or the year prior) and chose “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” I did enjoy Chris Carter’s Lost-esque horror apocalypse “The After,” but wasn’t eager to follow those characters as much as I was a crazy composer and of course, the now Emmy-winning Jeffrey Tambor. I think a lot of creative minds are getting behind this format and execution especially since a guy like Woody Allen is giving Amazon the thumbs up for his first TV show concept soon to be announced.