Friday Five on TV

Another Friday Five.

1. How many TVs do you have in your home?

Two, a large one in our living room, and a small reconditioned number in our computer room. Neither of these are ours. My parents bought the reconditioned television set as a housewarming gift five years ago, and Marguerite delivered the 27”, giving the people at VIA Rail a heart attack. She travelled from Lansing, Michigan to Kitchener, Ontario via the Amtrak/VIA International. Apparently, Amtrak allows television sets on their trains, but VIA doesn’t. VIA, apparently, is afraid that they might explode.

2. On average, how much TV do you watch in a week?

More than we probably think we do. We’ve tried to make a conscious decision to watch less television. Erin has to write, I spend my day in an office, and I want to write, and there are Internet projects to worry about. We don’t have time to laze our evenings away in front of the tube. But we do. We watch three shows regularly, two semi-regularly, and we leave the television on for some evenings to just “veg out”.

Shall we say: three hours a day? At least?

3. Do you feel that television is bad for young children?

Very few things are inherently bad. It’s only when they are used out of moderation that they become bad. I personally believe that the concerns over violence on television are overblown. Television itself should not be responsible for the parenting of children, the parents should.

And as Marguerite sagely pointed out: if television was really so influential, why aren’t there fewer women going into higher education? Why are there so many woman pushing forward in their careers? Television is awash with negative images — not just violence and sex, but sexism and propaganda. But any person who can think for his or herself can overcome that. It’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure this is taught to their children. Television is okay, so long as the parents just don’t plunk it down as a babysitter.

4. What TV shows do you absolutely HAVE to watch, and if you miss them, you’re heartbroken?

Buffy: the Vampire Slayer is the best show currently in production. Angel, while less consistent, is not far behind. We also regularly watch The West Wing and are growing to love Farscape. Enterprise isn’t half bad either.

5. If you had the power to create your own television network, what would your line-up look like?

It would be lined up with shows that didn’t insult the viewers’ intelligence, and it would have a heavy bias towards science fiction and fantasy. Lots of Doctor Who reruns, and new episodes to boot. I’d also trawl for the classic British science-fiction series, such as Quatermass and Sapphire and Steel. I’d try to have my shows tell good stories, not only per episode, but throughout the series as a whole. I would give each new series about seven years to tell their stories, and then write themselves out on a high note. I wouldn’t let shows linger on past their prime (see The X-Files).

I would not let my network be contaminated by “reality television” and other gimmicks as “When Animals Attack” or the “World Gluttony Championships”. I’d try to be a little subversive, like Fox used to be.

What happened, Fox? You used to be cool.

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