Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Television - That 70's Show, Lost, Lie to Me, The Big Bang Theory

I've been trying out new TV shows lately.

Until nearly mid-high school, I didn't watch much other than Nickelodeon and Disney Channel (and Boomerang), since I was young, naive, and unwilling to watch TV that was more than slightly risque. Sometime around junior year, I stopped watching TV on the actual TV set entirely, due to homework and the ever-present Indian soap opera... and just because the shows on Nick and Disney Channel were beginning to bore me. I would, of course, hear tell of various shows, but since I didn't watch any of them, my joining in would be of, shall we say, limited scope.

Sometime around senior year, I discovered That 70's Show on YouTube, and every episode of all eight seasons was there. This became my TV replacement for a while. I watched all (200) of the episodes, in order (several times), and found that jokes would often reference events in earlier episodes, which made watching them all the more enjoyable. So that's what I did for a while... watch That 70's Show in order for several months. I'd watch it generally at my desk in my room while I was eating, or at 2 AM when I had homework to do and no motivation to do it.

When I went to Berkeley, my roommate told me about Lost, and said I would probably enjoy the show, since it was complex, many-layered, and intellectual. So I gave it a shot, and it was pretty interesting. It's still interesting at the end of Season 2; however, a few people have told me that the show becomes stupid B.S. after the third season or so... it'll be a shame if and when that happens, but until then, it will provide entertainment while I watch the episodes in order.

Watching TV shows online is great. They're there, complete, in order, in high quality; you can pause and replay and watch at your own leisure and pace, whether it's one episode spread out over several days or whether you watch an entire season in a weekend. What is there not to like about this situation?

Ninjavideo offers many contemporary popular shows online in high-quality DivX. I watch Lost here, and I've also gotten hooked on a new show called Lie to Me, a very interesting crime drama about the Lightman Group, an organization that makes use of facial expressions, psychology, and body language to determine concealed feelings and deception. I also considered giving Fringe a shot, but I haven't watched any episodes yet. Since Lie to Me won't be back until April, I started watching The Big Bang Theory, a show which I was recommended to like and which is popular these days.

True, it's a pretty funny show, with good (and scientifically accurate) dialogue, comic interplay between characters, and decent one-liners. I'm interested in spite of the ridiculous nerd-geek stereotypes - that is, after all, what makes the show funny. However, as I watch, I feel sometimes as if I'm watching myself... it's almost as if the characters say out loud what goes through my head. I've long since learned not to do that, and benefited from it. Of course I don't conjure particle physics out of my head (and wouldn't even if I knew it), but the principle is the same. Some differences between BBT and shows like Lost and Lie to Me is time (BBT is a half hour show) and type (BBT is a sitcom, the other two are dramas). Although BBT is full of science and other intellectual jargon, I'd still consider it less intelligent than the more complex and involved hour long dramas... as it should be.

Of course, I wonder if I should really get back into watching TV, because in two weeks I'll be back at Berkeley working and studying... I doubt that I will have the time to watch all these shows AND attempt to make connections at Berkeley AND do homework AND sleep, all at once.

This post ended up being much longer than I intended it to be. I should really work on that conciseness thing Mrs. Stover was telling me about.

1 comment:

Donna said...

I purposely did not watch some shows that I used to follow during the school semester because I wanted to save it and watch them all during winter break. The problem now is that I am having a hard time finding these episodes online. Ninjavideo you say?

I lvoe That 70's show. Did you know Jackie was only 14 when she started the series? And it took me the longest time to figure out that the scenes where they are in the circle at the table with smoke is what it is.