My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, October 15

Television Complexity

Television has come to dominate our lives to such a degree that I can’t understand how we all find the time to see all that’s worth seeing. I’ve lived through the entire television revolution, growing up when all we had for escape were the radio shows young people listened to in the afternoons, families listened to in the evenings—“Inner Sanctum” (that scary creaking door), “The Lone Ranger” (Hi ho, Silver!), “The Shadow,” (Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man?), “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy,” and later in the day, “The Jack Benny Show,” “Red Skelton,” “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “George Burns & Gracie Allen,” “Amos and Andy.” Only audio experiences with the video supplied by our imaginations. And then the little boxes showed up in our livingrooms, with tiny pictures in fuzzy black and white, and no one could afford to miss “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Star Trek,” or “Mission Impossible.” Now that I think about it, I guess we then spent just as many hours, too many hours, in front of either the radio or those primitive little boxes. Then color was introduced to the mix, and the boxes got bigger and bigger. Where once there were only three networks, we began to see the growth of others, starting with Fox and ESPN and then HBO and virtually hundreds of others, now all making their own series and movies and specials, all vying for our time and our money. Too much to see all that’s worth seeing, only twenty-four hours in a day. But we do our best by dvr-ing stuff to watch when we make the time, by watching on all the tiny devices now available, all the I-pads and I-phones, peering into these tiny devices as we walk or work or drive to work. Too often when we’re driving to work. Too much to see, too much to do, too little time. I don’t own any of the tiny devices, so that gives me extra time for living life. And I don’t pay for the premium channels, so I don’t have to make time for the good stuff, like The Sopranos or Homeland or Breaking Bad or any of the other Emmy winners on HBO or Showtime. And of the series available on CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, and TNT, I weed out the ones that are either too complicated or too violent or too self-conscious to allow me to understand what the characters are saying. The too complicated: The Blacklist and Sleepy Hollow. The too violent: American Horror Story and The Following. Then there are the shows that have the characters either whispering or speaking too fast to understand: Person of Interest, NCIS, and, too often, The Good Wife. That leaves the shows I can understand without having to bend my mind too much: Major Crimes, Rizolli and Isles, Blue Bloods, The Mentalist, The Bates Motel, The Americans, and CSI. I almost wish the networks would do more mini-series of five or six episodes which then come to a satisfying conclusion. Top of the Lake did that and I loved it. But all too often, a series will go on and on, with that dreaded five or six or seven month hiatus between seasons, causing me to forget what it was all about from the previous seasons. Or sometimes it will simply disappear because the ratings fell too far below what was acceptable to the network. That may be what happens to The Americans. That’s what happened to Men of a Certain Age, Ray Romano’s inspired examination of three aging buddies and one of the best things ever put on the tube.
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