One of the many joys of the current golden age of television, which may or may not have ended depending on who you listen to – no prizes for guessing where I stand on the issue – is the insanely large variety of shows on offer.
On any given night, you can go from laugh-out-loud sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory or Suburgatory, switch across to an English period soap like Downton Abbey, zip back cross the channels to take in an imaginative and sci-fi show like Warehouse 13 or Haven before settling in to watch one vision of the apocalypse unfold in The Walking Dead before finishing up with a fantasy like Grimm or Once Upon a Time or a searing drama like House of Cards or The Americans.
Talk about spoilt for glorious choice.
It makes it kind of hard to think about sleeping right?
Of course I do (not nearly enough though as I burn the pop culture absorption candle at both ends; for the record, it bright, colourful and pixelated) but like last night the temptation is to keep watching TV till your eyes pop out – a very Fringe-like event if ever there was one but I digress – and mix up genres like nobody’s business.
And so I do with alacrity.
At the moment I am trying to watch episodes of shows as diverse as Once Upon a Time (season 2), Happy Endings (season 3), Ben and Kate (sigh … just the one season) and British show This is Jinsy , all snugly stored on my PVR, and season 5 of Fringe, season 2 of Suburgatory and Haven (season 3), all happily sitting there waiting to be viewed on my housemate’s PVR.
Of course that completely ignores the legion of shows on DVD sitting in my bulging-at-the-seams IKEA Benno shelving like all 3 season of In Treatment, seasons 2-4 of Parks and Recreation and all of Bored to Death, which I desperately want to watch if only sleep and the need to work for money didn’t keep getting in the way.
In an effort to make some headway on this enticing backlog – which is also bizarrely inducing a kind of Unwatched TV Anxiety Disorder which is sure to be entered into psychiatric journals the world over any day now – my housemate and I settled on an eclectic mix of two episodes of Fringe season 5 (“Five-Twenty-Ten” and “The Human Kind”) and two episodes of season 2 of the quirky sitcom Suburgatory (“Homecoming” and “The Witch of East Chatswin”), giving us a heady brew of two parts dystopian view of the future with two (very tanned and perky) parts quirky suburban satire.
Two very different shows but both excellent viewing, and both explorations of what it means to be human (although though clearly from very different perspectives), and somehow they both balanced each other perfectly.
Once we were done with our beloved Fringe team retrieving all manner of odd devices such as a giant industrial magnet and two Alien-like cylinders, and cringing as Peter (Joshua Jackson) cut an electronic bug out of the back of his lower brain stem with a knife at the urging of your wife Olivia (Anna Torv) to stop him becoming an emotion-less Observer, we merrily skipped across a host of files and watched Tessa, newly returned from a summer in New York with her maternal grandmother, and excited about the connections she might have with her absent mother, navigating once again the treachorous shoals of superficial, if well-meaning, suburbia, and dealing with a witch who turns out to be not a witch at all but a, um, feminist?
While I am aware there has always been a heady mix of genres down the history of television, there is something about the vast breadth of current choices and the creative risks taken by today’s TV producers that gives you the chance, every single night of the week if you want it, to mix-and-match high-quality eminently watchable diversely-themed shows to your heart’s content.
It truly is the Joy Eclectic of TV viewing and long may it last!
* What’s your weirdest mix of shows at one sitting? Do you prefer one genre per viewing stint or happy to be as eclectic as possible?