Remember when TV was ephemeral? You watched a show when it was on free to air (was there any other sort of television?) and if you missed a bit, well tough. If you were lucky a show was repeated, which may have been done later in the week if the show proved popular. Otherwise you waited. And waited.
The next day at school, you’d talk about what was on, what you watched. I don’t think we had the concept of spoiler alert then.
Then came video recorders. You might have recorded a show if you were going out but it was tough to you if people talked about a show. It was your responsibility to watch the show close to the time it was aired.
Now there are so many ways of watching programs. We’ve lost the communal joy of watching something together, OK at our own home but at the same time and then talking about it – AT THE SAME TIME.
Our public broadcaster develops series that I often enjoy and if you miss out you can catch up online. But not for them waiting until the series is over, or releasing one episode online after it has played free to air. That’s so old hat. Now they release some series online all at once.
Such was the release of Glitch – a spooky thriller in a spookily Australian way. Not for our police to find naked bodies covered in soil in the cemetery, all dazed and incoherent, and think zombies. No, the local copper thinks there’s been a party and misuse of drugs. Anyway, I was hooked by the first episode so I binged. And then had no one to talk about it with. I sent a text to my sister-in-law to watch, cause sometimes we watch shows at the same time and talk by text while the show is on. But she wouldn’t because she was home alone and the show was scary. Very scary. (I screamed out loud twice during the first episode and Mr S asked if I’d be OK as he was going to bed.)
One friend, in a manner so unlike her normal viewing habits, indeed she has been urging me to binge on OITNB, watched Glitch one episode at a time on the night and the time it was aired. Other friends, at my encouragement, caught up, having missed it as it wasn’t well-advertised, but waited until the next weekend by which time I had moved on and didn’t feel the need to discuss it.
And now I can’t wait until series 2.
While we’re on the topic of zombies, I watched the movie The World’s End. OK, not zombies (spoiler alert) but aliens. The zombies came from the first film, Shaun of the Dead. I do like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Funny but scary. Watch all three of the Three Flavours Cornetto, if you haven’t and you like off-beat, scary humour.
And how did I watch The World’s End? I watched it on a DVD because there were no films on Netflix that my son, his girlfriend and I could agree on one Sunday night. Too much low brow, poorly written American crap. About five films repeated with different titles and different actors. So there to digital media. Owning a hard copy is so to the way to go.
Let’s make another link to zombies. Well it’s a comedy about bureaucracy but that’s close enough to zombies. Utopia. I watched old-school style. On the time it was first aired. One episode at a time. Too funny. The writers must have worked on government once it just rings all too true. And sadly so. Laugh-cringe-cry.
I used the catchup online platform to introduce our American visitors to Australian comedy, Upper Middle Bogan, a program I watched last year and Netflix to share my love of the British comedy series, The I.T. Crowd.
But as that Sunday night when my son, his girlfriend and I looked for a movie to watch, we can have so many different sources – Netflix, online catchup, free to air – and still have nothing to watch.
How do you watch a TV program? And what have you been watching?