Privilege Blog

What The Heck Am I Even Watching On “TV?” Or, Saturday Morning at 10:37am

Broadcast Networks

Big Bang Theory – Thursdays
Blacklist – Hiatus
You Me And The Apocalypse – Thursdays
Mr. Robot – Hiatus
Scandal – Thursday
Modern Family – Wednesdays
American Crime – Hiatus
Better Call Saul – Mondays
Blind Spot – Mondays
Suits – Wednesdays
The Good Wife – Sundays
Fresh Off The Boat – Tuesdays
War and Peace – PBS – Miniseries completed
The Magicians – Monday (kind of love this one, I read the books)

Cable Networks

Girls – HBO – Sundays
Games of Thrones – HBO – Sundays
Silicon Valley – HBO – Sundays
Homeland – Showtime – Hiatus
Billions – Showtime -Sundays
Outlander – Starz – Hiatus

Digital Video Services

Jane the Virgin – Netflix (I know it’s on a network but if I watch I watch on Netflix;))
Narcos – Netflix – Hiatus
Orange is the New Black – Netflix – Hiatus
Bloodline – Netflix – Hiatus
Catastrophe – – Amazon Hiatus
The Code (Australian) – Netflix – Hiatus
Happy Valley – Netflix (just finished Season 2. So good!)
Mozart in the Jungle – Amazon – Hiatus
Transparent – Amazon – Hiatus
Master of None – Netflix – Hiatus

“What’s all this,” you might be saying to yourselves? This, my friends, is how I track what the heck I am watching on TV these days.

The “television” industry has shattered. I watch on my laptop more often than not. And I forget which shows I like, which are running, which get new episodes when.

So I made myself a stupid little text file to keep track. A text file! That’s the digital equivalent of a Post-It™ note. And, as we in the software biz know, a Post-It is to digital systems as a red rash is to human health.  A. Sign. Of. Trouble. A sign that something is off, something needs fixing.

You know that if the cable and network companies (and the barriers to entry they forged by linking hardware, content, and transmission) weren’t in place, the necessary change might happen much sooner. The nexus of control would live on our devices, in software that was infinitely better than my text file, enabled by access to reviewers, and communities of like-minded viewers, and searchable/browseable content. We’d still have ads, and mediocre artistry, I’m not positing Nirvana. But the user experience would support our true user desire, i.e. entertain me when, how and where I want.

Keep track of what I’ve liked, show me avenues to discover something I might love.

Whatever. Me watching digital narrative with difficulty doesn’t warrant even an iota of distress. I am curious though, how do you guys approach “television” – in this era of industry transition? And speaking of like-minded viewers, any “shows” you want to suggest?  I suppose the word “show” does still work. Thank heavens for small cranky favors.

Have a wonderful weekend.

59 Responses

  1. I have fewer to track than you do, and perhaps less frustrated for that reason. My big annoyance has been with how slow he download times are on my little island ANd with how clunky iTunes is compared to, say, Netflix which, here at least, has less selection.
    Finally got the cables needed to watch downloaded or streamed programs on the condo TV rather than clustering together over my MacBook. He has not been motivated as he can still very happily go old-school and channel-surf.. I can’t imagine being happily at the mercy of whatever happens to be on (helps to be a sports buff, I guess). In fact, I guess my main Show-watching frustration is related to this: having found a show we enjoy watching together, and then waiting for him to be around and then keen/willing to watch when I am. . .

  2. Don’t have Netflix or anything similar… but pretty much only watch television when we’ve PVR’d something. ( btw I hate that PVR has become a verb… but never mind.) We do this because the only shows we like all happen to be on at the same time… or pretty much… and the same three or four channels. So we search out alternate times (2 am being popular) when an episode is repeated, and record the series then. We watch mostly British comedies or mystery shows. It’s hard to keep track of when stuff is on, or if the series has ended or has restarted at a new day and time. Still… mustn’t grumble… haven’t seen a commercial except to fast forward through it for years. The only glitches are when there is a big basketball game and a big hockey game on when we’re taping something for us both to watch. Then Hubby has to choose. Right now we’re watching a new British series called “The Coroner” and really liking it. And I see “Grantchester” is back on Masterpiece for another season. Yah! Hope you have a good Easter weekend, Lisa!

    1. @Sue Burpee, Aha, I don’t record anything any more, the Internet has completely replaced my DVR. An industry in flux, for sure! Hope you have had a happy Easter too.

  3. I get the shows on DVD from the library. (We cancelled our cable years ago, as we were tired of paying $80 a month not to watch TV.) I binge watch. I turn on the subtitles and click the FF button one click. The show runs a little fast, but I can usually still understand what they are saying and if not, I read the subtitles.

    Shows I have really liked:

    Friday Night Lights
    A Place to Call Home
    Foyle’s War
    Call the Midwife
    White Collar
    Parks and Recreation
    The Big C
    the Closer
    The Mindy Project
    Veronica Mars
    the Bletchley Circle
    Doc Martin
    Orphan Black
    Death in Paradise
    Last Tango in Halifax
    The Bridge
    Scott and Bailey
    Rizzoli and Isles

    1. @the gold digger, I loved Rizzoli and Isles, but I think it is finished now? And I have seen most of these shows in the past two years, but I hate Veep (uncomfortable humor makes me uncomfortable;;). I haven’t watched a DVD in something like 5 years?

  4. I like The Americans too. You can see earlier seasons on Amazon.
    We’re savoring season 2 of Bosch.
    We got son to lend us his Hulu account and we’ve been watching 11-23-63.
    Modern Family is something that I enjoy watching in re-runs on cable. It’s on several nights a week and if I want to chill out it’s easy to watch. Even if I’ve seen the episode before it’s still funny.

    I’m rooting for DVR boxes to be uncoupled from cable TV providers. They’re so clunky to use.

  5. The Fall, Grantchester, Broadchurch, and Poldark – all English and all fantastic, in case you’re looking for more. We could use a “system” for keeping track as well.
    And I guess this is why we rarely go to the movies anymore, which used to be an almost weekly date?

    1. @Kathy, Yes, same here, rarely go to the movies. I’ve seen The Fall, and Broadchurch, loved them. Liked Grantchester because James Norton is too pretty not to enjoy. So I guess that means I can look forward to Poldark!

  6. Ok, here’s what we watch:

    Big Bang Theory
    House of Cards
    Doc Martin
    Midsomer Murders
    Rosemary and Thyme
    Murdoch Mysteries
    Murder, She Wrote
    any interesting documentaries we come across (recently watched one on Kung Pao chicken)
    and being a good Idahoan, Boise State Football. (No, I don’t follow Cal football, shame on me)

  7. I can sign everything Sue Burpee has said :-)
    We only have Pickbox from Christmass (and Netflix in Croatia from this year but with very poor selection)
    I don’t watch TV a lot but like the possibility to create my own selection-it is the future!
    Lately: Granchester ,Broadchurch, Missed, SILK (british)Les Hommes de l’Ombre (very good french series) and Endeavour (on Pickbox,old episodes)
    I could watch Midsomer Murders zillion times as well as Poirot.
    I go to cinema as much as I can find time
    Have a wonderfull weekend!

    1. @Teen!, I suspect that, like Breaking Bad, I’ll have to try this a couple of more times before it sticks, and then I’ll love it.

  8. I have trouble keeping track, even though I watch fewer shows than you do. I tend to come late to the party, only start watching after word-of-mouth says its a must, so have to catch up via Netflix or similar. (Right now, watching Scott & Bailey – a British show – on dvd via Netflix.) Next up for me will be season 4 of House of Cards. (BTW, skip Catch on network TV. It’s the latest Shonda Rimes series, sounded good but first episode was so terrible I could not stay with it to the end.)

    1. @Cathy, Scott & Bailey, excellent! I am not sure if I’ve seen all the produced episodes, another source of frustration with all this hither and thithering.

  9. Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock, Silk, Independent Lens, Master Chef Junior, Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Shark Tank, The Amazing Race, Madame Secretary and still getting the news via the nightly news on TV. Not much that I feel I need to DVR if we aren’t able to watch when it is being broadcast.

    1. @Jane, So you like reality TV – I’ve just not gotten on that wagon, although lots of my friends and family love it.

  10. I hate watching TV on the computer. So I don’t. If I could figure out a way to watch Netflix and Amazon (1.) on my television and (2.) for free, I would check out the Harry Bosch series and Transparent. I’m already paying more for cable TV than I want to, so no premium channels. I wait for series from Showtime and HBO to go on DVD and then request them from the library. I’m waiting anxiously for Netflix to release the fourth season of Longmire on DVD so I can watch it via the library. It could be a long wait but House of Cards eventually was released DVD. (I don’t care about HoC because I know I would hate all of the characters but the principle is there.)

    We watched Bletchley Circle on the library’s dime.

    On regular network TV, we’re watching Elementary and Madame Secretary. Aquarius is on NBC but it’s on hiatus. Orphan Black is on BBC America but it’s on hiatus–returning in April I think.

    We’re watching The Magicians on Time Warner Cable On Demand. I kind of love it, too, but I’m going to wait until the series is over to checkout the books. I noticed that the author is a fan of the series. As an aside, one of the showrunners is John McNamara, who is also the executive producer for Aquarius.

    We watched Childhood’s End on On Demand.

    In my book, the best show on television is The Americans on fX. But if you watched two episodes and it didn’t grab you, I don’t see how more episodes would make any difference. I was hooked from the pilot, whereas I watched half a dozen episodes of The Good Wife and knew it wasn’t for me after two because I hated all of the characters! I quit Blacklist because it was too violent, which is pretty funny because The Americans is also violent, but it’s not a police procedural so the violence works differently. It’s more character-driven, somehow. I don’t know. It’s one of the best shows ever made for television, imho. If it stays this good, I’ll be in mourning once it ends.

    Samantha B on TBS is hilarious.

    So, over the course of a year, I’m watching seven shows, eight if you count waiting around for Longmire to hit the library. Plus the Lakers’ basketball season, every single game, Lord help us, because my spouse is a fan.

    It’s enough.

    1. @Wendelah, Ah, well, if you have a serious sports fan in the house, that’s a game-changer! So to speak:). And it took me 3 episodes to start liking Breaking Bad, so, there’s hope for The Americans.

  11. We don’t have an actual television set and watch shows through online streaming channels: Netflix and Amazon Prime (which we pay for) and the free version of Hulu.

    My current fave shows are:
    – Downton Abbey (latecomer to this and many shows in general, just started the 2nd season)
    – Transparent (recently finished — LOVED it!)
    – Call the Midwife but sometimes it’s too graphic for me, especially before bedtime (when I usually watch “TV”)
    – Last year I LOVED Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and can’t wait for the new season starting next month!
    – John Oliver on YouTube
    – Amy Schumer and Samantha Bee clips, also on YouTube
    – Husband got me into the animated show Bob’s Burgers on Hulu. I like it, especially the character of the teenage daughter, Tina :)
    – I used to love The Mindy Project but now it’s only on paid Hulu and I can’t justify paying for a 3rd subscription service.
    – Haven’t watched it but have heard good things about the Great British Baking Show

    I am grateful for all the options available to us now! Remember when I was a kid and we had all of five channels :)

    One thing I will say about not having an actual TV is that both husband and I get *transfixed* when we’re around one, like at a hotel, and can’t stop watching. It’s not necessarily the best thing.

    1. @dottoressa: Isn’t it great?!

      Also, after reading this amazing interview with RuPaul this weekend: I watched one episode of his Drag Race. It’s great! Reality shows are not usually my thing, but the camp, queerness and surprisingly tender/vulnerable moments are awesome. Definitely a unique addition to the huge spectrum of TV options!

  12. I watched the first season of The Americans and gave up during Season 2 (in mid-episode, in fact). Just too many wigs, costumes, and preposterous murders/sex scenes, although the overall premise is intriguing.

    On my must-watch list:

    Broad City (Comedy Central)

    unREAL (on hiatus, but it’ll return to Lifetime — and may I say this is the only thing I have ever watched on Lifetime)

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (the CW, another network I was pretty much in the dark about until I discovered this fantastic show)

    Seconding that recommendation of Last Tango in Halifax. Same star (Sarah Lancashire) and creator (Sally Wainwright) as Happy Valley, but set in a very different key. One of the stars is the dare-I-say legendary Derek Jacobi. Quite wonderful.

    And, of course, The People vs. O.J. Simpson (two eps to go!). Incredible casting, acting, plotting, cinematography, dialog.

    1. @Nancy, Last Tango, especially the first season, I agree. Wonderful. More than its premise, in a way, really an example of generous-spirited love. unREAL, I’ll take a look.

  13. I wuit tv years ago and have limited streaming due to rural address Havent missed much have i? But i binge watch on dvds from video store
    House of cards kevin spacey is a real talent
    Smallville Corny but fun
    Game of thrones Got too tedious and formulaic: boobs and torture gets old quick

    The vikings More torture and boobage
    In mynopinion tv is dead

    1. @Susie, I don’t think it’s dead, it’s just in serious flux, and while so much content is very good, it’s so dang hard to know what’s good, to find it, and to follow it. So it can feel dead, if you know what I mean.

  14. I need a list, as there are things on your list I have lost track of. What and when seem to be my big problems, and it is much more complicated that it used to be. Most of what I watch is on your list, with the exception of Madame Secretary, although I am not particularly consistent, forgetting something than binge-watching to catch up. I might even prefer the continuous stream of catch-up viewing. I think I see a small project in the offing as I figure out my own preferences.

    1. @Mardel, I was watching Madame Secretary, I love Tea Leoni, but I lost track. I’ll ut if back on. I like the continuous stream too. More like a book, you pick up where you pick up, you leave off when you feel like it.

  15. I watch about 70 hours of tv a week. You need to get into Nordic Noir- The Bridge, Borgen, The Legacy etc.

    I tape everything on foxtel (cable) then watch it when I get home or on weekends or in middle of the night when cannot sleep.

    I like Vikings and Call the Midwife. I also like Who do you think you are, the British ones not the Aust or USA ones.

    Hop on board.

    I like Veep and there are lots of Aust Shows I think could work for you.

    Have you seen Poldark? You’d enjoy the Fall too. And Silk with Martha Costello x

    1. @Faux Fuchsia, Just started on Poldark thanks to these recommendations. My goodness that’s a lot of cliff galloping! Does he do that all through the series??? I feel that I’m in good company if you too watch a lot, and I loved The Bridge and will give the others a shot.

  16. All I want to know is when Person of Interest is coming back on. The first three and a half seasons are on Netflix.

    Other than that, the only thing I watch on regular broadcast is The Black List. I could watch James Spader read the phone book.

    On Netflix, I enjoy Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (silly but fanstastic period clothes and decor) Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Trailer Park Boys.

  17. Oh, I forgot Elementary! Lucy Liu has the best clothes. And the stories are pretty good, too. And we’ve just started watching Fringe and Nurse Jackie, both on Netflix. OK, I’ll go away and stop stalking your comments.

    Happy Easter!

    1. @Poppy B., Stalk away! I’m stalking them myself;). Hope you had a good Easter. I haven’t seen Person of Interest at all – I will give it a shot. Nurse Jackie is phenomenal. Edie Falco, say no more.

  18. I highly recommend Luther and Broadchurch. Even though I really don’t like murder mysteries, my hubby talked me into watching them and I was immediately hooked. Thrones, Outlander, Better Call Saul and Modern Family are my favorites.

  19. I like the Magicians too. But it’s not network, it’s on SyFy. I watch it streaming, via Hulu Plus (mostly).

    We have Hulu Plus and a Roku and watch streaming stuff on all the free channels or HBO Go (we have premium cable). We are paying a lot of money to be entertained, I guess, but maybe it’s worth it? I can’t stand commercials. I watch on my desktop, my iPad or occasionally my phone.

    I also enjoy washing Asian TV (Korean, Japanese and Chinese drama). Those are pretty easy to find subbed and streaming.

    I used to NEVER watch TV because I couldn’t stand having to be in a certain place at a certain time to watch something, and I grew up in the New England woods without one so never caught the habit. Streaming services have really opened up that world for me.

    1. @joannawnyc, Oh, huh. I thought SyFy was network, oops:). That’s part of the thing, how can one really know any more? And I love the idea of the New England woods without a television. Must go there soon.

  20. I don’t watch much, but I find it easy to keep track because I only watch a few shows at a time. Right now really enjoying Lie To Me, which I’m watching on Amazon but think it’s on Netflix also. Tim Roth is fab in it.

    Lucifer is a lot of fun. Tom Ellis that stars is brilliant. He was in one of my fav Britcoms, Miranda, which I highly recommend. My daughters and I quote from it often, totally hilarious.

    I like watching shows from my childhood with my kids, so we’re working our way through It Takes A Thief and The Avengers right now. Love that they like them, too.

    Other than that I watch lots of Masterpiece mysteries (Christie addict for life), some anime and Japanese or Korean dramas. They’re a lot of fun if you don’t mind subtitles.

    1. @Solange, I’m fascinated that Westerners (I believe you are in the USA?) are beginning to enjoy Asian television. I saw a bunch of it when I was working for a company headquartered in Shanghai. You couldn’t eat out without the Korean soaps playing on a TV overhead. But I cannot say I watched. The confluence of Eastern and Western design and entertainment is coming.

  21. House of Cards is our big show (Netflix). We also DVR The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and The Daily show (all on regular TV).

    We use Apple TV or Netflix to watch movies.

    We also have Amazon Prime.

    I have no trouble keeping track because everything now is either on demand when you want it, or you can DVR it. However, my husband is planning to get rid of cable soon and I’m worried about how I will access shows – on a physical level. I can barely work the cable remote, but when you’re dealing with Netflix, Apple and Amazon – each accessed through different “boxes” and remotes and settings….I’m pretty much going to have to rely on my teenage son to turn the “TV” on for me, I fear.

    Actually, my husband just ordered the new iteration of Apple TV and he says it has many more features and may be all we need.

    The thing I hate most right now is how many different streaming services there are and having to pay separate fees for, for example, to get House of Cards because it’s only on Netflix. Grrr..

  22. We watch soooo much on TV. I plan on blogging about what we watch. Mostly cable, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Two show we watched recently were Longford, about a British Lord trying to save prisoners and The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. It’s all about the Plantagenets. the Tudors and the Lancasters. Quite a group of characters and kings. I have to check them all out on Wikipedia to keep everyone straight. Little but of sex or a lot of sex on the side. Depending on your taste. But both were on Amazon Prime and both enjoyable.

  23. I’ve only recently gotten into watching series on my phone or laptop. I have Amazon Prime, and I watched the first 6 (free) seasons of The Good Wife and loved it. I paid for the first episode of Call the Midwife, loved it, and so far I’ve bought the 1st and 2nd seasons. I watched 2 episodes of Mozart in the Jungle (free on Amazon) and hated it. I also watched a couple of episodes of Girls a couple of years ago and really hated it.

    I have two series on DVD; West Wing and Mary Tyler Moore. My sons love MTM and we’ve probably watched all 7 seasons through 5 times over the past 6 years or so. I discovered WW long after it had been on TV, bought it, and watched all seasons with my older son. It took us about 18 months to get through it.

    I only watch now when I’m using my AeroPilates (on my phone) or folding laundry or doing other tedious housework.

    I’ve seen a few episodes of The Big C and loved it, would love to see the whole series. I also love mystery series, will have to look for one on Amazon.

    I should start watching Downton Abbey.

  24. I never “watch TV” but, if I’m home alone, I often have it on as background noise (or company?), as I putter about the house doing whatever I feel like doing. I rarely have anything I “need” to do – the older I get the more I realize how optional most things are.

    When the TV is on, it’s usually cooking shows. I like to cook and I cook well, which is good, since I enjoy a good meal.

    I’ll tune into almost any food related fare – but I draw the line at Guy Fiery. I find him to be very coarse and vulgar and I’ve never understood his appeal.

    He would be most likely be a President Trump’s first choice for White House chef.

  25. Lisa. I think you’ve just invented an app!
    (Totally serious. Tracking favourite shows, rating them, reccomendations based on viewing….)

    I love what you watch, very similar here.

  26. Smart lady writing a list! Creepily The Man knows what you’re ( what we all are) watching.
    Gosh Master of None. Love love.
    Not a lot of fresh content for school aged kid. At least no sitcoms. Loving going back to the 80s/90s shows to have a program my kid and I can watch together. Soooo corny but din loves.

  27. Oooh, this is a clever way to manage this new normal. Some days I really miss the old TV guide. I am watching most of the ones you mentioned. Since you are into tech, consider Occupied (Okkupert) — it’s Norwegian and riveting. Also, Last Tango in Hallifax is a must watch….really solid acting.

  28. I would gladly pay for a service that would organize all of this! By the time I actually locate where/what platform a show or movie I’d like to watch is…and then navigate through whatever device I need to view it…I’m actually too frustrated/tired to watch! Between Amazon, Netflix, On Demand via cable, network DVR, it’s exhausting. And the fact that I’m old enough to remember having to cross the room to change the tv to one of the other three channels that we had as options makes me feel like I grew up in a black and white world. Laughing, mostly.

  29. I currently have DirectTV (with all the premium channels), Amazon Prime and Netflix.
    Thankfully with Direct TV, you can record up to four shows at the same time, a godsend on Sunday nights! I would love to have an app to organize all these must-sees. Too many shows and too little time to watch them…
    My number one favorite is Outlander! I started reading the books after season one and have read all eight of them and am eagerly awaiting book nine.
    I absolutely loved Friday Night Lights
    I also enjoy:
    Almost There (just started watching)
    You Me Her (not sure about this, just started watching because I liked Greg Poehler in Welcome to Sweden)
    Togetherness (just cancelled due to low ratings on HBO)
    The Magicians (my older son turned me on to the books a few years ago)
    House of Cards
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    Welcome to Sweden (on network TV, surprisingly. Greg Poehler was hilarious)
    Catastrophe (second season starting soon)
    Jessica Jones
    The Knick
    Penny Dreadful
    Poldark, Indian Summers and Mercy Street on PBS
    Fortitude (limited to one season, very quirky)
    Silicon Valley
    Orange is the New Black
    Absolutely no reality TV or Kardashians. Used to watch The Voice and Top Chef, but burned out.
    I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but reading over the list, I’m spending too much time watching TV. It’s a good thing my SO also likes many of these shows, too.

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