If you have ever been to a cocktail party, more likely than not, you have shared a conversation with someone who has told you they do not watch any television. All of us have been there, no? You are at a friend’s cocktail event, having a few drinks after a long week of work, and you ask the group what they thought of the latest Breaking Bad episode, and someone just has to be THAT guy that tells you they do not watch TV. “Oh, I don’t even own a television, haven’t owned one in eight years. I don’t watch any of it.”
And the entire group immediately responds by saying, “Oh my God, you’re so freaking cool. We hope to attain your enlightenment one day. Please share your wisdom and light with us mere mortals.”
No, no one says that and no one ever will, because we are all far too busy secretly judging that person. And we shouldn’t feel guilty for it, either, because that person only said that thinking not watching any television makes them sound sophisticated. It does not.
No one is impressed, Mark.
We are in the golden age of television — this much we can be certain of. So much so, in fact, that I haven’t watched a film in a couple of months, and I love films, simply because I’ve been busy trying to catch up on critically-acclaimed series and documentaries.
The Sopranos? Breaking Bad? Game of Thrones? Black Mirror? True Detective – Season 1? The Night Of? Patrick Melrose? Barry? Billions? Sneaky Pete? Narcos? Ozark? The Handmaid’s Tale? Peaky Blinders? Succession? Evil Genius? Wild Wild Country? The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst? I mean, I’ve never screamed at my television the way I did during the last few minutes of the finale of HBO’s Robert Durst’s documentary. If you’ve watched it, you know exactly what I mean.
We’re spoiled with amazing, transformative content — not only from established premium channels like HBO and Showtime, but also with the explosion of subscription-based, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, and Hulu.
The internet has revolutionized the way we consume content.
Now, I would be remiss not to mention that I grew up during the era of Blockbuster Video, so I feel sadness when I read how we’re down to one final store. I have many fond memories of walking into a Blockbuster Video and spending an hour trying to decide what to rent. There was a particular charm to that process and I feel a great sense of nostalgia about it, as we all do about things from our past and youth, but I am also cognizant of the fact that, from a cost-basis comparison, it’s easy to see why a service like Netflix has taken over the market. A single rental from Blockbuster Video was $4, while the current monthly fee for unlimited Netflix streaming is less than $10. It makes financial sense.
That being said, I’ll always love you, Blockbuster Video.
My larger point is this — art and expression, from avenues such as film, television, and music, are a direct reflection of our lives and culture. They make us think. They make us feel. They enrich us.
Don’t let anyone at some cocktail party tell you otherwise.