Left Behind by Peak TV

I keep seeing articles about how we’re in a phase of “peak TV,” and it’s odd because I’m watching less than ever. There do seem to be some quality shows, but most of them require some kind of subscription. Broadcast TV has withered away to almost nothing, mostly clones of the same crime shows and a lot of reality TV, aside from the superhero lineup on the CW. Even cable service isn’t enough anymore, since a lot of the good stuff is on the various streaming services. There are shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and now Disney+, and then there’s going to be an HBO service and probably a few more. We’re back to the cable dilemma, where getting access to the one thing you want to watch will require paying for a bunch of stuff you don’t want. At least with the streamers, it’s mostly on-demand content, so you can watch it whenever, and you can start and stop the service when you want, so you can binge that one show and then cancel the service. It’s not like having to get an entire cable package to watch one program, and then you’re stuck with it for at least a year.

But there hasn’t yet been anything I would subscribe to something to watch. Most of this “peak TV” is way too dark for my taste. I have Amazon Prime because I figured that was the most cost-effective option for me. It has a huge variety of stuff to watch, so my only issue is whether I can get a particular thing. If it’s just a case of needing something in general to watch, there’s more than enough content. Plus it comes with free e-books every month, access to magazines, and a decent music streaming service. And free shipping, but I actually don’t buy much from Amazon. That’s my last resort. I’ve enjoyed Good Omens and The Tick on Prime, but both of those shows are over. There are a few other original shows on that service that I plan to watch, but I haven’t been in the mood for them yet. Most of it looks way too intense for the mood I’ve been in lately. I started The Man in the High Castle, since I read the book ages ago, but Nazis in America is way too close to real life right now and it was more than I could deal with. The same goes for the shows on other services. I see people raving about them, and I shudder.

I may eventually get Disney+ for their Star Wars shows and other Disney content, but at the moment I’m too busy to watch a lot of TV and I’m going to let them work the bugs out first (I’ve heard they’ve had some launch woes today).

I’d love to see more variety in tone in the offerings. More comedy or at least light-hearted shows. Something fun and quirky, along the lines of Good Omens. I have noticed that when creators are given free rein, they tend to veer toward darkness, possibly because that has been equated with quality, and if you’re trying to get respect and critical acclaim, that’s the way to go. Anything fun is likely to be dismissed as “popcorn” viewing and not taken seriously. The streaming services are offering creators the funding to make their dream projects, so we’re getting a lot of dark stuff. I’m okay with a bit of darkness or serious subject matter. I just want a sense of fun to go with it. Good Omens was about the possible end of the world, but it ended up being very life-affirming and joyous.

Fortunately, Prime has a lot of reruns of older things that are fun. I may need a Pushing Daisies marathon. We’re also getting close to (well, actually we’re in, but I’m ignoring that until Thanksgiving) the Christmas movie season, and a lot of the older ones I liked before Hallmark came in like a steamroller and started the blandification are available on some of the free streaming services. And I have a lot of DVDs. But mostly right now there are books and there’s the classical radio station.

2 Responses to “Left Behind by Peak TV”

  1. Angie

    Have you watched The Good Place? We started streaming it on Netflix. The current (final) season is being aired (and streaming) on NBC. It is light comedy with a supernatural premise.

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