My TV addiction has diminished

Update 9pm. I’m sorry. Looking at this entry, I realise it’s as dull as ditchwater. I strongly recommend you go read something else. I’ll have something better for you tomorrow.

I used to love TV. I don’t anymore. If anything is an example of how my love for TV has diminished, it’s The Bill.

When I was in high school, my favourite day of the week was Thursday, because it was Green Guide day, and the day The Bill was on.

In the early-90s I loved The Bill; perhaps part of a fascination at the time for all things British. For a while I taped every episode, and re-watched them regularly. I also watched a lot of other TV, and taped episodes of things for keeping. Some well-known, such as The Young Ones… others more obscure, such as British drama like Underworld, Eureka Street, GBH, or A VeryBritish Coup. The video tape collection was growing, peaking at about 300 tapes.

By the mid-90s, I was watching The Bill every week, taping it (in case I was out) but deciding to wipe it the next week if it wasn’t very good. I continued to tape a few other shows. I had started to wipe old tapes in favour of new shows, as I’d realised how much stuff I taped but never watched.

In the late 90s I stopped taping The Bill, unless I knew in advance it was going to be good, such as when Burnside returned.

I stopped watching The Bill completely about five years ago, when it got so stupid. I’d swear the emphasis used to be on stories about crime. Believable stuff. The makers actually used to advertise in The Listener about how they sent their cast members out on the beat. This is no longer the case. It’s gone totally soap.

At the same time, I lost interest in most other TV, too. Perhaps it was the arrival of broadband in the house that did it.

When I moved in 2003, I remarked that I had too many video tapes. I swore I’d clear them out.

The clearout happened as part of the 2005 move. Almost every tape of The Bill has been chucked out, as have most of the others. Some, such as tapes of The Late Show, have been earmarked to give to friends.

At least 75% of the tapes have gone. The collection is down to an almost-sane number; taking three shelves of a bookshelf.

These days, the news, Media Watch and a handful of series are all that get watched.

I was hoping to finish this post with something profound about the state of TV. But I can’t think of anything.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

7 replies on “My TV addiction has diminished”

Agree with you over The Bill. I still watch it for the occasional crime story, but swear I’ll stop watching it the next time the Sun Hill station is bombed… how many times has it been now? 4 I think…

FYI, the whole series is being telecast by Foxtel/Austar UKTV channel. Remember Supt. Charles Brownlow, Derek Conway, PC Garfield, DC ‘Tosh’ Lines, DI Burnside…? The good old days before it turned into a soapie.

i really think you shouldve transferred your video shows onto dvd!!

also, you have the late show?? please find a way of getting that onto dvd! hell, ill pay for the transfer..

What you’re seeing is the beginnings of a vicious spiral. The number of people watching TV is dropping and the group that ARE watching is becoming more homogenous – lower-income, less well-educated. So to try and avoid further losses all TV shows are gradually becoming more and more similar and increasingly aimed at this demographic. Meanwhile smart people like us find themselves increasingly excluded and we have to go off and find other sources of entertainment. My chief joy in life now is old radio shows off the Internet: they’re smart and funny. Some of the kids’ TV on the ABC is also pretty good. As for the rest… bah, humbug!


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