There’s nothing good on TV tonight anyway

When I was growing up, summer meant nothing but re-runs. Today, summer is a TV season is pretty much synonymous with a glut of reality series. But two of my favorite shows have summer seasons, so I’m not all that convinced by that reputation.

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for a long time, but I’ve been sidetracked all summer by work in my recording studio. As I’ve mentioned before, TiVo has actually been responsible for my watching more shows but fewer hours of television. How is that possible? Maybe it’s all just perception.

Here’s what I’ve been watching:

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Too busy watching TV to update this site

You know, I bought the domain because I was writing about TV way too much on my personal blog. Now that I have this sliver of the Interweb, I neglect it.

It would be funny if I were watching so much TV that I don’t have time to update, but as I mentioned before, TiVo actually lets me do other things during the week, leaving my weekends free to be chained to the television set.

I have only so much blogging energy in me, and I’ve been expending it on a New Year’s resolution to turn my music site into an MP3 blog. I’ve been running this feature called “365 Days, 365 Files”, where I post a song from my CD collection everyday, and it’s been monopolizing my time.

I just want to say, yes, television is still my drug of choice — certainly far and above movies — and I’m getting my regular fix. Writing about it, though, is a separate challenge entirely.

I’m not watching it for Jeff Goldblum

When I saw the promo spots for the new mid-season series Raines, I didn’t feel a terrible urge to see it. But I happened upon tonight’s episode because of Andy Barker, P.I., which was recommended to me by a friend earlier in the day.

(I’m not one to fancy so-called "big-boned" men, but I would make an exception for Andy Richter.)

I kept it on NBC as I did some much-needed housecleaning — SXSW pretty much made me neglect such duties — as Raines came on. Something about the writing felt familiar, and the way the hallucinations interacted with the title character came off far better than I expected.

My eyes happened to glance at the TV screen when the writing credits flashed, and I realized why this show felt familiar — it was created by Graham Yost, the genius behind the much-praised but ultimately-doomed Boomtown. I have the first season of Boomtown on DVD, and I’m sure the second season will never see a DVD release.

I may give Raines a Season Pass, because the half of the show I did catch was awesomely written and performed. But like Boomtown, the concept behind this show takes a bit of effort to get into, kind of like getting past the high school football premise of Friday Night Lights.

I had to run an errand before I could see the end, but not to worry — when Yost’s name appeared on the screen, I dove for my TiVo remote and began recording.

Midseason replacements on my TiVo

After getting a TiVo last year, I attempted something I haven’t really done before — watch new shows when they premiere.

In the VCR days, I would catch a new show only when it went into syndication. I never watched the first three seasons of The West Wing till Bravo aired reruns. And I can’t watch Without a Trace at its appointed time since its up against Battlestar Galactica and Brothers & Sisters.

So I watched a whole bunch of the serials trotted out this season and bailed on all of them. I didn’t pick up any of the midseason replacements, but I did add a few shows I hadn’t watched before.

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Second life, TV style

A show that doesn’t get high ratings may get canceled, but a boxed set of that show selling tens of thousands of copies could be considered a success, so reports the Boston Globe.

As a result, some pretty obscure shows are coming out on DVD, and if enough folks who watched them the first time buy those sets, they can be profitable.

Myself, I wouldn’t mind the second season of Boomtown hitting DVD. And will we ever see the ABC cyberpunk series Max Headroom on DVD? I would get that in a heartbeat.

I Want My Food TV?

I have the Food Network listed as one of my favorite channels on TiVo, even though I’m a lousy cook. (People think I’m being funny when I say I can make myself ill with my own cooking.)

Food Network is kind of like VH-1 — somewhere you might want to stop by occasionally during a marathon of channel surfing between commercials. The only show I watch on Food Network is Good Eats, and sometimes I’ll take in an Iron Chef when Bravo, TNT and USA are Law & Order-less.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered I’m not the only 18- to 34-year-old viewer who watches Food Network. In fact, it’s surprisingly successful with that most envied of demographics.

I fall into the viewership who are more interested in the network’s personalities than the food programming itself. In my case, it’s Alton Brown — oh, the crush I have on that man!

Unlike other niche networks, Food Network manages to tap into programming trends without losing focus on the food. It’s got game shows (Iron Chef, Food Network Challenge), comedies (Ham on the Street, Good Eats), reality (Ace of Cakes) and a slew of non-fiction programming (Unwrapped, The Secret Life of …).

The only thing it doesn’t do is scripted drama — no syndication of Kitchen Confidential, thank you very much.

Does the Golf Channel or CourtTV offer the same kind of programming? I wouldn’t know because I watch neither one. I like the criminal justice system to a point, and I have no interest in golf. But everyone has to eat, and Food Network is essentially broadcasting people playing with food. Who wouldn’t like that?