For the past 3 summers I’ve watched The 4400 without fail. I really enjoy it and have yet to miss an episode. The same is true for the random reappearances of Monk and various other cable shows. I feel like the only reason I’m able to follow these and other cable shows so closely however is because of my TiVo. Otherwise how would I possibly know when these things are coming back? Does having a TiVo allow me to skip the promos so that I don’t know these things are coming back or do shows just seem to magically reappear? I also find out about stuff like the premiere of Blade or even Hell’s Kitchen by reading TV e-mails that get sent to me on a daily basis. I do know to look for more new cable series during the summer, but with so many channels out there if I didn’t spend a lot of time looking for what to watch what would I find?
Even if the networks aren’t really going all out to program during the summer, cable networks are certainly picking up the slack. A show like The 4400 has been quite successful appearing only during the summer, doing short cycles, and has found a following 3 years in a row. So there are certainly people out there looking for this and finding it.
The corollary to this of course is that if I didn’t know I was missing it would it bother me that I was missing it? Surely there are other ways that I could fill my time (I am an avid reader as well, so let’s not venture down that path). Well, I believe that TV has done me good and TV will do me good (excuse the paraphrasing). I don’t see it as purely passive.
A good show will make you wonder, make you think, make you contemplate. A good show makes you an active participant with the text, and not in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” mode. It places you there and makes you care about being there. It makes you wonder what is going to happen after you turn the TV off.
And, perhaps most importantly, it makes you go and search out the next season and wait with baited breath, even if it is 10 months off.