I have rather strong compulsive streak. For software engineering and triathlon training it serves me well. That said it is something I need to be mindful of; it is very easy for me to pick up too many things, struggle with fitting them all within finite time constraints and typically much unhappiness ensues. This is one of the reasons why I’m not a big TV series watcher; the trade off with time spent and resulting pleasure is rarely a good one. Of course I wouldn’t be a software engineer if I didn’t have an algorithm or decision tree to make things less subjective.
here’s a peek behind the curtain
rules of engagement
- Never watch any TV series from the outset; always allow one series to air first. Thankfully I have a YouView box so speculative PVRing is easy
- Never watch any TV series or film with an IMDB rating of less than 7.2 stars (this is merely a heuristic, I watched the Avengers: Age of Ultron last night, what a bucket of disappointment and a bit of life I’m not going to get back)
- Never watch anything from the Transformers franchise
in the thick of it
- Once the watching of season has commenced apply the JTS metric (Jump The Shark) at each midsession break and season end. JTS is a measure of desperate plot arcs from the original programme premise to keep the audience engaged. It is expressed in Fonzies: 0 Fonzies represents a coherent and cohesive plot line, 11 Fonzies = WTF!
- If a Season JTS exceeds 6 Fonzies more than twice in a row, then the programme is trying too hard and has run its course. Drop it!
- If a Season needs to engage significant faith based or supernatural phenomena (as a departure from its original premise) explanations for plot continuation drop it. The writers are getting lazy.
- If I find myself posting on Facebook significantly during an episode it has lost engagement, drop it.
With these rules in place. Let’s look at three TV seasons I’ve watched over the last 5 years (in actuality I’ve only watched 5 in that period).
arrow – 8.1
This is an almost complete re-imagination of a DC comics character. The re-imagination borrows heavily from the likes of Batman except the protagonist (Oliver Queen) was a bit of a douche and the vigilante-do-good motivation comes from a suicide confession from his baddie father. The first season follows entertaining (and ridiculous) arcs of action interspersed with flashbacks to the island where Oliver was shipwrecked for 5 years and reformed him from playboy into a man of action. The second season follows on from the successful vanquishing (or was it?) of baddies in the first season and a personal life pivot of the protagonist from killing machine to dark knight character (except he dresses in green).
This TV series has a couple of spins offs such as The Flash and The Legends of Tomorrow, and a few appearances from Constantine. What I liked about this season was the sheer stupidity of the entertainment; the writing isn’t great and the acting could be improved upon, but the wife and I both enjoyed the mindless escape of it.
I saw it appear on our Amazon FireTV as a Prime TV series when my daughter was born. It had an IMDB 8.1 and we needed something simple and entertaining for the bits in between the long nights. Season 3 saw the plot become a bit desperate with the post death resurrections of no fewer than three characters and the introduction of numerous supernatural baddies. It came as a relief that Sky bought the exclusive UK rights for Season 4 and we could drop it.
big bang theory – 8.4
A geek sitcom following a circle of three physicists and one engineer at Caltech. Like many of my peer group, I like this season because it broke away from the typical convention of beautiful people with first world problems comedy series and celebrates the pursuit of learning and intelligence to solve problems. I loved the first four seasons and the Thursday evening broadcast on E4 became a regular post triathlon swim session fixture.
I no longer watch Big Bang Theory as I feel it has become a victim of its own success. With greater viewership the writing started to feel more formulaic and the gags devolved into simple one-liners. Looking at my FB activity one can see spikes of activity from around 20:35 on most Thursday evenings. Quickly consulting IMDB, I’m amazed that Season 9 is airing at the moment.
Before I get started I should make it clear that I’m a big fan of both Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott. Whilst I’ve not read the book that this programme is based on, I couldn’t help but get excited when saw the trailer appear on our FireTV home page. This programme presents an alternative history where the Nazis and Empire of Japan won the second world. It tells the story of the underground movement in the now divided US.
This programme is an Amazon Original and the first season oozes high production values. The plot itself is a little slow moving, but sets and backstories carry an engaging attention to detail. There is a fascinating constant compare and contrast of living under the oppressive regimes of the Nazis and Empire of Japan.
Looking forward to the second season.
It’s worth pointing out that I only benefit from Amazon Prime Video by virtue of wanting the quick delivery aspect of Amazon Prime. Other than Spotify, I don’t have any explicit content subscriptions, generally preferring PAYG rental models. Whilst my wife and I are consuming increasing amounts of content via our FireTV, whether Amazon Originals would increase our stickiness is a mute point as I can’t see us dropping Amazon Prime any time soon.
That said I’m a huge Richard Morgan fan. Netflix have just announced the making of an Altered Carbon series. I’ve suddenly become irrational and am entertaining the notion of a Netflix subscription just for that. Hopefully I’ll wait for a few IMDB reviews first. Hmm, isn’t IMDB owned by Amazon? A point made quite clear on the The Man in the High Castle entry. Maybe it’s time for me to start using Rotten Tomatoes, oh wait, they’re owned by Warner Bros.
If you enjoyed the read, drop us a comment below or share the article, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our #MetaBeers newsletter. Before you go, grab a PDF of the article, and let us know if it’s time we worked together.