The Return of Appointment Television

My parents know exactly what’s on TV every night of the week.  They know when re-runs will be on, when “there’s nothing on tonight,” and when to be excited that a new episode of [insert crime drama here] will be on.

For many years I have considered this to be an amusing throwback to pre-DVR days.  Hell, even pre-VCR days.  YES, I REMEMBER THOSE.  Certain shows aired on certain days and if you missed them, well, you were just screwed.  Not home on Friday night?  You can forget this week’s episode of Dukes of Hazzard.  Suck it, kiddo.

In my house, we are DVR-reliant.  I blithely ignored the original airdates of many of the shows I love for years.  And if I missed recording  the shows I caught up via Netflix or Amazon streaming video.

But now.

Now there is Downton Abbey.  True, I watched season 1 and most of season 2 during my one free month of Amazon Prime, and then I actually paid $1.99 per episode to catch up so I could be all set for Season 3.  But now I look forward to Sunday evenings with the same zeal that a crime drama fan anticipates a new CSI Columbus or Cold Case Revisited or White House Scandal or NCSI Detective or Murder of the Month or Law & Order:  Toddler Stories.

The truth is, since I’ve scaled back my globetrotting activities, there’s nothing more awesome to look forward to on some nights than a glass of wine and some good mindless TV-watching.  And so I have begun to notice what day it is in terms of TV schedules.  Around 3:00 PM on a Tuesday my suburban mom day will be momentarily brightened by the thought that The Mindy Project is on tonight – a new episode!

And dude, it’s Thursday.  The Big Bang Theory – the show that made me love television again – has already aired and is waiting happily for me, recorded on a storage computer thingy inside the little gray box on top of my old-school cathode ray television set in the bedroom.  I may have missed our appointment, but at least the DVR was looking out for me.  I might as well get a Camry and start quilting, because this is just another step in becoming my mother.

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  1. says

    The truth is, the last few years have been a second Golden Age of Television. Not everything on broadcast and cable is a gem, but there is really good TV on every day of the week (once you sort through all the reality dreck, although I admit that some of those can be guilty pleasures). Thank goodness for DVRs and OnDemand channels so I don’t have to choose between two or three shows that have been programmed against each other.

  2. says

    Last year, Sunday was zombie day… and the latest episode of The Walking Dead was always watched as it aired – NEVER DVR’d. I remember the time when my days were marked by what was on that night. *sigh* I kind of miss it. I haven’t had TV since January – a little experiment that I still don’t know how I feel about.

  3. says

    I totally agree with you about the Big Bang Theory. And I’ve had special TV days, as well, like Tuesday is Chopped and Wednesday is Criminal Minds. But we’ve had to go without our ABC affiliate since January 1 because our cable company is in a fee dispute with them. And I really miss Shark Tank.

  4. MomHOP says

    And do you remember when Cathy and I would plan a Friday evening around Dallas and that other one I can’t remember right now?

  5. says

    Wow, you know I’ve never thought of it as turning into my mom, but you are absolutely right! However, I’ll NEVER turn into my Dad…he watches these old war movies (he was in the Navy) that I can’t imagine I’d ever look forward to seeing.

  6. says

    The TV landscape is definitely changing, isn’t it? It’s kind of exciting, but so different from back when I was a kid. We knew exactly what was on every night, from Gunsmoke to Star Trek to Mary Tyler Moore to The Waltons. Now there are so many choices and so much to keep up with. And add the option from Netflix and Amazon Prime, etc. into the mix – it’s overwhelming! So overwhelming, in fact, that now that I don’t *have to recap things for a site like I used to – i.e. TV Squad – there are very few shows I watch in real time anymore.

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