Saturday, July 30, 2005

Get your favorite shows on DVD

Last week, we celebrated our library director's birthday with a potluck lunch and some time to just relax and talk about many things. Given our director's delight in television shows (she is a big fan of The Apprentice for example), talk eventually moved to shows on television and what does each library staff member likes to watch or skip. One of the topics in this conversation was all the shows one can get on DVD. For instance, our director mentioned that she was getting through The X Files. Actually, the adventures of Mulder and Scully are a favorite of mine, so I am making a note to myself to start getting those DVDs. I was a bit disappointed in the later seasons, around the time the arc went more into the larger conspiracy and new agents came in, but overall, it was one of the good shows on TV. At any rate, I am disgressing a little.

I will go on and admit that I probably don't watch as much TV as most people think; I am certainly not a fan of reality television (pausing here to allow readers to shudder). There are few shows that I feel a need to watch regularly For one, I am very picky about what I choose to watch. Like reading, if a show does not grab me in the first couple of episodes, it's gone. Maybe one of these days I will write out a TV viewers bill of rights, which should include "The Right To Not Watch a Program." (This would be similar to the Reader's Bill of Rights, about which I wrote in my other blog here.) So, even if people tell me it has gotten better, odds are if they lost me then, I am not coming back. However, a good knowledge of television is kind of a given in my profession. Librarians need to be current, and this includes popular culture. So, how do I keep current then on those items I just could care less or simply are not that into them? One simple word: internet. I can find all sorts of information about any television program I don't watch. You can get synopsis, reviews from experts as well as casual watchers and fans, commentaries, etc. If it is a show I have not seen, a good search will tell me all I need to know about who is who in a show, who did what to whom, who killed who, and who slept with who without me having to invest the time on a show that may be subpar (well, to me at least). Therefore, no need to feel awkward when people talk about such and such TV program. I am sure this little trick has saved many workers gathered around the proverbial water cooler. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy television very much, but I see no point in wasting time with something that is just the hype of the moment. At any rate, now readers know. If they want to know what I do watch, send me a note sometime, haha.

In addition to the internet, there are the DVDs. I know that if a show is worth anything, it will likely come out on DVD. If it comes out on DVD, I can then spend the time at my leisure watching it and enjoying it. No commercials, no having to remember when to watch it, even when they move the show around a few times, etc. While I was reading around, I came across this article from the Christian Science Monitor on instant reruns and DVDs. It was an interesting little discussion of how television is making profits from putting its shows on DVD. The article points out that DVDs are becoming a central part of a program's marketing as it brings the show to fans as well as to new audiences that may not have caught the show before. This includes those shows that may not have been popular but went on to become "cult hits," a concept I find debatable since a "cult hit" can either be utter crap or a piece of genius, but often do not see past the "cool" factor to see if the show in question had merits or not. But that is another debate. Point is DVD keeps all sorts of shows alive. According to the article, people buy them to avoid the commercials, to get the quality of DVDs, and to be able to watch a season of a show without waiting. Then there are the DVD extras, additional scenes and other bonuses. So, I feel a bit better if I miss something the first time around. If it is good, I know I can often catch it later. And if there is a really good show I wish I could see again, I can go get the DVD. Overall, just more choice for viewers.

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