From my preteen years until very recently, I always complained that there was ‘nothing on’ when it came to TV watching. We went from two channels to three, then to four, and soon had many more to choose from. My current set-up has almost one hundred channels, though many of those are ‘Plus 1’ of others, starting one hour later, and some are the best-avoided shopping channels.
In addition, there are the channels available via the Internet, using NOW TV by paying a subscription, as well as Netflix, which I have not long had access to. The four channels of the BBC alone provide enough viewing across all genres to satisfy most people, and the numerous commercial stations offer more populist alternatives if you want them. I also have four free film channels, showing a mix of familiar re-runs, alongside films that have often only been released this year.
As the ‘Good TV’ season arrives every Autumn, the different broadcasters compete by showing all the best stuff at the same time, usually 9 pm. We have a PVR that can record two channels, and allow us to watch a third, but four is still a stretch. But we also have the ‘catch-up’ services on the Internet, where we can see a programme broadcast up to twenty-one days previously, as well as being able to binge-watch an entire series in one night, should we wish to do so.
I study my TV magazine (strangely still called Radio Times) religiously, and play around with the timer settings on the PVR until I can squeeze in everything I want to see, including the series record of those serials I have become addicted to. This sometimes takes so long, I could have actually watched something instead of doing that. Then once I am satisfied it is all scheduled, I can sit back and relax.
But the real problem comes next. I have all that stuff recorded, but little or no time to watch it, because of having to watch the actual ‘live’ TV that is on now and cannot fit on the recorder. I have been learning very quickly that there are not enough years in a life to watch everything I want to see. And that’s without even mentioning Netflix!
At the age of 67, my cry of woe is very different. I no longer say “There’s nothing on”.
That has changed to “There’s too much on!”
Let’s be careful what we wish for.