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When the TiVo Disappears

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Virtually everything I watch on television, I watch via my TiVo.  Network schedules these days seem to be full of time changes, date alterations, and all manner of oddities, TiVo makes it easier to navigate such issues.  However, TiVo also does another interesting thing – it demands that I watch the shows it tapes. 

I go in to my Season Pass Manager before the Fall season gets underway and add all the various shows I've decided to watch that year.  TiVo then grabs all the shows and I watch them as they come in – almost always that night, but never at the moment they start recording.  When I was younger, I used to be oh-so-proud of never having missed an episode of a given series, such a commitment took dedication – I was there every week at a specific time to watch a show.  With TiVo that dedication isn't required, the show just appears in the Now Playing list.

Thus, I found myself for the past two weeks in the midst of an experiment that I hadn't intended.  I was out of town, away from my TiVo, and therefore away from my Season Passes.  Anything I watched I saw only because I was in front of a TV at that time or remembered that it ought to be at CBS's website or on Hulu.  It made me reconsider my Fall shows in a way I had not intended.  When I had to actively search out content instead of having content delivered to me, I only searched out that I was most interested in, I didn't sit and watch the rest.

What did I actively consume?  The Office, 30 Rock, The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town all ranked highly.  I made sure I saw House, Amazing Race, Stargate Universe, Dollhouse, and FlashForward too.  I even managed to sneak in a Simpsons, Glee, Desperate Housewives, and NCIS episode.  I was acutely aware of not watching Mad Men and looking forward to seeing it on my TiVo once I got home.

Perhaps more interesting though was the fact that I made a conscious choice not to watch Eastwick.  I could have sat and seen an episode of the show, I had the time, I had the TV, I simply didn't have the inclination.  Had I not gone away, I'm sure that I would have merrily puttered along, always remembering to watch Eastwick on Wednesday nights because my TiVo delivered it to me.  I would have sat there convinced that the show would, eventually, get better, and that I would, eventually, not so much mind all the bad bits.

Instead, when I returned home and saw all the other stuff sitting on my TiVo that I wanted to watch but hadn't been a top priority, drop everything to see it live or grab it on Hulu show, I deleted not only the two episodes of Eastwick I had missed, but my Season Pass for the show as well. 

I'd say that my action ought not reflect negatively on the show, but quite obviously it did.  When I first reviewed the show I decided that it absolutely had potential, that it could be interesting enough to watch in the long term.  After watching a few episodes and then having the opportunity to watch a few more I decided that while the series may still have potential, I no longer cared to what for the potential to become reality.

What might have dropped off my list if I had been away for another week?  I can't say, all I know is that I'm happy to not have to make that choice.  That's right, Eastwick may be off my TiVo, but I'm never happy about making that type of decision, they cause a little twinge of pain deep inside.  I'm convinced I made the right call, but don't confuse that with it being an easy call.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • Clavos

    Josh,

    Nice article.

    I’m bemused by how different our favorites lists are.

    The only two we seem to have in common are House and Desperate Housewives.

    I don’t have TiVo, I use the DVR the satellite company supplied me, but besides those two, my “Timers” are also set for Raising The Bar, L&O: Criminal Intent, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, and one I fervently hope will come back, Dirty Sexy Money.

  • http://waftingcurtains.wordpress.com Chelsea Doyle

    I so know that feeling. I had to drop a lot of shows I was only lukewarm on this season due to DVR competition or knowing that … I really didn’t care about them enough to fill up my space. If I knew I’d save up like 6 episodes before bothering to see it, I just gave up the show, because the truth is I didn’t like it enough.

    Eastwick I couldn’t get through the first episode.

    Right now I have House, Glee, Bones, The Mentalist, How I Met Your Mother, Flashforward, Cougar Town, and Gossip Girl as my primary shows.