Thursday , February 29 2024
Harper's Island or Southland, I just don't know.

Thursdays at 10pm – Two Shows and no Good Choices

I find myself, on this Thursday night, faced with a choice, a choice I’m not entirely sure that I know the right answer for.  On the one hand tonight, I could watch Southland at 10pm, on the other, I could watch Harper’s Island.  I’m quite convinced that I have to watch at least one, and that I will end up watching both, I’m just not sure if there’s one that I should be watching tonight and one which I should be watching tomorrow.

I’m certainly far more interested in Harper’s Island. I’m still not in love with the show, but I very much like the idea behind it, but that’s not enough to convince me that it’s the right choice.  See, Harper’s Island is a “scary” show, or, at least, it’s scary for me.  I’m not  much into horror films, slasher movies, or crazed killers.  So, if I watch CBS’s mystery tonight, I’m not going to sleep very well.  Yes, you’re very funny, I could watch Harper’s Island and then watch Southland because I won’t be able to sleep, but the problem is that I may not even be able to sleep after that.

Southland might actually be a better show, but I think the jury’s still out there.  The real problem is that for a network that has aired stuff like L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, and ER in that Thursday, 10pm timeslot, to see Southland in that time is something of a disappointment.  Seriously, tell me that it isn’t, tell me that in your mind, Southland seems like the sort of show that’s going to stack up to one of those three titans.  You can’t, can you?

Hence my problem – how am I going to sit around tonight at 10pm and watch NBC when I’m far more interested in what’s on CBS?  How am I going to watch CBS knowing that I won’t be able to sleep later?   What does that leave me with, because I’m certainly not going to skip watching television completely at that hour, I’m not going to turn on ABC, and I’m not going to be watching local news.

Odds are that I should suck it up, ignore my fear and just watch Harper’s Island, after all, while it might not be the better show, it’s the show I’d rather watch.  Add to that the fact that I’ll probably only ever be able to watch Harper’s Island after dark and therefore always have issues falling asleep afterwards, and the choice seems even more clear.  But, for all that, I can’t just accept that as a conclusion. 

Now, Harper’s Island does have another advantage to it — it was really pretty clear who was going to die and when in the premiere, so I could easily skip those bits, or just build up my courage as those moments approach.  I’m pretty convinced that won’t work, but odds are it’s exactly what I’m going to try to do. 

Yup, the more I think about it, the more satisfied I am that the correct call is exactly that one — watch Harper’s Island and close my eyes during all the scary bits.  It’s probably not a method that will work perfectly, but at least I’ll have the feeling that even though I might not be able to sleep brilliantly tonight, I’ll have watched the right show. 

That’s probably the most important thing.

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.

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