Monday, December 7, 2015

A DVD Junkie?

I am a DVD-aholic. I don’t quite know how it happened, but it definitely only made its appearance in my Third Third. Now, friends and I trade DVD recommendations as if it were some drug transaction:
             “I just finished the last season of X, and I need another.”
     “Okay, I’ve got one for you. I just discovered Y, and it runs for five seasons.”
             “Oh, good, that’ll hold me for a while.”

My first third didn’t include much television even though my father was part of the original color TV engineering team. We had the occasional family gathering after supper, but homework or play always came first. I remember Shirley Temple’s Storybook and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. The Tab Hunter Show and Dr. Kildare were big, on account of my huge crush on both their stars, but mostly television was a take-it-or-leave-it attraction. I actually bought my first T.V. set just to watch Roots, and barely turned it on afterwards. During the parenting part of the second third, television was again low interest, never even on when the child was awake.

So why, in my Third Third, do I keep a constant supply of DVDs on hand or on request at the library? I’m watching series on DVD that I never watched on television. Some of it is the absence of commercials – hallelujah! – but most of it is my willingness to enter the vegetative state. Why is that?

Maybe it started with Lost, and that was before my Third Third, but it was really good. There’s no way I could have watched that on regular broadcast T.V., waiting a week to resolve the cliffhangers. It was so eerie and unsettling, Sophie and I would stare at each other, terrified, and cry, “Another episode!” When she recently introduced me to Orphan Black, the exact same thing happened. Into the wee hours.
But those are like special occasion events. That couldn’t explain why I line up all the new seasons of NCIS, White Collar, and Big Bang Theory (although I have grown quite attached to the characters). And there is NO EXPLANATION at all for going through 15+ seasons of Midsomer Murders in which there are precisely three murders per episode, a major jolt when one episode had four.

Discovering Dr. Who counts as a major event, and Tim actually made his lone venture to the T.V. set when I found Foyle’s War, but it’s my unrelenting quest for new material that surprises me. Robin turned me on to New Tricks, and I in turn turned her on to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Judith and I both liked Leverage, and then I discovered Crossing Lines, which I’m now telling everyone else about.
We don’t have cable T.V. and the only Netflix I ever had was those free 30-day trials. Then Sophie told us she was allowed to have one other account on her Netflix (“Parents”) so now I can even beat the reservation lines at the library. Whole new fixes have opened up!

Sometimes DVDs are beyond frustrating. If a new season is out, you have to time your holds at the library so Disk #3 doesn’t show up before #1 and #2. And if you are eagerly settling down to watch Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace, and it grinds to a halt with a powerful skip, you have no choice but to return it with a note “unwatchable, please repair.” And then hope you get it before #2’s hold expires.

So what’s with the DVD preoccupation (hoping it’s not as bad as an obsession yet…)? Part of it is just a desire for empty-headedness, like reading People at the hair salon. Part of it just goes to wasting time. And yes, some of them are just so incredibly interesting, and yes, I cried and cried when Rose Tyler was separated from Dr. Who, and when David Tennant regenerated.
Friends and I trade book suggestions all the time. Movies, too. So maybe the DVD recommendations are just another way of sharing, not like drug addicts getting new fixes. Maybe I just have too much puritan in me about T.V. watching. Maybe it has nothing to do with being a time-wasting Third Third blob.

But if this works the way the games blog did – where I got all sorts of recommendations for new games – I will be delirious. Just remember, I can’t handle scary. Extra points for multiple seasons.


  1. I would watch Roots again. A couple of years ago after listening to it on audio, I just had to watch the series. I could not stop thinking about it for weeks. I even watched all the out takes and interviews with Alex Haley.
    I also really loved Six Feet Under and thought Desperate Housewives was clever and a great deal of fun.

  2. Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Bloodline, and of course, Breaking Bad. All have multiple seasons except Bloodline, which just came out this year. I couldn't quit watching...

  3. My spouse and I, in our early '70's, neither of us big TV watchers, are doing something similar. He might sit down with war & zombies, but when I come down and cringe at his choices, he stops the DVD and gets out Miss Fisher. I think it's lovely to sit down with my knitting for an hour or so and turn off all my worry about mass killings, climate change, war, etc., and just veg. Take Miss Fisher: it's ridiculous to think she can climb walls with high heels (her hat never comes off) and what is that silly gun -- does it even have a safety?! But I gobble down one after the other. Foyle's War was definitely a favorite and I adore Dr. Who (some more than others). We are clearly on the same page with you. Thanks for noticing!


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