Don't worry. It's not about politics -- though, by cracky, I would love to give those skunks and scalawags in Washington a piece of my mind! Unfortunately, I need every piece of my mind I've got left. One less neuron, and I won't remember my own name, let alone where I left my wallet.
Good thing you don't need a brain to watch television -- it can really get in the way, in fact -- because that's the subject at hand. My premise: Back in the day, we didn't always get to watch what we wanted on TV...and that made it better!
If I could've programmed my own station when I was 10, it would've run Star Trek all day every day with the exception of Saturday morning, which would be given over to Challenge of the Super Friends, old Warner Bros. cartoons (though none with that cocky bastard Road Runner) and maybe some Scooby-Doo (pre-Scrappy vintage, natch).
But of course I didn't have my own TV station. (The FCC wouldn't grant me a broadcasting license. Like I said: Scalawags!) So I had to make due with the stations we had. All four of them. None of which ran Star Trek. Ever.
And you know what? I'm glad. For one thing, if I'd actually seen "The Way to Eden" or "The Paradise Syndrome" when I was 10, I would've instantly devoted my life to Star WARS, and years later The Phantom Menace would've sent me into therapy instead of merely making me grumpy. More importantly, I wouldn't have found other things to watch.
Because I couldn't just pull out a DVD of my favorite show, I watched The CBS Late Movie, which is how I discovered Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Avengers (the quirky English spies, not the Marvel men in tights). Because I couldn't look up what I wanted on YouTube or Amazon Prime or Hulu, I watched the old black-and-white movies my dad loved -- and I grew to love them, too. Because we didn't have Netflix Instant Gratification, I was forced to make due with TV shows and movies that were actually 10 times better than what I thought I wanted to watch.
It's Netflix that got me thinking about all this, actually. Over the last year or so, I've seen a lot of online grousing about how limited the company's offerings for instant viewing are. To which I say this:
[Stands up slowly, totters forward a few steps, shakes fist, stamps cane]
WAH WAH WAH!!! CRY ME A RIVER, YOU BIG BABIES!!!
No, you won't find the latest Hollywood blockbusters in your Instant queue. But what you could find, if you had a drop of curiosity in your body, are some great films and TV shows you might never have tried if you could just watch Jack and freakin' Jill instead.
In the last few months, I've seen fun flicks I'd never heard of (Rope of Sand, No Name on the Bullet, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Bad Company, Pulp, Ulzana's Raid, It's in the Bag), fascinating science shows and documentaries I probably wouldn't have rented (How the Universe Works, How Does the Brain Work?, Being Elmo, Shut Up Little Man!, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Cropsey, Reel Injun, Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project), funny comedies I was vaguely aware of but hadn't sampled (Father Ted, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, The Whitest Kids U' Know) and some mind-blowing crap (Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Birdemic: Shock and Terror).
Oh, and I've watched a few Star Trek episodes, too. Because Netflix offers every Star Trek show ever for instant viewing. Which means the dream of my youth has come true. And you know what?
Usually, I'd rather find something new.