Television wasteland

Seventy-one percent of Americans say television is one of their favorite forms of media, even as they consume it more and more on devices other than traditional TV sets, according to Deloitte's fifth annual "State of the Media Democracy." I’m sort of shocked to hear this.

Elysha and I do not watch much television.

In fact, we watch very little television.

And almost all of the television that we do watch, save sports and NBC’s Thursday night lineup, is watched on DVD.

And we even watch the NBC Thursday night comedy 30 Rock on DVD.

As a result, there are evenings like the last two (both following snow days) when we actually want to watch television and have the time to watch television but have absolutely nothing to watch.

Normally, we’d pop in the DVD of our current show and watch a couple episodes.  Our postal carrier failed to show up today (so much for the rain, sleet and snow claims), and therefore we are still without our Netflix DVD of Glee, a show I am quickly souring on.

So we were stuck.

Last night we watched a thirty minute episode of the television version of This American Life (recorded on the DVR) and then waited two hours for the Celtics game to begin on the west coast.

Tonight we watched an HBO documentary on Vince Lombardi and then turned the television off at 9:00.

Normally I wouldn’t care so much, but after two days trapped inside the house thanks to snow, sleet and freezing rain, I would have really enjoyed watching something entertaining for a few hours tonight.

I found myself a little envious of those people who have their entire night planned out based upon the television shows airing on network TV.

Just for kicks, I took a look at tonight’s television lineup to determine if there was something decent that we could have watched had we planned ahead a little better.

My options included:

  • Back-to-back episodes of a show called Minute to Win It.  I assume this is a game show and therefore not something we are interested in.
  • American Idol, which was entertaining back in 2002 but quickly became un-watchable for us.
  • Criminal Minds, which I assume is a police procedural.  I have watched enough police procedurals in my life and do not need to watch another.  Ditto for medical dramas.
  • A show called Live to Dance, which I assume is a dance competition of sorts. Yeah, right.
  • Back-to-back episodes of a sitcom called The Middle. Admittedly, I know nothing about this show and have never heard a single person speak of this show. But I’m pretty sure the Lombardi documentary was better.
  • Human Target, a show that I happen to know was based (rather poorly) upon a comic of the same name. I read a review of this show sometime during the fall and found the concept ridiculous. Not interested.
  • Modern Family, a sitcom that I have been told is very good by many different people (although every time I hear it described, it sounds like an update on All in the Family or Roseanne, two shows I never watched but know so much about that I feel like I watched them). If we were to watch it, we would probably watch it in its entirety on DVD.
  • Cougar Town: Based upon promos that ran during the NFL season, I know that Courtney Cox is in this sitcom. I also know that it airs at 9:30, which is the slot where most sitcoms go to die. And everything I’ve heard about the show makes it sound stupid.

So that’s it. One possibility, unless of course I looked beyond the four major television networks, which I admittedly did not.

So what is good on television these days that I may be missing?

Check that:

What is good and new on television these days? No police procedurals. No reality shows. No hospital dramas. No game shows.

Elysha and I recently finished watching Breaking Bad, which we liked a lot because it was well written, well performed and most important, original.  Other favorites from the past have included The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost, and the great Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

All shows that were written well and were things that we had never seen before.

Okay, fine. I watched Battlestar Galactica as a kid, but this was nothing like the original version of the show.

I was hoping to feel the same about Glee, but the over-produced musical numbers (when some honest singing would be preferable) and contrived plotlines are starting to get to me.

Mad Men or Dexter will probably be next in the Netflix cue, but is there anything on network television today that fits my criteria?

Something that I could start watching today and be happy?