Thursday, February 4, 2010

Watching TV on TV or watching TV on DVD? Quien es mas macho?

This has nothing to do with anything.
But still, it's Cookie Monster Warlord.
Your argument is invalid.

Following my post on Lost, Side Bar left a lengthy comment singing the virtues of watching TV series on DVD, rather than on a weekly basis. I'm gonna reprint that comment here, since I think what he brought up deserves its own post:
Lost is amazing. And last night's season opener was very encouraging.

But here is the thing: me and the wifey did not start watching Lost until about 4 months ago, and we watched seasons 1-5 on DVD.

There is no better way to watch a TV series than on DVD. It is an accelerator for great TV. It's like straining all that gross shit out of your orange juice and just having a nice glass of clean OJ.

The Wire. Sopranos. Mad Men. Lost. Whatever. These hour-long dramas come on for 60 minutes, once a week (sometimes less than that), and some of them are interrupted every 12 minutes by commercials.

Not on DVD.

On DVD, you can watch four episodes - a month's worth of programming for you first-run broadcast slaves - in less than three hours. You can get through a season in a weekend (as OB did with Season 5 of Lost).

And please, please do not talk to me about DVR. It is not nearly as good as having the commercials edited out, and 42 minutes of the show completely unadulterated.

There is absolutely no comparison. If the first four episodes of season 2 of your favorite show have a total of 45 minutes of just gripping drama in them, that's not too bad for the equivalent of a long movie. But 45 minutes of great TV over the course of a month? No thanks.

We had this experience with the Wire (watched 1-4 on DVD and loved it; watched season 5 every Sunday night and liked it, but it was not as good), Mad Men (1 and 2 on DVD, 3 on Sunday nights on AMC), and now Lost.

So yes, Lost is an amazing show, possibly my favorite ever. I loved Season 1, and was ready for a let down because everyone told me that the show didn't really get good again until season 5. But that was not our experience at all. We got all the way through season 5 without ever really picking a favorite, and without even really being able to distinguish one season from another - it was seamless.

But I am bracing for the DVD effect - if Season 6 of Lost is a let down, I'll know why.
I know of what he speaks.

As I wrote in my original post, I absolutely fucking loved seasons one and two of Lost. Season three annoyed me, and season four nearly drove me insane. I gave up on the entire show a few episodes into season five.

But now I'm back. Like the dumbasses on the show, I have returned to the island. Why? Well, I think what Side Bar had to say factors greatly.

I watched seasons one and two on DVD. Four, five, six episodes per sitting. Holyfuckingshit was it awesome. But then I had to do the week-to-week thing the rest of you peons do. And ugh, did that ever suck.

But this past weekend, when I was somehow uncontrollably driven to give this fucking dumbass piece-of-shit show that did nothing but infuriate me for two-and-a-half years another shot, I plowed through an entire season. And I loved it.

And after the season six premiere, I'm cautiously optimistic.

So, what's better? Watching TV as we've been conditioned to watch it -- as it's designed, one hour per week? Or in longer bursts, removing the commercials and the weeklong waits between episodes?

I'm really not sure. I don't know if my experience with Lost means that seasons one and two were outstanding (likely), while three and four were crappy (probably), and season five started out shitty but got better (almost certainly).

I'm kinda tired now. So here's something that -- like the picture at the top -- has nothing to do with anything I just wrote about. But if you've ever had a pet, maybe this will register (click the image to embiggen):

1 comment:

ChuckJerry said...

When you have the whole season on DVD, you have to satisfaction of knowing that all you need to do is watch all the episodes to get the conclusion to the story. When you're watching week to week, you don't have that. I know that I don't have a water cooler to stand around and talk with people about the show. I just want to watch it.

This is way more true of dramas than sit-coms. I love How I Met Your Mother, but I don't need to watch a marathon session of it. Once a week is enough for me.

This is especially true of Lost. Because every week at the end of the episode you're just like, "what the fuck?" Take this season premiere as an example. ***moderate spoiler alert*** Just like Open Bar said, we want answers and instead they're introducing more characters and locations on the island. Temples, a Japanese dude, concurrent conflicting story lines. It was hyper-engaging for 2 hours, but at the end I was still just like, "dude, seriously, what the fuck?" The smoke monster thing was dope, though.

It might be interesting to do a pseudo-real-time blog effort of the last season of Lost. A couple days after each episode, for DVR lag.