535: TV Love

What’s your favorite TV show? Why?


Full episode script

In April of 2013, Ian Leslie wrote in the Financial Times, quote:

We used to complain that there was never anything good on TV. Now we complain about the opposite. Spoilt for choice as we may be, we should not forget to be astonished that an industry once regarded as an artistic wasteland has turned itself into the world’s most prolific source of new stories.

Whether we are in the middle or nearing the end of television’s golden age is hard to tell. Our sense of being overwhelmed by new shows is not illusory. According to FX Networks research, in 2016 there were 455 original series in TV, up from 182 in 2002. Yet we haven’t necessarily reached what John Landgraf has called “peak TV”.

Spoiled for choice as we are, the very common question of what your favorite TV show can be difficult for just about anyone to answer. The Very Good TV Podcast from IndieWire offers give suggestions for how to answer the question:

Consider whether you’re answering subjectively or objectively.

Be declarative.

Don’t say, “Oh, there are just so many shows!”

Don’t pretend you’ve never been asked before.

Don’t be embarrassed by your choice — or qualify it.

Yet – sometimes qualifying that choice can be rather fun. And there’s absolutely no shame to be found in enjoying what you enjoy.

A 2017 study published in Critical Studies in Media Communication examined the social networks created by female “spontaneous fans” of television shows — rather than dedicated fans. That study found that, quote:

these online communities give women a significant degree of group identification as they self-reflect and swap opinions with others about the storylines of the TV shows.

Analysis of more than 7,800 comments on social media and other online forums revealed that the women in these digital communities expressed themselves specifically through their emotional ties with a television series, contributing to a sense of belonging based on their mutual enjoyment of the TV shows. Of more than 2,500 fans whose comments were reviewed, 44.6 percent expressed a feeling of belonging.

In other words, enjoying what you enjoy can not only provide private appreciation, it can also provide a community. So what do you enjoy?

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.

Looking for something to listen to this weekend?

May I suggest The Amelia Project? It is an audio drama podcast that has always resulted in a few good giggles… and also feeling like I’ve been hit upside the head by something just weird and just awesome enough to listen to a second time to be sure I’ve heard it right. Besides, any podcast whose characters appreciate a good cup of cocoa as much as I do must be good. Give it a listen, my friends.