I likes me a little “Daily Show” four nights a week, usually followed up by some “Colbert Report,” too. I also like to check in on the fading days of the still excellent “West Wing,” and of course I tune in faithfully for “The Sopranos” on Sunday nights. This evening, I watched a TiVo’d episode of the FX Network’s “Thief” for the first time, and I was impressed enough to want to give it another try. And this fall, I fully expect to be a devotee of Aaron Sorkin’s forthcoming “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which is almost assuredly going to be excellent.
TV is good. I’ve said it before, but I really do believe that it has come light years since the programming of my youth, the general awfulness of which can usually be neatly summed up in just two nasty words: “Matt Houston.” In spite of the continued prevalence of reality television, I honestly do believe that there’s loads and loads of truly original, compelling and smart programming on the air today.
More and Better
And, as we as a society become ever more fixated on the shallow distractions of celebrity and fictional drama and comedy, I don’t see that changing. TV is just going to keep getting better. And I’m just going to watch more and more of it. And none of this is has even yet accounted for the one hundred and sixty-two Yankees games they’re beaming into my living room six nights a week until we close out the World Series in October (fingers crossed).
Still, given this glowing endorsement of the medium that I’ve just made, I’m pretty close to a decision that’s going to derail all of that: I’m pretty sure that sometime in the next few weeks, I’m going to cancel my cable television subscription.
For something that I don’t really want to spend a lot of time using, cable television is really expensive. I don’t watch nearly enough of it to justify its exorbitant cost. Let’s say I spend about US$50 per month on it, which is a fair way of breaking down the connivingly packaged bundle price that my cable company charges me for basic cable, premium channels and ‘fast’ Internet access.
Even if I spent, say, US$30 per month on a single season’s worth of any given television show on DVD — and I have no shortage of such shows to choose from on the shelves of any DVD retailer — that would still be way more television that I could watch in a single month. In the end, I’d save twenty dollars a month and I’d own the programming! Forever! The economics of subscribing to cable TV just don’t make sense for me.
But there’s more, too. It’s nothing revelatory to say it, but TV is a huge drain on my free time. And I feel like there are so many, many more things I could be doing with my free time than watching television. I could be writing this book about design that I’ve been tinkering with for a few weeks now. I could be putting together this podcast idea I’ve been talking about with a friend. I could be creating that new Web site that will serve as an outlet for my writings on popular culture that’s been in the back of my mind for about a year… or any one of a half-dozen other viable, original design and Web ideas that I’m sure could be huge successes, if I could just find the time.
So I have two great reasons to cancel my television subscription. Now I just have to do it.