I don’t watch TV, an admission that usually meets with startled surprise from people I meet. “You mean, you don’t have a TV?!” I do have a TV, or what passes for one these days, i.e., a large flat-screen on which I watch Netflix mostly, generally on DVDs, but sometimes streaming. I also admit to watching old Hawaii Five-0 shows while I exercise. But television shows, TV series, no.
I have tried to watch a few series that have a lot of buzz around them: I made it through three episodes of “Breaking Bad,” tried, Treme, and a few others. I just don’t like the form – it makes me think of The Sims. Create a world, people it with characters, disturb it, watch what happens… I prefer to have the sense of watching a story. Something with a beginning, a middle, and an end, a dramatic arc. So, I tried True Detective, and I like it! It’s only eight episodes long (half the length of The Prisoner!) Maybe the fact that it’s written by a novelist helps. The whole point to a regular series is just to keep you watching, to keep the show going…for years, if you can.
I rather like Rust Cohle, and his worldview. I’m down with his philosophy of mind, his dismissal of the fantasy of personhood. Maybe he’s a David Hume fan too? For some reason, his cogitations get him down, instead of bringing him joy. Perhaps he needs to read Fontenelle:
“All this immense space which holds our sun and our planets will be merely a small piece of the universe? As many spaces as there are fixed stars? This confounds me — troubles me — terrifies me.”
“And as for me,” I answered, “this puts me at my ease.”
There are two sex-scenes in the first three episodes (as far as I’ve gotten to-date) that set me thinking. The first shows Marty getting it on with his hottie from the DA’s office. She’s naked, he’s not. The second shows him doing the same with his wife; she’s naked, he’s not. How come women get naked but not men, I asked my wife? “Sexism,” she replied. Not acceptable to show naked men on TV. (I avoid the word “nude,” which I associate with art history.) “Not that I want to see those guys with their clothes off, anyway,” she said. Point taken. But it emphasizes that it’s a man’s world we are seeing on the screen.
And what is the point of these scenes? The first was to deepen Marty’s character: it was supposed to be a bit of a shock after hearing him go on about family values so much to anyone within hearing, and there was only a brief hint earlier of his philandering. The second..? My wife again: “It was supposed to show that he was a tortured soul.” To me, he just seems like a guy with a lot of deeply held and self-serving ideas. But then, I’m partial to the philosopher of the pair who questions all… And I guess the fact that his deeply held ideas aren’t helping him so much is part of the drama after all.
Overall, a higher order of television than I’m used to!