Only the tenacious need watch

By 21st century entertainment standards I am a failure. While I fully get the concept of the boxed set, whether in the solid format with illegible print that takes up space in boxes and clutters surfaces around the blu-ray player when the cobwebs are (not metaphorically) blown away, or accessible via the webby waves that permeate everything, I rarely get beyond series one; series one of anything that was produced post-2002*.

The Sopranos = series one and a couple of episodes from series two. Breaking Bad = nada. Mad Men = nil. The Good Wife = a few episodes. The Wire = also nil, though I had every intention of watching but realised I probably didn’t need to because everyone just assumed I had and it was easier to nod and smile knowingly at rehashings of the ‘good bits’. The list of series I haven’t watched in ubiquitous boxed set format is getting really, really long and will only get longer when at the third episode of series one I am gleefully informed that the second series is to be released in about five minutes. By then of course we really know that nothing, and I do mean nothing, will stop series three, four, five…. and I just can’t be bothered. I usually enjoy series one and maybe a little bit of me worries that a follow on series will disappoint.

No, that’s not it. The real issue is tenacity. I have none where extended viewing is concerned and in fact recently realised that I am happier watching re-runs of things that I either enjoyed a great deal or didn’t hate. This approach offers me the freedom of not paying attention, helping me to develop my multi-tasking approach to leisure – enabling me to read my book, crochet Hello Kitty characters, daydream, talk at loved ones. My ‘able to do while not really watching something’ list is consolingly long.

A Scottish bodice ripper has recently caught my attention and I’ve happily watched kilted antics for hours at a time. But series two has been announced which has made me remember that there are several ancient boxed sets in a crate under a bed that could do with meeting a feather duster sometime soon.

*please note the use of ‘rarely’. I admit to watching, indeed owning, all of Game of Thrones but only after it has come off the channel that I will not pay for or indeed advertise to the three people who might read this. My excuses for omitting this fact are three fold: 1. I was addicted to the books – and wish Georgie boy would get on and get the next written (my enjoyment of medieval machinations and warfare knows no tasteful bounds); 2. Sean Bean, Ian Glen; 3. This blog wouldn’t have worked without that teeny caveat, if in fact it works at all.  

Good old reliable Alec

Good old reliable Alec


  1. JackieH
    Jul 26, 2015

    O.M.G. you are describing me too. I didn’t know it was a phenomenon until you described it D. I have tried Breaking Bad – got thru one and a half series before it slipped awau, The Good Wife, 11 episodes recorded, none watched, The Wire, borrowed boxset for 3 monthss, didn’t open it, I recently watched 5 episodes of Homeland before getting bored and looking up the end on Wikipedia. I pay Netflix good money every month not to watch stuff! Like you I prefer Midsomer Murders, or recently series I never watched first time round on ITV3. I can do do other things at the same time.

    But I draw the line at fantasy – can’t get into it at all. So good for you with Game of Thrones!

  2. Miranda Coates
    Jul 26, 2015

    Jamie Fraser’s kilt.

    • knowingd
      Jul 26, 2015


  3. Nikki Marsh
    Jul 26, 2015

    Also ditto! I don’t know whether it is due to a decreasing attention span. Literally if my attention is not gripped within 5mins I’m outta there! The only programme that has piqued my interest is ‘orange is the new black’. Even then I am 3 seasons behind the rest of the world, and cannot believe that so far it has been my only constructive use of my Netflix subscription!

  4. Jackie Kaldis
    Jul 26, 2015


  5. Victoria Gooch
    Jul 26, 2015

    Unkilted antics, more like.

    Is it a question of being used to the British way of doing TV? By which I mean we’re more used to six episodes a series, and (Dr Who aside,) rarely more than a few series. Also, it doesn’t matter if you miss an episode. Now, it seems getting into something means committing years to your sofa.

  6. Jo
    Jul 26, 2015

    I have seen none of these series, other than some intermittent viewing of The Sopranos , not even a single episode, so, not likely to be buying any box sets anytime soon! Narrow escape.

  7. Sue B
    Jul 27, 2015

    I have a few theories as to why this might be.

    First, it may be that the visual medium doesn’t engage you sufficiently so your brain needs to do something else at the same time.

    Secondly the characters portrayed in a film or TV production often differ from how you envisioned them when reading the book. They are almost never better than you imagined, and usually worse, which becomes frustrating.

    Thirdly – and most likely – the first series of any long-running production is nearly always the best, being a victim of the ‘pilot’ system which means only the most immediately engaging and exciting programmes get made. Therefore, the writers put all their best ideas up front and start with a climax, rather than building to one as a book would do.

    Game of Thrones is the exception to Rule 3 because George wrote it as books, not a screenplay and so the teeth-gritting moments are well dispersed although personally, so far, I think series two is the best.

    The other problem with long-running series is that the writers start to bend to public opinion. An example is Poldark where the somewhat unexpected emergence of Aidan Turner as a sex bomb probably means he will now have to get his kit off more often than the plot would warrant. People as old as me will remember this happening to The Incredible Hulk who started off ‘hulking’ once or twice an episode but then, in response to public demand, began to go green every five minutes.

    Personally, I differ from you. All my family and friends laugh at my ability to become totally engrossed in a film, especially at the cinema, where I sit and gaze with big, wide eyes. Books, on the other hand, I soon get bored with, evidenced by a library of them, many of which have a bookmark (a postcard, a postit note, a torn off page of magazine) about half way through.

  8. Michael Hill
    Jul 28, 2015

    I thought it was only me. What a relief you have come out and encoraged the rest of us to do the same. Game of thrones box set is still sitting there, loaned by a well meaning friend.

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