My Turn: ‘What’s on TV?’

Brian Curry

Brian Curry

A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times ran their annual “Best of” in the various categories of the arts. When I went to read television’s best of 2023, I realized that I was now officially an old curmudgeon. I knew none of the top 10 shows mentioned.

Furthermore, not one of the shows reviewed came from what I remember growing up calling the “Big 3” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Every one of them was from a streaming or cable network. With half of them, even if I had vaguely heard of the network (Say HBO or Showtime), I did not subscribe to them.

I stand corrected. It turns out that I do subscribe to some of them (even the ones I have never heard about). One or the other of our “kids,” who are all hovering around the age of 40, has put us on their plans. We still don’t have some of what I would deem “obscure” streaming services, but at least a few of the heavy hitters can be viewed—if I can figure out how to get to them. I can’t even figure out what remote device to use to get me on these mystery channels. Do they even still call them channels?

The only reason I know how to use my Roku remote is because through that one I can get to the MLB channel, and there I can stream my Mets games. For that one, the learning curve was so steep that I got a nosebleed, but for my team, I’ll take an algebra course again.

I mean I own a huge TV with crystal-clear high definition, vibrant colors, and a state-of-the-art sound system, but I’m obviously not getting full usage out of it.

Since I’m retired, I should have a master’s degree in being an advanced couch potato. Then why when I listen to friends describe “binge” watching, do I envision somebody on the couch with empty Jack Daniel’s bottles strewn around? I mean, they chat about Yellowstone, the predecessor to Yellowstone, and the pre-predecessor one to that one like they all have saddle sores. I have not seen a one … correction, I watched 15 minutes of the pilot when it was switched over to one of those Big 3 networks. I shut it off with a headache trying to determine who was who and what backstabbing they were up to.

If left to analyze my TV watching, it has pretty much boiled down to a morning news show, the evening national news, the local news, the aforementioned Mets, some football, and a few rare specials. The specials I pretty much “tape,” much to the embarrassment of my family who feel the need to remind me that there is no “tape” involved … for years. “Hey, did you understand what I meant?” Then leave me alone!

And if left to reflect, say, off my image on my shut-off TV screen, I think I just never got into TV programming. Almost my entire working career was spent working half nights or midnights (with commuting time, too). Name any huge series hits from the ‘70s on, and I have seen maybe two or three episodes at most.

And now I’ve reached the age where I’m asleep (or want to be) before the late-night shows come on. No sense in “taping” them—I’ll never watch them.

Brian Curry is a longtime Long Island Advance columnist and is a three-time winner of the New York State Press Association’s “Column of the Year.” You can contact him at [email protected].