So you are told that TV is an 'idiot box' and that you are wasting your time by watching?
Not so I say. I believe it is research by another name.
First let me admit that I'm a TV addict. As far as I can remember I have watched TV and I mean watched and gotten into shows. I remember the adventures of Buck Rogers, Wonder Woman and the Charlie's Angels girls.
I wanted to know what happened to my favourite characters week after week.
I still do.
The one thing that has changed is that I can record shows and see them when I like. Sometimes I like to get two or three episodes and what these in a row. I also borrow series from the library - oh, my library system, gets a rave from me.
But I also think that TV is research. It helps you see story telling in another medium. Everything is shown to right there on big or small screens. You pick up on story structure, dialogue, themes, atmosphere, storyline arcs. While it's not conveyed in the same way in writing, it does help sharpen the skills because you can compare and contrast. Oh, dear, that sounds like a high school English exam question, doesn't it?
What do I watch? Basically what don't I?
At the moment, I'm watching Game of Thrones, Medium, Defiance, Warehouse 13, and just started watching Under the Dome (okay only second episode in - I have to remember this is NOT the book and things have been changed). But I also just finished a stint of Boardwalk Empire and watch Sons of Anarchy and Elementary. Different shows. Different characters. Different beats. And I love it.
|Defiance (source: SF)|
|Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall (source: River Cottage.Net)|
The TV is on when I iron or when I get into my painting or drawing homework. Usually on shows I don't have to concentrate on. It's been great revisiting SG-1.
I'm allowing myself the time get away from my own stories. My writing has been lax lately because I have been so busy with other commitments. But I always feel like part of me is taking notes when I'm watching TV.
I also think that sometimes we outgrow or get enough from one show and we can let that show fade into the distance. I watched Lost and after a couple of years or so, I noticed that I'd missed a few episodes and let it fade. I'd catch an episode here or there but it didn't spark my interest in the same way any more. I still enjoyed watching it, but somehow my lessons had been learned from that show. And it was okay to let go.
How about you? Do you see TV as research? Or do you see it as a waste of time?