How Bad is Terrestrial Television?

After a couple of days visiting Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil, and staying is a room at the Railway Inn in Llandaf, wich was very nice, I can confirm that terrestrial television in the UK is awful! How does anyone watch this stuff? It was raining last night, so rather than going out, I decided to relax in my room. I wanted to read and listen to music, but I was tired, so an hour of watching TV seemed appealing. Never again!

Flicking through the channels, all I seemed to come across was adverts, and when I found a programme, its was either a repeat from something made ten years ago, or it was about kitchens, foodd, cars, crime or sensationalist/excitble documentaries. Most of it was incomprehensible. Most of the programmes were clearly made on a small budget, and then inflated to appear that they were more significant than they actually were.

I do watch a reasonable amount of television in the evening, ranging from Ru Paul’s Drag Race to Andor. Decent television is still an appealing way to relax at the end of the day. But with on-demand television I can pause, ditch or search for something else. A lot of what is on Netflix is rubbish, I accept that, but at least I can push past it. The linear experience of watching Freeview, however, meant I was trapped in an endless cycle of banal rubbish, with the only expectation placed on the viewer being that of somnambulism.

I stopped watching regular broadcast television more than ten years ago, and I’ve built up a decent collection of films on DVD. Sadly, my DVDs are now mostly packed in boxes, and seldom get played. With streaming, however, selecting a film has become much easier, though we are limited to the choice given to us by each of the service providers. Some are better than others, and I’m not one for rewatching films.

While convenience is important, and choice is useful, quantity is not really an indicator of relevance for me when it comes to television. If I am honest, I feel disconnected from any sense of relevance with most television programmes. I watch mostly fantasy stuff, which I like as a distraction from the reality of living in a second rate and declining place.

I’ve never really been fussed by true-life drama or crime stuff. I tried Wallander once, but it was just too depressing! So, flicking through the terrestrial channels last night, I felt like I was visiting an alternate reality, filled with highly performative simulations of what television producers think real people are, only my experience of people is nothing like this.

Television producers seem to have a warped idea of what human nature is about. They then endlessly copy this view, perpetuating a warped and narrow set of behavioural expectations. They like to think that we are all selfish, stupid, eager for entertainment, and unwilling to think beyond our own noses! I’ve never seen the jungle programme, it seems awful.

I admit I might have read British TV wrongly, my experience being based on just a very short time flicking through the channels. But I don’t think I want to find out more and correct my view. I’m happy to keep broadcast television at arm’s length. I’ve got plenty of books to be reading and music to be listen to instead.

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  1. I feel the same, we’ve not watched linear TV in our household for over 10years. content is recorded, ads skipped and several months of viewing saved at any time. Just consuder how much more people pay for it (TV set, licence and subscriptions) than ever before snd you realise there is just too much money in the industry, making more content which gets fewer eyeballs, than when millions of us would watch the same show at the same time. The golden age of TV has gone and I’m amazed how people still support so much drivel.

    • Yep. It does seem that the more money there is sloshing around, the less relevant or interesting the content is. When TV drama started to want to be like movies, they forgot the art of being television. It’s a good job there are plenty of other things we can do.

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