There are a lot of TV shows out there. Lots of shows. Good shows. “The Golden Age of Television,” they call it. “Peak TV!” they cry, which is both a wary quantitative assessment of how much there is and a qualitative one. I can’t disagree with any of it.
You’re toodling around on the internet one day and you read about a new show that’s coming out on Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Toastr or Blymp or whatever. This show has some cool actors and an interesting premise and a trailer with lots of good noises. “Show looks good,” you think to yourself. “I’m gonna watch that show.” So you watch it. You give 8-12 hours of your life to the show, and was it worth it? Mostly, yeah. The show was decent. You enjoyed it.
Ah, but then what happens? Another show with cool actors and an interesting premise and a trailer with lots of good noises comes along. You want to watch that show, too. So you do, but then when that show is over you have to deal with the second season of the first show. That’s another 8-12 hours of your life! The first season was enjoyable enough, but did you really like the show enough to sign on for another? Or another after that? Probably not, but if you stop watching the show you won’t know about what eventually happens on the show. You need to know what happens on the show! You haven’t even started thinking about Season 2 of the second show yet. Also while you’re rolling all of these questions over in your mind, you’ve become aware of two more shows with cool actors and interesting premises and trailers with lots of good noises.
Yes, perhaps the problem here is that there are too many shows, but the show people are not just going to stop making shows. So I am here to offer an elegant solution: abandon the show.
Season 2 of Westworld is premiering soon. I watched all of Season 1 and followed along as internet sleuths attempted to untangle the mysteries of the robot-fuck-murder world. I was, I would say, relatively into the experience. I neither loved nor hated the show—the show was fine. But guess what, my friends: I’m not going to watch one second of Season 2. Yes, this will deprive me of any opportunity to discover the truths behind the robot-fuck-murder world, but let me tell you what felt very good: the wave of relief that came over me following the realization that my decision would free up 8-12 future hours of my life, which I will surely spend bettering myself (playing Overwatch).
It felt so good that I wanted to feel it again, and so I did. Season 2 of Legion? Get out of my face. Season 2 of Jessica Jones? No thanks. I truly cannot wait to learn the premiere date for Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale, so that I may resolve to ignore it.
I promise that my intent here is not to be smug and dismissive. I do not believe that abandoning these shows makes me better or more refined than people who will continue watching them. I’m simply here to offer a solution to similarly show-addled people. Even if you mostly like the show, there’s no law saying you have to keep watching it. Release yourself from the show, and live wild and free.