Media and Marketing

>> Monday, August 3, 2009

I have to say that, despite all of the convenience of DVDs, and before that VHS tapes, and ... yes ... even DVRs, I miss the thrill of a special movie or TV episode on real-time TV. Toddler will never know the eagerness of waiting for the spinning "SPECIAL" on ABC at 7 and 8 PM so we could all watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," "Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Rudolph's Shiny New Year." If you missed it, well tough luck because it wouldn't be on for another year. (Then TNT got hold of some of them and broadcast them every day in the weeks leading up into the holidays. Wow. Talk about holiday cartoon overloading. I think I got grinched out about 10 years ago and I haven't quite recovered.)

Of course, with today's technology, we have holiday programming (any programming) on demand. If Toddler wants Mickey Mouse, we have Mickey Mouse. If the DVR fritzes on me, there is always the old DVD player. There is no suspense, no anticipation ... no popcorn while we wait .... Nowadays, we even have the power to pause live tv, so gone are the days of yelling to the person in the bathroom, "HURRY UP! IT'S BACK ON!!!!!" And since the dawn of this modern way of storing and viewing media, I've not managed to do well on "family movie night." I'm like an adult with advanced ADD. I never quite forget that it is all ... more fake than usual because I have a pause button and I know how to use it. Sure, I don't miss the idea of sitting in a theatre trying to decide whether to be thirsty and uncomfortable now, or drink and be uncomfortable later. On the other hand, any flitting thought in my head can derail home movie night and send us off to the ice cream store, the garage, or the internet. More likely, it sends me to sleep knowing I can catch up another day. I mean, why fight it?

I think this is why I am such a rabid college football watcher. I've always been a fan, but now I'm a watching-freak. Before the rise of the Big 10 Channel, we would get a season pass to ESPN Gameday, and from morning to night I would watch all of the major and most of the minor games from noon east coast time to midnight California time. (This is saying a lot from a family that refuses to pay for a single premium channel.)

So, not surprisingly, I've actually been enjoying watching BBCA's "Torchwood, Children of Earth." I actually watched the first episode as it aired, and I was hooked with the suspense. I felt almost like I was watching "V" the 80-something miniseries that made me break my bedtime. Honestly, a little something missing has returned for me with this nightly miniseries, and I'm sure I'll miss it when the show ends.

ON THE OTHER HAND, something of the mood is a little tarnished when I am constantly bombarded by commercials for the miniseries on DVD. Yes, I can buy the ENTIRE week-long miniseries on DVD, before I even finish watching day one. This would be like advertising the full season of 24 on DVD during the season premiere. Everyone is in on the act. Even my beloved Disney Channel advertised the DVD for its movie, "The Princess Protection Program" BEFORE the movie ever aired! This is like advertising the DVD for the next Star Trek flick before you advertise the movie itself in theaters! Yikes! I mean, if I was so certain I was going to want the movie forever before I even see it, I would just program the DVR to record it and never, ever, ever delete it. (To do anything else would probably violate some copyright, so of course I would never, ever, ever admit to do anything like that.)

Slowly but surely the spiderweb of modern media is weaving itself around me. By this time next year I might even have an I-phone and be updating you all "on the go." I mean, I wouldn't label it a "crisis" (like some people I know) if my cell phone up and died, yet I see the writing on the wall. BUT PLEASE, ICONS OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT -- PLEASE DO NOT RUB MY FACE IN IT! Let me think I'm independent. Fool me. Show me the show, then save your advertisements for the video until at least 30 seconds after the last line of the show. Please.


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