Update: What I’m DVR’ing this fall 2014

So about a month ago I posted what TV shows I’m DVR’ing this fall, and I thought an update might be in order.

Scorpion, a new show on Monday nights on CBS, has been a little on the weak side but I think the program shows some promise. I had one Facebook friend call it one of the worst series of all time, but I could easily name 100 shows that were worse (that I can do that is somewhat troubling if you think about it). I’ll probably be watching for at least this season unles it somehow falls off a cliff story-wise.

Five minutes into the opening episode of The Blacklist my wife and I were hooked again, and it’s almost always the show we sit down to watch at first opportunity. NCIS:LA is usually the second, so that’s obviously still a keeper.

On Tuesday is old favorite NCIS, and while it hasn’t been great this season so far it does have a history of getting better as the season moves along. I’m hoping that holds true this year also. It’s spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans, had a clunky opening episode with a couple scenes that made no sense, but overall it’s just as strong as it’s two counterparts. It’s another keeper. Opposite of NCIS: New Orleans is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and it’s continued the hot run it had from the second half of last season. It’s another show my wife and I watch as soon as we can.

Elementary still hasn’t debuted yet, but I can’t see how it won’t be as good as it has been in previous years. Another show not aired yet is NBC’s Constantine. More on that after a few weeks of that show. The Mentalist still awaits a CBS cancelation to be inserted into the fall lineup. I haven’t seen any numbers for shows this fall so I have no idea how close that is to happening.

One show that didn’t make the cut is Sunday’s Madam Secretary. It is possible–heck, likely–that my wife and I will give the show a chance over the summer via on-demand or Netflix. But for now, it’s outta here. Heading on the list, and one I forgot to mention in the first posting, is the short-seasoned HBO show The Newsroom.

My wife’s three shows, Revenge (ABC), Scandal (ABC), and Grimm (NBC) are still on her list. I’m not sure if she’s added any.

What I’m DVR’ing this fall 2014

With the new fall TV season kicking off shortly I’ve got my list compiled of what I’ll be DVRing. When I mention a time it’s the airing time in the Eastern Time zone.

On Monday nights it will be Scorpion (CBS), a new show airing at 9pm that looks interesting, and then The Blacklist (NBC) at 10pm. NCIS:LA (CBS) has been moved from Tuesday nights to Monday, so that’s also a 10pm show I’ll be recording. My wife and I are absolutely hooked on The Blacklist, so we were very happy to see it getting a cult-like following as the show went on. NCIS:LA is another favorite of the two of us, so those probably won’t pile up on the DVR.

Tuesday is the only show I generally watch as it airs, NCIS (CBS) at 8pm, with newcomer NCIS: New Orleans and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) both airing at 9pm and being recorded. We tend to save up a few of the Marvel episodes and watch them all in a row, but spoilers were hard to avoid last year so we may need to change how we watch that show. My wife loves Scott Bakula so I have to think we may be watching NCIS:NO as it airs too.

There’s nothing on Wednesday I care about so that will likely be the night I catch up with what’s recorded.

Thursday’s will be Elementary (CBS) once Thursday Night Football moves over to the NFL network in mid-October. I make it no secret I’m a huge fan of Lucy Liu, but the series is pretty good so that’s a plus. I still find it funny that in the Elementary “universe” there is no fictional Sherlock Holmes nor apparently a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unless he existed and just didn’t write any Holmes stores.

Friday is the new show Constantine (NBC) at 10pm. I’m a huge fan of the comic book Hellblazer the show is based on, but unfortunately the DC track record on TV shows isn’t very good. I’m hoping Constantine bucks the trend.

Nothing on Saturday so when there’s no hockey it will be another catch-up night.

On Sunday there’s Madam Secretary (CBS) at 8pm, which means its start time is variable due to NFL games running long. I’m going to give a look-see and if it doesn’t hold me quick it could be a goner.

Waiting in the wings is The Mentalist, which CBS has announced will be a mid-season replacement.

My wife’s DVR has a few things going on it, Revenge (ABC) on Sundays, Scandal (ABC) on Thursday, and Grimm (NBC) on Friday. I’m sure she’ll be adding others, she always does.

There are a few other programs we DVR but their schedules are the usual network ones so we have to be on the lookout for those start times.

Apparently I’m a “binge-watcher”

I was having a discussion the other day about my TV viewing habits, and it seems that the cool kids are calling how I do it “binge-watching”. It must be a thing because it has its own Wikipedia page. According to Wiki binge-watching is defined by most as “watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting”. I’ve been doing this for years, so I find it funny that it’s supposed to be some sort of new thing because of “on demand” streaming services.

In days of yore when VCRs were the in thing I often recorded shows and then watched them in groups of two or three as my schedule allowed. In most cases you could only get six hour long shows on a tape so being careful that I didn’t miss anything I’d make sure I watched them after the fifth one. Most of those shows I recorded were on opposite of another show I was watching so it was easy to have only one program for each tape. So that, apparently, was the beginning of my binge-watching.

To me binge-watching should be way more than just watching a couple of episodes at a time. You get into the four or five neighborhood in one sitting and that’s really binge-watching. It looks like the cool kids set the bar low so they could be part of the group. After all, who wants to be on the outside looking in on something so trendy?

The first time I remember watching more than that four or five episodes at a time was years ago while The West Wing was on the air. I had missed the first few seasons and was catching reruns on Bravo. The problem was they weren’t showing them in order so I was missing a lot of stuff continuity-wise. After watching what was the first couple of episodes of season two (only I didn’t know at the time where they fit into the continuity) I was very confused because they using flashbacks and I had no idea if that was new material they were showing looking back or inserting old footage to remind viewers of what came before.

I mentioned this at work and long time friend Peter–who also worked with my father for years at Thom McAn–said he had the first season on DVD and would lend it to me. He brought it in on a Friday and I took it home to watch when I got the chance. An early morning thunderstorm woke me up on Saturday and when I couldn’t fall back to sleep I went out to the living room to watch a couple of episodes. I was so hooked I watched 12 that first day, stopping only because my wife and I had dinner plans that evening. On Sunday were the last 10 of the first season. The look on Peter’s face when I brought the DVD back and started talking about the episodes was incredible. I wish I’d taken a picture.

I eventually went out and bought all the season, and every other summer still watch them all. The 154 episodes in a handful of days is the absolute definition of binge-watching.

My wife and now regularly watch TV shows on our DVRs like this. There are a couple shows I watch as they air but for the most part I DVR everything (mostly so I can zap the commercials) and we watch them in groups of two or three. The last show I truly binge-watched was the first season of House of Cards, watching all 13 episodes over a two day period. I haven’t watched season two yet because my wife never saw season one and I think she’d like it. We’ll fix that soon.

Looking at it in a broader perspective watching TV shows in batches is also how I like to read books. When I start an older series I usually run through them non-stop until I hit the latest released book. I just seem to get more out of them doing it that way. I’ll bet good money I’m not the only one doing it that way.

Can “binge-reading” be far behind?

This post is about nothing (and everything)

I was culling through some of my unfinished posts deciding what was worth finishing and what wasn’t and should be deleted. I pretty much deleted them all. Many of them were things I wanted to say about certain subjects that I just never got around to finishing or are no longer news items and posting about them now made little sense.

The one post that I read, edited a little, and then almost posted was about how much it stinks to know you’re reading the last book in a long series. It’s timely for me because I’m doing that right now (King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells, the fourth book in her “King Rolen’s Kin” series), but everyone knows the letdown you get when you arrive at the end knowing there won’t be any more. Not really enough there for a blog post other then naming a whole ton of series ending books. Plus, like I said, we’ve all been there so there’s not much more to say.

Another was a follow-up on the shows I was DVR’ing this fall and which new shows I liked, but to be honest the book is still out on most of them. I’ve already given up on Hostages. It’s terrible. The Blacklist is already getting repetitive and we’re only a handful of shows into the season, but NBC has ordered a whole season worth so I’ll probably keep watching. But all in all not a whole lot to post about there either.

I had a pretty good post asking why there are so many people writing reviews for classic novels. I’m sure their thoughts on books like Great Expectations and Moby Dick were wonderful but I questioned why. I decided against posting it because while it was an amusing piece who am I to tell people what they should and shouldn’t blog about. I did save a few of the quips though and will use them for something a little more appropriate.

Both my Red Sox and Patriots had great comebacks last night, but if that was something you cared about you’d already seen the highlights and read enough fan reaction, so even if I were really wanting to blog about it I don’t think I could bring anything new to the events, so I probably won’t bother.

Worthy of a mention is Rachel Aaron, author of the “Eli Monpress” series, has another series starting on November 5th with a book called Fortune’s Pawn. Because the book is so different from the Monpress books she’s writing under the name Rachel Bach. You can preorder through links to the major online retailers on on her official site. I loved the first three books in the “Eli Monpress” series and have the last two on my to read shelf, and as soon as I know I have enough time to finish them both I’ll be starting them.

Maybe next time I’ll find something more specific to blog about…and then will actually finish and post it!

What I’m DVR’ing this fall…

We’re a week into the new fall TV season and already my DVR is getting a workout. I don’t watch many shows, but every one that I do I make sure to DVR it so I won’t have to scramble if I miss an episode.

Monday night I’m recording two shows, both on at 10pm Eastern. The Blacklist, staring James Spader as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives who surrenders to help catch other criminals, is on NBC while Hostages runs at the same time on CBS. Hostages is a mini-series that centers on the family of a doctor scheduled to operate on the president. With Hostages running just 13 episodes I’ll likely watch that until the end, but The Blacklist is going to need to keep me interested to keep me watching.

Tuesdays it’s two of my favories, NCIS and NCIS:LA. I’ve been watching them since they’ve been on and haven’t missed an episode yet. While NCIS runs on CBS at 8pm Eastern ABC has Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that’s “must see” for me. The first episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t disappoint, and I have high hopes for the series. Its biggest problem is it’s against of the juggernauts of prime time, so we might see ABC move this one to another time slot looking for an audience.

Thursday it’s Elementary because I’m an unapologetic fan of Lucy Liu. The series is pretty good, so that’s a plus. I find it funny that in the Elementary “universe” there is no fictional Sherlock Holmes nor apparently a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unless he existed and just didn’t write any Holmes stores.

On Sunday it’s The Mentalist, a show that’s pretty bad and yet I’m completely hooked. It’s the same story over and over again and my wife and I refuse to miss an episode.

Gone from last season is Arrow, the CW show about my favorite superhero Green Arrow. Well, it was at least about a character named Green Arrow. The rest was crap. When there were several episodes on the DCV in July it sort of made itself clear I wasn’t watching, so I deleted them and it.

The Great TV Debacle

As I mentioned in my last post, here is the story of what has become known as “The Great TV Debacle” in my household.

It all started when Massachusetts announced their almost annual tax free weekend. I decided that an upgrade of the television in our bedroom was in order. We had a very old 19″ TV in our room that was on its last legs, so I figured we would get a new TV to replace that one while we could shop and get the one we really want as opposed to having to settle with what was available because our TV died and needed to be replaced. The plan was to take the 32″ Panasonic LCD from the front room and move it to the bedroom and then buy a 42″ Panasonic plasma. I had already scoped out the TV at BJ’s Wholesale Club, and made sure that the entertainment center in my living room could hold the weight of the larger TV. It could, so we were ready to go.

So as we generally do on tax free weekends we went to stores Saturday after dinner, allowing for the maniacs to have plenty of time to get their shopping done so we could take our time browsing. Most importantly, there would be very little time needed for my least favorite activity, waiting in line. So we get to BJ’s and Trish and I take a look at the other televisions mostly just to make sure we were getting the deal we thought we were, and just as I’m getting ready to grab the 42″ and put it on our cart Trish notices a 50″ Panasonic. Because it wasn’t that much more money, and “bigger is better” in televisions, we bought it. And then our haste in not thinking it through began to cause little bumps in the road.

It was too big for Trish to help carry it up the stairs, so I had to call my brother to help. Luckily he was sober available to help me carry it, and he agreed to meet me at our house. Getting it to my house turned into a small chore because while the 42″ would easily fit into the back of our Jeep the 50″ didn’t exactly slide right in. After a few minutes and some mild curse words, Trish and I were able to just fit it into the back. We then arrive at my house and I call my brother, who shows up a few minutes later with my nephew in tow. It takes just seconds for us to get it into my living room where another problem rears its ugly head: my entertainment center won’t hold the bigger TV. So we drag the TV into my media room, where it will stay for a short while because we won’t be able to get to a store on Sunday to buy a new entertainment center.

Because Trish and I never do anything small, our master plan becomes one that requires a lot of work. We decide to take the fairly old entertainment center out of our bedroom and move it into our front storage room, take the newer (and much heavier) entertainment center from our living room into the bedroom and set up the 32″ TV in there, and then build the new entertainment center and set up the 50″ TV. Luckily my brother said he wanted the older 19″ to use in a spare bedroom, so I didn’t need to worry about finding a permanent place for that.

On Monday we head off to Best Buy looking for a small entertainment center for the TV, and right away we see one that was perfect for what we wanted and was a great price. The sales person runs off to grab one for us from the back room, but because it was too perfect of course it wasn’t going to work out–the one they had in the back was broken. So we take note of a couple of other ones that weren’t really what we wanted, and decided to wander the mall to see if maybe we could get something better. A stop at TJ Maxx didn’t result in finding anything that looked like it would fit, so we continued down to Big Lots, where I was sure we’d strike out but since it was right in front of us it made sense to look there.

Lo and behold, they had some really nice ones at really good prices. The best part was they had the instructions on how to build it inside the pieces so I could actually decide based on how easily I could put it together. A major plus right there. They also had a furniture delivery door behind the store so I wouldn’t need to cart it all the out to the Jeep. We did take a few minutes to think it over mostly because we weren’t exactly catching many breaks in all this. But in the end we bought it and brought it home…where the hard work began.

We first had to clear off the entertainment center in the bedroom for its move, and that was a much bigger chore than I thought it would be. Luckily it was pretty light so moving it didn’t take all that much work. The hard work came in the living room, where I had to unhook all the electronics involved out there and find spots to keep that stuff while we moved that entertainment center into the bedroom. This is where a little more planning would have worked on my end. While the 32″ TV rested on top of the entertainment center, there was a very old and incredibly heavy glass flat screen TV still in it. After some work it joined a large pile of broken electronic devices in our back hallway. From that point things actually went pretty smoothly, and by late afternoon I had everything put back together and working great. The best part of the story is while setting up our expensive TV and entertainment center we got to use Trish’s big tax free purchase to help…an $11 Mini Maglite.

But it’s a really, really nice Maglight.