It’s Never Scary on TV

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Culture, Visual

As Halloween rolls around, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the usual glut of horror movies on Television to catch up on things I’ve never seen before.

I just got done watching Halloween: H20: Twenty Years Later. The movie was alright, but what really struck me was how irritating it was watching it from a television station. Fortunately, I don’t even bother watching any television shows “live” anymore, and so therefore can skip the commercials. But even with the ability to skip through the commercials really quickly, I’m feeling particularly irritated with watching these things off of television at all.

Typical scenario: Mike Myers is seen walking down a corridor with a knife in his hand. The Halloween suspense theme is playing. Then, in the bottom of the screen, a row of symbols flashes by and coalesces into the television network’s symbol.

Great, any sense of tension was just blown. This happened constantly as I was watching the movie. If it wasn’t the network label appearing in the corner, it was an ad for another show on the network. There must have been at least three other shows being advertised during this horror movie, one of them a comedy and another a romantic comedy, total mood killers for the ambiance of a horror film. Do I care about these shows? No. And even if I did, I wouldn’t want that cluttering up and distracting me from something I’m already watching.

It seems like the network people want to discourage anyone from watching anything on their networks at all. If it really bugs me, it wouldn’t be hard at all to simply move entirely to watching everything on DVD. The only real benefit to TV at all is the serendipitous finding of something you might want to watch, but couldn’t remember you wanted to watch. Amazingly enough, I can browse throw a station’s offerings via the local TV guide or the streamed-in content guide, I don’t need to have ads plastered on top of my shows to know when something else is playing.

Yeah, I guess that deafening silence means I should just forget the crazy idea of television stations caring about my viewing experience at all.

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