Is it “Binge” Worthy?

I am a sleep technologist full time.  Naturally, when I see articles related to sleep, I read them.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently took a survey to find out what keeps us up at night.

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Coming in at #4 – Playing video games.  59% of men and 42% of women do it.

Coming in at #3 – Watching sports.  The survey says that 60% of us sometimes choose sports over sleep. (75% were men, while 45% were women)

The second thing that keeps us up at night is reading.  According to the survey 71% of women and 61% of men lose sleep because they couldn’t put down a book. (Personally, I LOVE when a book keeps me interested like that!)

So what was the #1 thing that keeps us up at night?  No surprise – Streaming TV shows or movies. A whopping 88% of us do this!  Of that group, 95% of the people were between 18 & 45 years old.

24 % of people in the survey said they usually are angry with themselves for putting entertainment over sleep.

The results got me to thinking.  As someone who rarely gets enough sleep because of my job, what TV shows would I consider to be “Binge Worthy”?

Since the birth of television, there have been thousands of TV shows!  With the availability of many of those shows on DVD and on streaming sites, which ones would I actually think about streaming or binge-watching?  I decided to break it down by decade.  I wrote down the first four shows from each decade that came to mind down.  So, here are the shows that I could easily “binge” watch:

The 1950’s

honeymooners

Jack_Benny

twilight

PerryMason

The 1960’s

TheDickVanDykeShow

trek

mission

smart_title1

The 1970’s

sanford

mash-title-960x590

wkrp

columbo_title_screen

The 1980’s

cheers

dukes

Night_Court_-_Opening_Screenshot_of_caption_and_NYC_skyline

TNG_head

The 1990’s

friends

raymond

seinfeld

70's

The 2000’s

On_the_next_Arrested_Development

office

30 rock

House

Now it’s your turn.  If you want to Google it – go ahead, but I thought it was more fun to just think of the decades and write down the first ones that came to my head.

What are YOUR “binge worthy” shows??

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Is it too much to ask for a “good story”?

Literature-Books-Bookshelf-Shelf-Library-Bookcase-2007660.jpg  Just announced this week – the return of Murphy Brown to TV.  This follows the return of Will and Grace, the upcoming return of Rosanne, and the announcement of the return of The Office.  There was also an announcement this week that there are plans to do a “live action” sitcom of the cartoon series The Jetsons.  The question I have is simply – “Why?!”

This has been tried in the past, both  successfully and unsuccessfully, on the big screen and on television.  Successful ventures include The Addams Family movies, The James Bond movies, Fuller House, and Hawaii 5-0.  The unsuccessful ventures include Car 54, Where Are You?, The Honeymooners, Dragnet, Fawlty Towers, Ironside, The Munsters, and SO many more.

Is the creativity in Hollywood that non-existent?  This may very well be the case.  Tune in to prime time TV and you will find many shows who remain on the air despite scripts that are weak, laughs that are barely worth a chuckle, and predictable scenarios that leave the viewer feeling less than wowed.  In looking over a list of bad reboots, some were cancelled after only a handful of episodes aired, one was cancelled after only the premier aired, and many were shot, but never even made it to air.

Where are the ideas?  Where are the stories?  Why does Hollywood think it is ok to just rehash an old idea and spoon feed it to us?  Why is the below average product acceptable to audiences today?

As an avid reader, I can tell you that I have read many books and told myself that the story would make a good movie.  When I walk into my local library and look at the shelves of books, I wonder why no one has looked to these stories for inspiration or to make into a film.  In the past, so many of the movies now referred to as “classics” were all adapted from books.  Think about it:  Moby Dick, The Godfather, The Princess Bride, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, Dracula, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, The Brothers Karamazov, All Quiet on the Western Front, A Christmas Carol, and the list goes on and on!

There are so many stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that could easily be adapted for the big screen.  There are also many “character” book series that I could see being adapted for TV series (just like Perry Mason was adapted for TV from the Erle Stanley Gardner book series).  With so many varieties of stories, written by so many different authors, why hasn’t someone in Hollywood turned to them for projects?  Instead, TV relies on a handful of writers who rehash old story lines, predictable punch lines, and sexual and crude humor to power their shows.  Hollywood continues to remake classics (and in many cases destroy them) and churn out films with no story lines, bad acting, gratuitous sex scenes, or they just take an idea and reuse it until it just doesn’t work anymore.

Every time that I have thought about going to the movies over the last 6 months, I have gone to the website of the theater to see what was playing and decided that there was just not anything that I was willing to pay to go see.  Nothing interested me (with the exception of a Pixar or DreamWorks animated film I can see with my kids).  The same goes for TV.  I would say that 9 times out of 10, when I do watch TV, I am usually watching an old show on DVD or Netflix.  There are very few “new” shows that I watch.  I am content watching old episodes of Columbo, Mission Impossible, Sanford and Son, Twilight Zone, or the Three Stooges!

I can only hope that movie goers and TV viewers will show Hollywood that they are just not going to shell out money to see another bad remake or lame attempt at a plot.  I hope that they will turn off their sets and read a good book instead.  After all, at least when you read a book – your imagination gets a work out.  (That’s a good topic for a future blog.)

“A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors” – Blake Mycoskie

“Never underestimate the power of a good story” – John Kotter