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Watching Television Online

I live in a 4th World Country.  A country where nothing really works and just about everything is better elsewhere.

Years ago, when we first got television it was on at a few rare hours per day.  There would be okay shows and few episodes of a first run drama from elsewhere.

There was only one station.

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Then there were two stations, and lots of expensive Cable providers.  At first the two stations competed, so you could see NCIS on one station, House would be on another, and you got a smorgasbord of First run shows. Not usually all the episodes, or in sequence, but enough so that you had a toe into what the shows were about.

Then, somehow, I learned that there were sites all over the world which had episodes of all the shows, and one could watch them first to last. Watch them online for FREE.

Not subscribe, not join, not pay, just go to the site and do a ‘search’ to find what you wanted, or look at the selections, and start at One. See the show, in entirety, with no bleeping out of words, no commercial breaks, and the ability to stop the show when you wanted to do something, and resume at your choice.

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At first, I was like a newbie, seeing television for the first time. As I became more expert I knew what sites to go to, which to avoid, how to search, and, as more time passed, I became a ‘critic’. I was able to see the flaws. The bad writing, the poor plots, and stop watching.

This is because, when you see a show once a week, and it is broken by commercials, a lot of errors are unseen. A lot of ridiculous is obliterated because it is once a week. And between then and now, so much life interfered that the preposterous nature of a plot or a character or a concept, is missed.

When you watch on line and can see three or more episodes at once sitting, or during one day, the faults are glaring.

Shows which were ‘highly rated’ become ignorable because you can’t miss the unreasonableness.   Shows which are written by different people, episodic shows, have no continuity, and lose a lot of their allure.

Other shows which had limited runs, maybe going off the air after two or three seasons prove their value and the errors of the producers for dropping the show.

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Some good shows were dragged out for five seasons because of the viewership, when they could have ended after three; many episodes unnecessary.

The value of story arc, that is a continuing story so that one episode follows another as chapters in a book, proves itself if one does a ‘marathon’.  The use of episodic shows, where each show begins a story line which ends before the final credits, is useful as ‘filler’.

Many shows often move from episodic to story arc in their final season, or the penultimate, because it seems more sensible to have one nice long story and film it in sequence, ending each presentation with a kind of ‘cliff hanger’ to get you tuning in next week to see what happens.

Most British shows are story arc. They have a beginning, middle and end. Every episode is important to carry the story further. Most American shows are episodic. Outside of the characters and their purpose, each presentation stands alone, there are few carry overs.

The story arc shows don’t rush through the dialogue and action to reach the final credits, there are pauses, there are long pans of the scenery,  a setting of where and when and what.

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As British shows are often longer, i.e. an American hour length show is forty five minutes of presentation, a minute or so of opening credits, theme song, and a minute or so of closing credits, British shows can be an hour plus long, for there are no commercial breaks.

Think of the average American show.  Two minutes of whatever, then the credits, then a commercial break, then some action, another break, some more action, then another break, action, break, closing. These breaks eat up about thirteen minutes.

The Average British show doesn’t have to chop.  It can portray a particular event in the plot and if that takes fifty nine minutes, or sixty five minutes, it doesn’t matter. There is no need to chop.

Watching online is a new experience, even for the hardened T.V. viewer.

What do you think?

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Written by jaylar

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  1. I live in the USA and I grew up watching television. But if you missed a show and also missed the rerun of the episode, that was it! It was all over! Back then we didn’t have a VCR so that we could record movies or TV shows and watch later. But these days even though have Netflix, there are some shows I want to watch but Netflix doesn’t have them. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I found out that there were sites where I could binge watch one or more seasons of a TV show. You have to be careful. Some of the sites cause my virus package to kick in. But if I land on a good site with the shows I want to watch, I could be up all night long. LOL.

  2. I’m interested in your comments about British and American shows. I’m British, so I’m used to the BBC format without commercial breaks, but there also many British TV channels that do have these breaks. However, there might also be a difference in that British viewers seem to have a longer attention that American ones – this is evident from the sports coverage you might see in that our most popular sports run for longer before an interval than American sports tend to do.

    • Oh yes. The expectation in America is for fast and done. The British like the language, the connotations. I live in Jamaica, so you know… or should… that Football and Cricket are our sports.

      Many of us are supporters of various British teams. I mean real supporters. In fact, the other day in the supermarket I was in a deep conversation with a bagger about how Neymar has escaped the shadow of Messi, and trust me, I don’t think there was a person in the whole supermarket who didn’t know what I was talking about.

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