Monday, February 22, 2010

The Campsie Theater lately

Lucy and I are real lucky. For so many reasons, of course, but here I'm talking about our upstairs TV-type room. For better or worse, we follow the model of my beloved "grandparents" (quote marks because they weren't actually relatives but the were my grandparents) Gay and Denny, who had TV trays and watched TV with dinner.

We don't have the trays, but I wouldn't rule it out. What ever happened to TV trays, anyway? Seems like they would be more popular than ever.

Anyway, we've been in the midst of a digital transition upstairs — somewhere along the way, we got the idea that a new TV was enticing. We both resisted. Lucy's old 19" idiot box had been serving her — and then us — well for about 15 years and was going strong. And we were both, on some level morally opposed to replacing a working piece of technology just out of some consumer yearning.

But the yearning grew. Especially after I realized that we could make the transition using my credit card points and not spend a dime on the new idiot box. So we did it, and I bought my first TV since I bought my first TV, stepping up to this.

And it. is. Awesome. I won't go into the TV itself, but rather the ancillary benefits: We gifted the old TV and all the cables and boxes and remotes and stuff to a grateful friend who was in search of a 2nd TV for her kids. And that was super cool. We migrated away from really anything extra because of this amazing thing. And now we watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it. And some of it is just the most amazing trip down memory lane, only in beautiful 720p.

Highlights at this point:
  • Baraka — a cousin of Koyaanisqaatsi, it's an arresting un-narrated trip around the world to holy lands and spiritual people. Restored and rejiggered for modern TVs. OMG.
  • Brazil — a close second is the restored version of Terry Gilliam's Orwellian masterwork. Brazil is so many things — tragic, disturbing, hilarious — and also beautiful.
  • The Prisoner — AMC's recent remake of the 60s classic is perfectly disturbing at high resolution, particularly due to the constant-surveillance aspect of it.
  • Mad Men — the most beautiful show on TV just got prettier.
  • Lost — the most addictive — and annoying — show on TV ain't so bad in HD either — if only as a 44 minute tropical vacation — only with time travel and shit.
TV: I don't really need to watch any more of it, is the simple fact. I can always "rank myself," and say "well, I don't watch nearly as much as most people," but I realize that's a slippery slope. As it stands, I guess it's nice to be able to curate ALL our TV viewing and watch exactly what we want to watch.

In short, we don't tend to watch TV, but neither of us are opposed to watching the TV. Because damn it's purdy.

And a final note: Handpicking programming is great because we can entirely avoid the shit-ton of crap that's out there. Sometimes, though, I'll hear somebody's endorsement of something that I assumed would suck and I am proven pretty wrong. A couple of surprises, lately:
  • Tropic Thunder — Hilarious, though I confess to always loving a good lampooning of Hollywood types. It looks terrible, from the poster. It is NOT terrible. It's a genius stroke of self-deprecation.
  • Glee — I can't believe I watched the first episode of Glee last night. Lucy wanted it, and so I fetched it for her. I did a skim of it and decided that it looked truly odious, like a revival of Fame. In fact, the first episode was mesmerizing. More like a sadistic cross between Fame and Freaks & Geeks, neither of which I've really seen. I don't know if Glee can keep it up, honestly, but I can't believe how much I like the first episode. Savage, funny, charmingly ridiculous, touching — full of interesting characters and great actors, working with a high-quality script.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I like the distinction between watching TV and watching *the* TV. We do a lot of the latter via my deep horde of "borrowed" content and Plex on an old mac mini. Makes a great media center:

http://www.plexapp.com/

Combine it with Handbrake and a netflix account, and you'll soon be a one-man-video-on-demand-man.

\Scott