I have a confession to make. I’ve never seen an episode of Game Of Thrones or The Walking Dead. I know, I know. They’re both critically acclaimed shows with massive, loyal (and obsessive) followings. On Sundays, I feel like I’m watching with everyone else between all the commentary, memes, GIFS, and debate taking place on my social media timelines. Apparently, something pretty crazy happened on The Walking Dead last week because people were ANGRY. I’d love to join the ranks of fun-loving, rabid fans that practically salivate over these shows. But it’s an issue of TV priority. I don’t want to cheat on the shows that I love dearly. And because of this, there just isn’t enough time.
Don’t you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to watch all the shows you like? Or to check out all the new shows that everyone is somehow finding time to rave about and post about on Facebook? It seems like every show has a 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating. So not only are there a ton of new shows to watch, but they’re also all amazing. I feel pressured to support them just so I can be a part of the conversation. But no matter how hard I try, I fail. With the seemingly millions of cable channels that we have plus Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and various other websites that produce video content, there just isn’t enough viewing time in one day to split between all these attention whores. And I wish there was.
According to a January article in The Hollywood Reporter, 1,415 primetime series aired last year. What?! Holy FOMO! How am I supposed to find time to watch over 1400 shows? No wonder I don’t have time to watch anything. My plate’s pretty full with 8 weekly shows, and that’s pushing it. Plus, I have to keep a to do list just to manage that as there’s most certainly not enough brain space to remember to watch my primary 8.
The official name for this period of hyper productive TV output is called Peak TV. Streaming networks have created new audiences and new ways to view content. They also provide writers, directors, and producers with creative liberties they’d never have at major networks. And because viewers have so much choice, it seems not a single day passes without the announcement of a new series.
I can’t help but wonder when the negative impact will kick in. Industry insiders speculate that Peak TV will take a downturn in 2017. Maybe then our choices will be whittled down to 1,279 instead of 1,415.
For me, it almost gives me anxiety. I love TV. Especially really great TV. But sometimes it feels that there’s so much, I’d rather watch nothing than deal with the mental madness involved in selecting a show. Could all of this television output steer us in the opposite direction? Could Peak TV inadvertently take us to Black TV (like no TV, not African-American TV)? We’ll see.
One thing’s for sure. I never thought I’d say this, but we need less options. I love being a part of a generation that likes to curate everything. But sometimes I just want a network exec to tell me what to watch. Is that such a bad thing?