Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Resisting The Sky Atlantic Siren Calls

With flat screen TV, 3D TV, two Sky Plus  HD boxes, Apple TV and a home cinema set up, you could say that I like TV. And with a son and daughter in law working in the industry, I have to. So why, on the launch of the new Sky Atlantic channel today, am I less than enthusiastic.

Being a liberal Guardian reading pseudo intellectual I should be overjoyed at the launch as , after all, it is going to be showing everything that is good about US television with the much hyped and highly praised Boardwalk Empire - the first episode directed by non other than Martin Scorcese - kicking things off. And yes, being a film lover, the channel has massive appeal. And that's the problem. It's just too bloody much. Over the next few weeks Sky is bombarding us with all those series that we intended to buy in box sets but didn't get round to. There's going to be God knows how many series of The Sopranos, all of Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Six Feet Under. With each episode of these shows running to forty minutes (if you fast forward through the adverts) that accounts for a huge slice of life.

My son Paul lost a whole ten hours in the last couple of days watching series one of The Wire. It was as good as everyone told him and that's why I won't watch it. I simply don't want to get hooked on yet another commitment. There are so many channels now and so many outstanding series that it's impossible to watch them all. And the more they churn out, the more you fall behind. At least with a good film it's a couple of hours and that's it but with all this HBO stuff it's like a crack addiction as episode follows episode and series follows series. I've got Josephine's excellent Perfection to watch every week day and soon I'll have another series of Paul's A League Of Their Own. I've gone and got myself hooked on BBC 4's Danish import The Killing (twenty episodes) so that's all that I can handle.

So all that time that I save by not watching Sky Atlantic I can spend reading (and writing). When I wrote on here recently that I loved Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes, two blog readers (yes they do exist) wrote to me and suggested that  I try Never Let Me Go. There was a trailer for the film at VUE last week so I thought that I had better take their advice and read it now. I've almost finished and it certainly lives up to their recommendations. I will be interested to see how it converts to the screen. This week we're off to see Blue Valentine at FACT in Liverpool for Orange Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it.

Another thing that will cut back available TV viewing hours is the impending arrival of our first grandchild expected in July. This is the sort of thing that we can look forward to - a lovely little film of a baby's first word.