Friday, December 01, 2006

The adventures of birthday TV

Everyone, meet Big TV.

Big TV, meet everyone.

My birthday was Thursday, and in addition to turning 26, I bit the bullet (with Libby's help of course) and bought Big TV. Ostensibly, this is to make the viewing experience of various things more pleasurable (as Libby put it to the guy who sold us Big TV, "If we're going to watch all that crap, it might as well look nice").

Big TV doesn't quite look like that. It's a slightly different shade of grey and not QUITE that big (it's 52", not 62"). What's more, we bought it used, so it has its quirks and peculiarities (I also assure you that we bought it used so you not think us rich, because, believe me, we're not). But it is very big. When watching it, I'm tempted to call even Jericho the finest show in the history of history.

That's the thing. We haven't even hooked up HD yet (it's actually doubtful that we can even do this in our apartment complex, which contracted with some bizarre subset of DirecTV that offers everything DirecTV offers expect DVR and HD -- no real explanation offered), but the whole thing is rather mindblowing. If your production has good production values, it's easy to just write the whole thing off as being fantastic, simply because TV has never looked quite THIS good. I've become three times the fan of Heroes that I ever was just because it's so fun to watch on the wide screen.

You can see where this is dangerous for those with a critical eye.

We're not used to seeing TV look this nice. Even the big hits had a kind of chintzy look back in the day. Sure, dramas of the '90s took a big leap forward in having a sort of cinematic value (as well as the occasional sitcom with a big budget -- Cheers, for instance), but because of those of us with big TVs, the networks are investing in making their shows look more and more handsome -- you should see the vistas on Lost.

The networks are sort of chasing a false dream here, I fear. After all, even 1 Vs. 100 looks pretty good on Big TV, and that costs far less than Lost. Eventually, the rising price of looking good on big TVs is going to make truly big dramas prohibitively expensive for anyone but the big boys, I'm afraid (especially as more and more networks chase that audience -- the quality drama glut of '06 is nothing compared to what's going to happen when literally every cable channel unleashes a new drama pilot next year or in 2008). Meanwhile I, the Big TV enabled viewer, am going to demand more and more bang for my buck.

I don't know what all of this is going to mean. But I do know that every night before I go to bed, I give Big TV a hug and a kiss.

Just to make sure it knows it's loved.

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