Question of the week: are there shows you feel you’re missing out on?

In this day and age, it’s very easy to catch up on shows that you’ve missed – at least you’d think so, given iTunes, the iPlayer, Hulu, DVDs, re-runs, et al. Yet often as not, when faced with the prospect of six hours or 13 hours or even 24 hours to catch up with a season’s worth of TV episodes – let alone two or more seasons – that task becomes impossible.

Now, despite the best intentions of the Carusometer, sometimes shows get passed me. I hear Sons of Anarchy is very good, even though I never got further than the first episode. Jimmy McGovern’s Accused is getting lots of press coverage – even though I didn’t notice it was on – Terriers apparently got good several episodes in and Hawaii Five-0 seems to have a certain buzz, despite it being daft as hell. I’m beginning to regret not watching them and being out of the conversational loop.

So this week’s question is:

Are there any shows you haven’t been watching that you wish you had, but still can’t find the time to watch anyway? Why do you want to watch them – and why can’t you?

As always, leave a comment with your answer or a link to your answer on your own blog

  • jesse

    TBH nowadays you can never miss out on anything, it doesn’t cease to exist after it’s shown. I think it’s best now to wait till the end of the first series, to find out first if it’s any good and secondly if it’ll get renewed. It’s also fine to bale out half way through a series, knowing that if it picks up, you can quickly catch up.
    There is so much dross nowadays hyped up as the next big thing (flash forward, the event to name a few). If i’d known how bad lost would turn out I would never have watched it at all, but they kept on promising answers. Possibly lost ruined it, as i’m now very cynical about big story arcs.

  • Oh heaps and heaps. I never have time to catch up on anything, and I find the stamina required for watching long American shows means I usually bail out well before the end, even if I am enjoying it. So saw the first series of both Dexter &True Blood but have seen nothing else, still haven’t got round to watching The Wire/Sopranos, though I have both on DVD, have dipped in and out of Mad Men but not really got into it, & haven’t yet caught up with Misfits.
    Currently on the recorder to watch are Single Father, something with Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson whose name I’ve forgotten, the first two episodes of the Accused (caught the end of episode 3 last night and Peter Capaldi and Juliet Stevenson made me weep so will try and watch these) & several other things which I can’t even remember.
    When I’ve finished my book I shall try and have sneaky catch up sessions when the kids are at school (they do take over the tv in the early evenings now.Sigh)

  • I’ve heard ‘Terriers’ got better, but I already thought it was a good show when I saw the first episode. I had to drop it though because I’m just burnt out on any more arc storylines; I’d much rather have good old fashioned episodic TV.
    The Toobworld Concept mania of mine cuts into a lot of my TV watching – if it’s not the main TV world, I don’t feel much like watching it. (Current exception – ‘Human Target’) So I realize after seeing only the pilot, I may be missing out on some good stuff with ‘The Walking Dead’.
    ‘Sons of Anarchy’ I always make sure I watch the season finale, and usually pretty much can figure out what’s going on. I felt guilty about dropped ‘Justified’, but I thought it was kind of boring.
    Such a list I have! Most of ‘Frasier’ (back then it was just tough to record the VCR on Tuesday nights as I was going home to Ct. on Wednesday mornings. By the time I got back….), ‘Deadwood’, ‘Rome’ (at least I own that), ‘The Wire’ (Ditto), and ‘Stargate Universe’.
    But considering the amount of shows I do watch, I think I’m doing the best I can….
    But one thing I have no control over – I saw so many interesting scenes from BBC shows in last winter’s promo (with the Mumford and Sons music) that will probably never make their way over here. I’d at least like the chance to watch them……

  • Mark Carroll

    The main things I can think of that I wish I were getting to see are “This Is Not My Life”, “Being Erica”, and “Misfits”, all of which receive praise, but none of which have yet appeared in the US as far as I know. Patience will win out.

  • SK

    I can’t think of any right at the moment. Oh no wait — the fourth series of Chuck. I may catch up on that on TV, if it doesn’t come to free-to-air TV after its run on Living, though.
    But there certainly are programmes that I have in the past missed. It tends to be because I miss the start of something, and I am very reluctant to pick it up halfway through. So if it’s an America series with their ridiculous schedule, very soon there can be twenty to fifty hours of stuff I’d have to wade through before I can watch the ones airing at the minute, and who has time for that?
    So I missed The Sopranos because I missed the fist series, and while technically I suppose I could watch it on DVD, that’s nearly sixty hours, and when am I going to do that? In practical terms I will never catch up.
    It’s not just American series — the same thing happened with Peep Show — but at least if there’s only six episodes in a series I can catch up (as I’m doing with Peep Show: currently halfway through series five, hoping to catch up in time to watch the last episode of series seven live!).
    One thing that does interest me though is that you mention ‘being out of the conversational loop’ — I picked up on that in the discussion of series lengths as well, because you said you weren’t interested in programmes with shorter runs because there wouldn’t be as much internet discussion. Does that matter? Is watching good TV not its own reward? I mean, I love the idea of the Quatermass / Edge of Darkness ‘event TV’, where everybody in the country is united by watching the same thing (as in previous days they might have been united in waiting to see what hilarity could top the death of Little Nell), but if I placed too high a weight on the internet buzz I wouldn’t have watched, say, The Sandbaggers and my life would be the poorer for it.
    (And I wouldn’t have started on The Sandbaggers if it had had more than three series, of if the series had had more than seven episodes, and I still haven’t had time to finish watching them all).

  • “The main things I can think of that I wish I were getting to see are “This Is Not My Life”, “Being Erica”, and “Misfits”, all of which receive praise, but none of which have yet appeared in the US as far as I know.”
    I know the first season of ‘Being Erica’ made it down here, Mark. But I only made it through a few of those and was just bored.
    A friend of mine in Taiwan loved “This Is Not My Life” which I recommended to him after reading about it (I think here) because we’re both fans of the original “The Prisoner”. But he got that via the usual non-approved means, which I don’t do. (Mainly because I’m a techno-dork who doesn’t know what he’s doing most times.)
    He also loved the multi-dimensional “Charlie Jade”, again on my recommendation, but I bailed after two episodes. That’s one I wish I was able to enjoy because I felt like it was more a problem with me that I didn’t. LOL

  • Mark Carroll

    The Sandbaggers — ooh, I’d not noticed that before, thank you, it’s now on the Netflix list.

  • Mark Carroll

    I suppose it would help if I actually got SOAPnet!
    “Charlie Jade” is something else I’d been unaware of, thank you. It looks … interesting. Added to the list, at least of things I plan to watch on DVD if/when it’s actually so-available here in the US.

  • bob

    It’s out on dvd in region 2 and I wouldn’t hold your breath for it to be on dvd in region 1. It’s a few years old now so if they were going to do it, I’d imagine it would be done already.
    I love it though and recommend it highly. The first episode is not great so I can see why Toby ditched it (and the density of the story means it’s better to “marathon” than watch one episode a week).
    I feel like I missed out on Sopranos too. And 24. But currently, though I am behind on several shows that are currently airing, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything. The lack of buzz surrounding any show this autumn (besides Fringe, Community and Misfits I guess, all of which I am up-to-date on) really means I can watch things at my own pace.
    Oh- wait, that’s not true… I hear that Vampire Dairies became awesome. But I bailed after the first episode. And maybe I shouldn’t have.

  • Fringe: still really thinking I should get the boxsets. Otherwise: meh. thre is SO much TV and life is too short. I have too many unwatched things already (and too much of a tendency to slip into comfort viewing).
    Nothing ever dies (except when it sort-of does, or you aren’t prepared to illegally obtain) but sometimes you can’t do everything.
    PS still haven’t watched any episodes of Mad Men. This may at some point lose me a lot of ‘friends’, mostly because I don’t care enough to plough through the series after all this time.

  • MediumRob

    @jesse: I know what you mean, but I can never find the time to catch up at the end of the series. Hell, if it’s something like The Silence (stripped over five nights), if I miss the first episode, chances are I’m never going to see the rest of it.
    @Jane henry: the latest season of Dexter is the best so far. Catch it when it comes to the UK!
    @Toby: The Walking Dead has been pretty good and is only six episodes so you might be able to catch up
    @mark: Being Erica is on SoapNet and season three starts in January on that network. The Sandbaggers is of course awesome, as this blog has maintained for years.
    @SK: I pity the person who doesn’t have time to catch up with Callan (1st season: 6 eps; 2nd season: 15 eps; 3rd season: 9 eps; 4th season: 13 eps) or I, Claudius (13 episodes) 😉
    @bob: Vampire Diaries episode 1 was enough to make me dump it too. Don’t think there’s much chance I will ever change my mind on that one.
    @rullsenberg: Mad Men is awesome, but not so awesome that you need to go back and watch it now.

  • SK

    I watched the first three or four episodes of Charlie Jade when it was on Virgin on-demand and that was free, but I thought that while an interesting premise, the actual series was rather vague, bland and unfocussed, without much idea what it was about, so I stopped.
    I have since heard that apparently after about nine episodes they fired their entire writing staff and replaced the, and from that point on it is really good (though source for this is the dubious-tasted Jon Blum, who liked Journey’s End).
    The Vampire Diaries (currently airing ITV2 episodes, which is I think series two) is the most cheesy thing in the world ever. I mean seriously. It’s the nearest I imagine Americans get to pantomime.

  • bob

    SK, I liked both sets of writers. They had a better focus than the first lot, true. But for me, the start of a show doesn’t need a focus. It’s fine to just spend a while exploring things, build up the mystery, leaving the threads to get tied up later. (As long as they do get tied up and I think Charlie Jade got a much better balance of open-mystery/solved-mystery than Lost, say).
    Rob: “@Jane henry: the latest season of Dexter is the best so far. Catch it when it comes to the UK!”
    So glad to hear you say that. I am tired of hearing “season 4 was the best” everywhere. I am adoring this latest season. Season 4 was brilliant but relied heavily on the talent of John Lithgow rather than doing very much with Dexter.

  • SK

    My main problem was that in episodes two and three, nothing — basically — happens. We don’t learn anything that we didn’t already know in episode one about Charlie or any other character; Charlie just wanders around being confused about a mystery to which the viewers already know the answer, which is very boring. And 01 Boxer just wanders about knowing the answers and being all serial killery. No themes are explored, there’s no sense of it being about anything beyond just ‘stuff happens in this world’ — I mean, from the first episode, it looked like the ‘three worlds’ thing was going to be a post-colonial metaphor for the exploitation of the third world, which, you know, if a fine and reasonable thing to make a TV programme about — but for the next two or three episodes (and for all I knew the next ten) absolutely nothing is done to explore that idea. Or any other idea that’s about anything of wider significance to the world or the human condition.
    And why am I going to waste time watching something that’s just ‘a bunch of people do stuff in a sci-fi world’, unless it’s funny?

  • I regret not sticking with Terriers, because everyone does say it’s gotten much better. Like you, I also regret not sticking with Sons of Anarchy–but those first several episodes were deadly dull! Sticking with Nikita has been rewarding because the show has proven to be much better than the pilot would have suggested… but I don’t know if it’s become better enough that I’d recommend going back and watching it on DVD if you DIDN’T stick with it to begin with!

  • David

    @Jane, the Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson show is called “The Song of Lunch”. If I may say so, a most brilliant one-off.
    @Mark, @Toby, yeah, “This Is Not My Life” was an excellent series. As it was produced in NZ, it was great seeing something of that sort of quality from a non-American outlet. But, yes, it is only obtainable by non-approved means, but certainly worth it (in my opinion).
    To date, well, I have to confess that I’ve still got “Lark Rise to Candleford” and “Survivors” (the original and new incarnation) episodes queued up which I still have to (and want to) watch. But, I’ve got to confess, that American TV, for all it’s output, just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’ve got to have a ‘foreign’ twist (or, at least, a non-American accent) to them. For example, the Australian shows, “Offspring” and “The Librarians” have tickled my funny bone, but both are, largely, just your standard sitcom. And am looking forward to English-subtitled episodes of “Engrenages” (“Spiral”) (that’s a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”, Rob, if you’ve got anymore news about if or when the BBC will be doing this). So, for all of the shows mentioned above, for me they’re just, meh.

  • Mark Carroll

    “Engrenages” — good point. Consider that to be on my list too! Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ah David, thank you. I have it on my backpile of recorded tv to watch!
    Rob, if YOU say Dexter series 5 the best then I must watch it!! Don’t know when though…

  • MediumRob

    @David: still no news from the BBC about Engrenages. Wouldn’t surprise me if Janice Hadlow at BBC2 was busily trying to prize it out of the hands of BBC4, now she’s moved, given she’s already commandeered Charlie Brooker.
    @jane: It is awesome. Actually better than the first season. I’m waiting to be disappointed by the finale though.