There was a time when it bothered me to learn that I no longer was conversant with the cutting edge of popular culture. A little over a decade ago, while I was in law school and she was in graduate school, my wife, Susan, and I rented and watched, over the course of four successive weekends, "Dead Man Walking," "Pulp Fiction," "Seven," and "The Usual Suspects." At that time, it simply was not possible to take part in a conversation about popular culture without having seen those four films and, at that time, I simply could not countenance being unable to participate intelligently in such conversations.
That was then, this is now. Today, I am sufficiently self-aware that I mock myself for the fact that my pop-culture references stop at 1988. Today, I accept the reality that I am permanently behind the curve.
It also doesn't help matters that by far the hottest doctor on the show has left to do a spinoff.
At this point in my life, I know I am not going to be a participant in the proverbial "water cooler conversation" about last night's episode of this or that show. I want my T.V. time to be well spent, so I am increasingly disinclined to take my chances with what, more often than not, will be shows that turn out to be typical of the "vast wasteland" . . . which is to say, they will turn out to be bad.
Instead, I buy D.V.D. boxed sets of whole seasons of shows well after the fact and we watch them at our leisure well past the expiration dates of their buzzworthiness. That's how Susan and I saw "Six Feet Under," season by season, one disc at a time. It's how we're watching "Arrested Development" right now.
We're about to finish the doomed Fox situation comedy and we are mulling over what to watch next. I have some ideas, but we're not completely sold on anything at this point. Basically, we're looking for a T.V. show we haven't yet seen for which at least the first season is available on D.V.D. right this very moment.
Your recommendations are welcome in the comments below.