Save it

Suppose I should have a section heading, “Items I should save for horoscopes,” but I doubt that will happen. And I don’t do this too much, but there are times when I notice stuff.

Cable TV provides a myriad of channels and bewildering array of choices for entertainment. I’m kind of not into the entertainment side, as a good movie should be seen in a theater, although there aren’t so many movies anymore that are good, and then, the TV should be saved for important material like fishing shows – fish porn to some of us – and the likes of the history channel and National Geographic specials. I was impressed when I found that there’s a whole channel, two, more or less, that target me thusly. National Geographic Channel and the History Channel. Comes with the internet service package.

What are you going to do? Never mind, that was rhetorical.

After watching a couple of the National Geographic specials, though, there was a familiar pang, like childhood was sending me a message.

The format is predictable. Four fifteen-minute sections, I’ll guess a little less than 15 minutes, but not by much. The problem being, the first section? Hypothesis, facts, some visual evidence, a panorama, and then cuts to a “word from our sponsor.” That means advertising, but they don’t call it that.

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That was only a partial observation. Each if the four segments is precisely timed and choreographed. The problem being, I recall this from watching these same specials, in my childhood. Nothing’s changed. Hence a problem. First segment is introduction and question, then information about what will be covered after the sponsor’s ad. The second segment recaps the first segment’s material before moving on to new stuff. Perish the thought that a viewer could retain the information after the break. The recap is what bothers me. Too long, too much stuff, not necessary. It’s too pedantic, too pedestrian. While that works as a method for my afternoon, pedestrian and pedantic travails, on TV? Let’s move this along. Faster.

Or the problem could be, as much as I like history and nature and learning new stuff, it’s just not covering the material with any depth, hence the shortness of the material. I think it’s kind of telling that the last couple of shows I watched had long disclaimers and copyright notices about only being able to save this show until 2010, and only for classroom use. Those programs seemed to move faster, and they were entertaining, at, like, a grade school level.

The format is upsetting, to me. Same style used years ago, idea, support, then break, then recap, then one new idea, then break again, then recap the recap, recap the second point, and maybe show something new. Or not.

Maybe I just have a short attention span. Or educational TV is boring.

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