Stay Current with All the Latest and Greatest TV Shows
Edited by Jasmin, Eng, Alma
We are living in the age of Peak TV. Higher production budgets, enhanced focus on long-term storytelling and deeper character development, and a greater degree of respect for the medium are just a few reasons we're constantly blessed with increasingly better television shows. All of this greatness comes with a major drawback, though; it's becoming harder and harder to keep up with all the shows you love and to decide what new shows are worth a spot in your rotation. Even professional TV critics are beginning to lament the fact that they aren't able to watch and review every series, so how is someone with a full-time job, kids, etc., expected to keep up? Well, at the end of the day, there is only so much TV any one person can realistically consume.
So, let's explore a few options to help you stay on track and keep your TV viewing habits manageable.
You Need to Choose What You Are Going to Watch
- 1Look at your existing lineup of shows and honestly ask, what could be reasonably cut? I know, I know, that's a rough ask, but there's no room for filler here! Perhaps you've been holding out hope that a series you once loved will finally get good again? Forget about it for now; if the quality changes you'll likely hear about it and then you can hop back on board. Remember, your time is precious and you deserve only the best TV. Example: Last fall I finally let go of both Quantico and Once Upon a Time, and I dedicated those extra two hours a week to content I had on the back burner.Step one might be the hardest, so brace yourself.
- 2While it can be exciting to try something new with no prior knowledge, knowing even some small details about a show can help you determine whether or not it's worth your time. If anything, you'll at least be able to separate the shows you want to watch right away, from the ones you're fine with saving for a later date.As for adding new shows into your schedule, start by watching trailers first.
- 3It's their job to watch all the TV, so you don't have to. Oftentimes they're given more than just the first episode to pre-screen, so they'll have a better idea about how a show is shaping up because not all pilots are a good measure for the season to come. You may need to spend a bit of time finding critics or websites whose opinions you can trust, and ones that have similar tastes to your own, but once you do, you can save a ton of time by reading what they thought of the 18 million shows premiering every day, and using that to choose your lineup accordingly. Some of my favorites include:Check out what the critics are saying.
- Maureen Ryan
- Emily Nussbaum
- Alan Sepinwall
- Angelica Jade Bastién
- The entire team at Project Fandom
- 4OK, this might sound like putting more on your plate when you're trying to clear space for TV, but trust me. Podcasts that cover television are getting more popular by the minute, and you can use these 'casts to your advantage in a couple of different ways. First off, if you don't have time to read reviews you can listen to them instead. Some podcasts focus just on pilots, where you'll get a pretty in-depth exploration of those single episodes. Or, you can look for those that do weekly roundups of all things TV and get a little bit of knowledge on a lot of new stuff. Secondly, maybe there's a show you want to keep up with but not necessarily watch; well there are a ton of podcasts that offer weekly coverage on a multitude of shows. If you haven't tried this it might seem crazy, but once you find hosts you like listening to, their coverage can sometimes be more enjoyable than the actual show. Recommendations: For a wide variety of content coverage, check out The Watch Podcast and The Vulture Tv Podcast. For episode based coverage, check out Bald Move and Podcast Fandom.Listen to podcasts.
Optimize Your Viewing Time by Deciding When, Where, and How You Will Watch
- 1Depending on your schedule, that could mean one show per night, four shows per week, etc. These should be the shows you just can't wait to watch, the ones you want to talk with people about right away. Use your DVR to record everything else, or keep the episodes unchecked in your TV calendar of choice (more on that to come) so you know to go back to them at a later date. Keeping what's known as Appointment Viewing to a minimum does two things: reduces that pesky FOMO (fear of missing out) and allows you more freedom and flexibility in your TV watching schedule. Example: The Leftovers, Westworld, and Orphan Black are shows I will always watch live. There's always something exciting happening and it's nearly impossible to avoid spoilers for them the following day.Pick only a certain amount of shows to watch live.
- 2Sundays (or whichever day of the week happens to be your off day) are a good choice if you're planning ahead. Otherwise, rainy, snowy, or super cold weekends, in particular, are a great time to cozy up on the couch and get caught up. You might want to prioritize Netflix or other streaming service's series since they're typically all available at once. Or, maybe it's time to see just how many episodes you have piled up on your DVR. Either way, lazy days off, and bad weather especially, give you the excuse you've been looking for to spend the day with your favorite characters, both new and old.If you can, set aside some time for binge watching.
- 3These are the shows that deserve your attention but don't need your eyes glued to the screen for the entire episode. Sitcoms, procedurals, and soapy dramas are perfect for this. While you watch, you can be doing a number of activities like folding laundry, paying bills, cooking dinner, reading emails, etc. And, since you can now watch at least some form of TV on almost any device, why not take it with you? Save your multitasking shows for while you're exercising (it's the perfect incentive) or commuting by public transit. Example: I sort through my email inbox while catching up on Facebook and emails, and I love to cook while watching a Netflix series.Make a list of shows you can multitask to.
Let Technology be Your Guide
- 1Part of what makes it so difficult to stay on track with all the shows, specifically new ones, is not just remembering when they air, but knowing what channel or streaming services they can be found on. You can always use the software available on your laptop, phone, or other devices, but setting that up takes a lot of legwork. Luckily, there's a great website called Episode Calendar, which makes scheduling a breeze. All you need to do is add shows to your profile and set your location and time zone, then sit back and watch your TV calendar populate! When you view a particular show's profile, you'll see what time it airs, and where you can watch it. You can also check off individual episodes you've already seen, so knowing what you need to catch up on has never been simpler. In addition to all that, they offer daily or weekly emails, to notify you of all the episodes coming up. Check out their Guest Calendar first to get a taste of what they offer.Create a TV Calendar.
While for many of us, the idea of watching TV all day, every day, would be a dream come true, it's simply not practical. Fortunately, making time to enjoy visual storytelling is entirely possible and, with the right tools, it can be virtually effortless. Remember, your TV schedule shouldn't be stressing you out. Escaping into your favorite fictional worlds should be a fun part of your day. Don't worry about watching what everyone else is watching, find what you love and enjoy it for you.
If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.