How we did TV in the 90’s

‘Have you seen Westworld?’

‘Only the first two episodes, don’t tell me what happens! What about Black Mirror, do you watch that?’

‘Nah, is that the one with Winona Ryder in it?

‘No. That’s Stranger Things.’

And so went the discussion with my mates in the band last night while we were setting up for a rehearsal. All avid viewers of TV series’, sadly unable to find any common ground.

It wasn’t like this in the 90’s. I’m comfortable enough in my own skin these days to admit that I used to be a Dawson’s Creek tragic. My mate Dhugal and I watched it every week. He was a Pacey man, I, Dawson. When indoor soccer finished, we raced straight home to watch the next chapter of their broody love triangle with Joey Potter. In the week that followed we’d argue about which of Pacey or Dawson had more to offer her. (I was pretty devastated when she chose to spend a summer on a yacht with Pacey).

I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be over. I want to know, right now, what will it be?

Dawson’s Creek was our secret shame but others proudly gathered in groups on a weekly basis to watch their favourite TV shows; Melrose Place, Buffy, Ally McBeal, the list went on… It was social. It was fun, an excuse to catch up every week (especially in the case of Ally McBeal). A series run could last months. No one skipped ahead. Everyone talked about it at work (or at half time at indoor soccer as the case may be).

These types of arrangements rarely exist today though. Too much self control is required, the temptation to skip ahead is too great. Remember the episode of LOST where they discover the hatch? Imagine if you didn’t have to wait six months to find out what was inside (a French guy pushing a button as it turned out). Nobody is going to choose to endure that amount of uncertainty voluntarily.

Yes, there is enough hindsight now to safely say that the perks of ‘on demand’ viewing far outweigh network programming (and frankly with the improved standard of TV series today, I’m not sure anyone would wait a week anymore to watch Dawson’s Creek or Ally McBeal anyway) but I do miss the idea of everyone watching TV shows at the same moment in time. These days, even when one of my friends has watched the same TV show, they watched it 12 months earlier and can’t remember it in any detail.

What 90’s TV show did you religiously watch with a friend? Leave a comment below…

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