I’m seriously considering something that I can’t believe I’m considering at all: cutting my cable television service.
My parents first got cable television some time around 1979. Back in those days, there were only about 20 or 30 channels total, but that in itself was a great improvement over the four we’d had before that. Back then, HBO wasn’t a 24-hour channel; they came on around 5:00pm and broadcast movies until 6:00am or so, then signed off for the day.
Ever since then, we’ve had cable. I’ve never lived anywhere on my own without, and never considered trying to do without. Until now.
For one thing, like my dad, I spend far too much time in front of the television. Unlike my dad, I do not do this while complaining about how worthless television actually is. I happen to enjoy television…when there’s something on worth enjoying. My dad will sit through things he doesn’t like, then complain about how there’s nothing on. (I’ve never quite understood that.)
But there is less and less worth watching on all of those cable channels. My favorite channels — outside of the local ones — are TV Land, GSN and TruTV.
On TV Land, I like the classic shows, like The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, All in the Family and Sanford & Son. Unfortunately, TV Land keeps adding a lot of reality crap and movies to their lineup, and I’ve just read that they’re planning more of the same. If the channel is supposed to be all about nostalgia TV, then show me classic television shows!
On GSN, I like the classics there, too, especially the Gene Rayburn version of Match Game from the 1970s and the original What’s My Line? from the 1950s and 1960s. Unfortunately, GSN added a lot of interactive and original crap that never measured up to the quality of the old favorites. And I heard they were bringing back a block of Chuck Barris shows like The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game, which I never liked to begin with. Then, my cable provider, Comcast, decided to play dirty and suddenly move GSN to the digital tier, which means I’d have to pay more for it. I pay Comcast quite enough as it is, thank you, so I’ve been without GSN for a while now. Somehow, I’ve survived.
TruTV, which used to be CourtTV, carries a few cool shows like Forensic Files. I don’t care for the Most Shocking or Most Daring video shows, but the CSI: fan in me does enjoy the Forensic Files-type shows. But I can watch CSI: and still get that kind of content, even if it’s more fiction than fact.
Sci-Fi Channel used to be a favorite, but I don’t care for most of the sci-fi they run nowadays. And History Channel used to be a favorite, too, but I honestly haven’t tuned in there in months.
Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics are great channels; I just watched Adam’s Rib on one of them the other day. But I can always pull out an old Hitchcock film if I’m wanting a classic.
I’d like to take that nearly $60 a month and pay other bills with it. And I’d like to put the time I’d spend searching for something to watch to better use, like more reading, more writing, and some Bible study that my friend Archie has inspired me to do more of.
I still love television, and I think I’ll always be hooked. But some things are more important than TV. (And yes, it’s really me saying that!)
If Comcast would let me cherry-pick five channels and charge me just $10 over the “local reception” package, it would be worth it. But short of that, I think I’ll drop down to the few-dollars-a-month local reception and just see how it goes.
So tell me this: Are there even 10 non-local channels that you watch regularly? Are there any that you think you couldn’t live without?