The Global Goggle Box

The internet brings us many things, many of which have been listed before and it should be said that most of the things are joyous and good, although some of them are nasty and bad. I really like the good things, the people, the ability to lose three hours and not realise it, and the way I can sculpt information to how I want it delivered and stored. I really don’t like the bad stuff like spam, viruses and the rampant globalised information.

I guess I should qualify that last one, huh.

Most of you know that the USA and the UK are connected. Physically by miles and miles of cables, geographically by an ocean, and socially by the ever increasing influence of American culture. Whilst I’m not blaming the internet for this shift in culture, not entirely at least, I do think it has to take its share of the blame. Of course it’s not all bad. Yes, there are some good things to come out of the US of A – Starbucks, McDonalds… ohh calm down, I’m kidding – I’m talking about the TV programmes.

There is a lot of good TV made in the UK, but most of the stuff I’ve enjoyed recently is one-off or short-run series, the natural history stuff that only Sir David can do (again, how WONDERFUL is Planet Earth!?), or quirky comedies. However, it seems that the USA is able to reliably produce good quality, long-run series and I’ll happily admit that I’m hooked on Grey’s Anatomy, House and 24. Admittedly my interest in Lost, Desperate Housewives, and The Sopranos has waned, and I never got into Six Feet Under or West Wing but they are, by all accounts, further good examples (and yes, I’m aware that we also receive some real dross from our American cousins. Swings and roundabouts).

For various reasons, none of which I’m au fait with but most of which I’d guess are due to monetary influences, we only receive these TV series after they have aired over in the States. Shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

And it’s not. The problems start when you stumble across a website only to have a plot twist thrust unexpectedly into your view. A plot twist that is months away in the UK schedules and which renders everything that lay before it pointless and misleading. My poor brain just can’t cope:

  • I click onto an American website/blog
  • A part of my brain instantly spots the text “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • Another part of my brain starts reading the surrounding text
  • The fast thinking part of my brain, which has now processed the fact that I’m reading about an upcoming plot twist, starts screaming at the reading part of my brain to STOP READING YOU IDIOT!!
  • The reading part of my brain pauses, glances around as if it’s heard something, then continues reading
  • Yet another part of my brain slowly awakens, stretches, grabs a cup of coffee and ambles over to the reading part of my brain, taps it on the shoulder and says “You shouldn’t be reading that mate”
  • The reading part of my brain stops reading, looks up and says “Ohh OK”
  • By which point the fast thinking part of my brain is a spluttering, gibbering wreck, rolling around my cranii interna

All of this takes place in about 1.4 seconds. I’m powerless to stop it (mainly because I can’t find where that damn coffee machine is plugged in).

Thing is, it’s completely ruining my TV watching and I’m beginning to get a bit pissed off. Yet I can see no solution. I don’t seek these websites out, and I spot these things on entertainment sites, gossip sites, blogs, every and any where.

It’s a bit like the eyes of a portrait following you around the room, except the eyes are a bomb inside a patient, and the room is a helicopter dropping Jack Bauer over a ‘target’ in downtown L.A.

Or something.

We can’t broadcast episodes at the same time because of the time difference, and even then the TV schedule in America lacks the formulaic rigidity of it’s UK counterpart, and that’s not to mention the mid-season breaks that crop up stateside. So what’s the answer?

Why our dear old friend the internet, of course!

Ohh I do love a good paradox, the very thing that is causing the problem offers the solution. Sort of.

For whilst it is possible to download episodes of your favourite TV series mere hours after they have been broadcast in the America, I’m not entirely sure it’s legal. It’s a worry, let me tell you.

Anyway, enough of this, I’m off to watch the next episode of 24… think I’m up to thirteen. It’s the one after the episode where Jack gets run over… ohh sorry…

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