For me, when I enter a meditative state, I’m reliving the best scenes on television from the previous week; be it the Red Coat Confrontation on Pretty Little Liars or Don Draper’s Hershey’s pitch. In a deeper, more restorative state, I tap into the classics: montages of the Vanilla Bear/Chocolate Bear bromance, or all the crazy faces Jim Halpert ever made.
It is tragic that as someone whose zen exists within the television universe, I have no control over it. In the land of syndicated television watching, my viewing preferences are never a consideration for those who ultimately decide the fate of the TV shows I love or loathe. That television executives haven’t caught up to newer viewing patterns among younger demographics and are continuously making terrible decisions is a lament as old as the internet itself. But what of the viewer who lives in the land of pirated TV watching? They bring no ad revenue to the production houses, so why would their opinions ever be considered valuable?
Television production in our part of the world differs greatly from the Western formula. Pakistani dramas are serialized and developed with a definite ending to the story, lasting about 3 to 4 months. The concept of long-drawn soap operas and series with multiple seasons was beyond my comprehension when I was first introduced to satellite television. (Not that it was my first time watching English shows – I had grown up on a steady diet of Star Trek, Fawlty Towers, The A-Team & Mind Your Language – but I was new to the awareness of production patterns and systems.)
My first true TV heartbreak came with the 2002 series John Doe. When the first season ended with a mind-blowing cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Would John finally see in color? Would he ever find out that it was Digger (his best friend) who was betraying him? Would members of the Phoenix continue to communicate via sign language to avoid surveillance (a concept I loved) or would they develop their own secret language next? Unfortunately, John Doe never got picked up for a second season and none of my questions were answered (at least until I had my very own Closure Alternative moment).
The despair that ensued didn’t taint my viewing patterns, but it did alert me to my lack of control over programming (as well as bringing to my attention that there were actual people who had this coveted control).
So while Buffy, Angel, Dawson’s Creek, Roswell, Gilmore Girls, Boston Public and Charmed were being broadcast elsewhere, and internet continued to be terribly slow & unreliable in the third world, I remained blissfully unaware of Television Programming Cancellation Travesties (TPCTs) being committed by The Powers That Be (TPTB). My viewing habits finally changed around the time Lost happened. The advent of Limewire coupled with faster internet speed meant that I was no longer limited by the scheduling and monetary constraints of the locally available English channels.