Now that the writers have hung up their pickets just in time to enjoy Valentine's Day (well, I guess nothing's final until those signatures dry on whatever specifics are hammered out), I can now look back on the past three months like a summer vacation...or a devastating drought.
It was indeed a bleak entertainment landscape. I refused to succumb to the ways of the reality-TV salesmen who tried to sell me gimmick after annoying gimmick. I had no interest in Dueling or finding out if I was smarter than a 10-year-old. I could care less about Tila Tequila and her loyal band of losers. I chose not to check myself into Celebrity Rehab. Sorry.
All of my favorite TV shows were off the air (no one does repeats anymore these days). I never found out what havoc Sylar was about to wreak on Heroes after regaining his powers. I didn't get to see if Wisteria Lane was completely recovered from that nasty tornado. I wouldn't know if my favorite characters' secrets were going to be revealed on Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money.
It was slim pickings when it came to my TV schedule. My DVR capacity dipped below 40%, an all-time low. I found myself turning to my DVD library in order to keep myself warm by the glow of the tube. I relived the glorious heydey that was Season Two of Melrose Place (Jo just found out she's preggers by the guy who held her hostage in the middle of the Pacific, and Sydney blackmailed Michael into marrying her). I discovered the sheer brilliance of Glenn Close during the first season of FX's Damages (my jaw never left the floor). And I befriended Jeri Blank in Strangers With Candy (before Stephen Colbert was...Stephen Colbert).
I found myself scrambling for the remote to record movies I had never seen or hadn't watched in years. The random lot still sitting in my queue: Single White Female, World Trade Center, and A Home at the End of the World. I even went so far as to return to Port Charles to see what those duplicitous denizens were up to at General Hospital.
However, not all hope was gone. CBS wised up, repurposing Showtime's Dexter, of course right after I learned the identity of the Ice Truck Killer via the first season DVD. Jericho, a show the network and I had given up on nearly a year ago, is coming back just in time to hand out a few more paychecks to Skeet Ulrich. And then there's my crew from Oceanic flight 815 returning from an extra-long hiatus, those castaways on Lost; I applaud the producers for finding even more ways to pose more questions while answering a few and introducing new characters as semi-intriguing filler.
I could also say that I was, for a brief moment in time, and avid watcher of CNN. I give thanks to the strike for allowing me to become glued to the real-life drama that was unfolding in the polls across the country and surrounding two exciting and historic presidential campaigns.
One would think I'd be able to catch up on some much-needed reading during this work stoppage as well. Not so true. A sizable pile of paperbacks remain neglected on my bookshelves. I have yet to crack open Book 6 of Harry Potter, and I know that ultracool Japanese gangster photography book is only collecting dust on my coffee table.
It's safe to say that TV, and some movies, will never be the same. The viewing habits of many Americans are rapidly changing, and the industry is doing what it can to keep up with the Joneses, the Rodriguezes, and the Steinbergs.
We'll just have to deal with what we have now until the next strike, which, if history repeats itself, should happen in another 20 years from now, probably when newer media takes America by storm - like eyeball implants that allow us to watch movies and TV shows with the tap of a finger on our foreheads.
iTunes iMplants anyone?
*Welcome back, writers.