My name is Nathan Bransford. And I only have basic cable.
Now, if you are stopping by the blog for the first time, this may not be such a big deal. But know this: I LOVE TV. I love TV like Tyra Banks loves models screaming at her surprise arrival. I love TV like Chris Harrison loves rose ceremonies. I love TV like Don Draper loves almost but not quite unattainable women.
You get the picture.
The decision to cut the cable wasn’t the result of some high-minded, erudite reasoning, like waking up and realizing that TV was rotting my brain. (That dream about Jeff Probst interrogating me about my job performance at Tribal Council? Totally normal!)
My wife and I just noticed something one day: we weren’t really watching TV anymore. And cable is a really, really expensive thing to pay for if you’re not watching it.
In my old job as a literary agent, on weekdays I was working from 7:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night, and I was spending a huge chunk of that time reading. On the weekends I was writing from morning until night. After a day of reading and writing, it’s not particularly relaxing to end it with still more reading. TV was the perfect antidote.
And it just so happens that my time as an agent coincided with a Golden Era of Television, with both reality TV and scripted shows that raised the bar for what was thought possible on television. It was really easy to get sucked in when there was such excellent entertainment to be had (and also The Hills and The Bachelor, which were non-excellently but deeply entertaining).
But now that I no longer read for work, I have rediscovered this crazy indulgence called reading for pleasure. Including books published before 2005! Before 1930 even! I’m even re-reading books I’ve read before! It is amazing!
And I’m sorry to say that I’m feeling like TV overall just isn’t as awesome as it was five years ago, with many reality shows feeling stale and only a few scripted shows that are really killing it. At this point there are only three shows that I feel like I can’t miss:
Two of those are on network TV, and one is on hiatus.
Hence: basic cable for us. It still gives me the chills from time to time when I realize I can’t watch ESPN, but the truth is that I’m too busy with other things anyway. For anything else I can’t get on network TV, there’s Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes. We’re saving a ton of money, I’m re-reading The Great Gatsby, and I couldn’t be happier.
How about you? Have your TV habits changed at all, and have you thought about cutting the cord?
Regarding the reference to Jeff Probst and Survivor, which is produced by CBS, which is the parent company of CNET, which is where I am employed: the opinions expressed herein are purely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CBS.