Binge fatigue

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After mainlining seven seasons of The West Wing in less than a week, I did not experience “binge fatigue” because, despite the length of the show, almost every episode was of the kind of quality that I never felt a lag. Each season had its arc and pace, and the scope was limited to one full, two-term presidency and a couple of election cycles.

Despite being pleasantly surprised by the content of other shows, like Person of Interest, I find (now nearing the end of season 4) that I am feeling the fatigue. Some episodes of POI are better than others, and since Taraji P. Henson’s character was killed off, there is a definite void.

I wonder what it is that makes the fatigue set in in some shows and not others? Or is the fatigue endemic to the binge-watching process?

Lunchtable TV Talk: Person of Interest revisited

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“You need to move fast.” “And here I was planning to move at a slothlike pace and get captured.” – season one, Person of Interest

I wrote about Person of Interest the other day – I started watching it as a filler while working, but it hit its stride early even if the first season felt a little bit more like what it appeared to be on the surface. At first, it looks and feels like a standard CBS-style procedural, but then its prescience about technology and the absence of privacy made it unusual. But the characters and actors who embody them differentiate the whole thing.

The reclusive billionaire character, Harold (Michael Emerson) who drives “The Machine” is quirky, honorable, lovable. The loner “Man in a Suit”, John (Jim Caviezel, who improbably keeps mentioning Puyallup and Sumner, Washington – not exactly household-name towns in America – perhaps to him since his family’s from there), could be a cliche – the loner/hero who loses everyone and everything repeatedly. And it would be impossible not to fall in love with Taraji P. Henson‘s Detective Jocelyn Carter in this show (and that love and respect grows throughout). This happened before her powerhouse performance as Cookie in TV’s runaway hit, Empire (she is one of the only reasons I watch that show). And the characters who join later, from the sociopath Root to the hitwoman Shaw (Sarah Shahi – someone I also love even though I have only ever seen her in a few things), or even the villain played by Clarke Peters (I love him in everything, too, particularly as Lester in The Wire, but he is very effective as a villain-in-hiding).

Everyone is in the right place, right time. It comes together almost perfectly, if slowly sometimes – which I enjoy – and I am as surprised as anyone to find the show as addictive as I do. Its fifth and likely final season is starting up soon, and if it is indeed the end, it will probably be going out on top, not having exhausted all its avenues and goodwill. I’ll never be able to explain why the show is just right, but someone (at Indiewire) took the trouble to pinpoint the details. And the article explains it exactly the way I would, even if I can’t make the time or find the words to give it all the attributes it deserves.

Lunchtable TV Talk: Person of Interest

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I love how technology in a show from a year ago, five years ago or ten years ago looks hilariously outdated (if any of the tech they showed ever became possible or real at all). Things like Quantum Leap always showed an iridescent future (loads of “future” shows in the 80s and 90s did the same). And that is just about all you could say about them: iridescent and full of laser beams. Watching something like Person of Interest and all its surveillance does not look futuristic, even if it does not always feel totally realistic – it just looks like more 1984/Brave New World in origin. We’re being surveilled all the time, so why not make use of all that data? In Person of Interest, it’s in the interest of helping people. But in the real world it’s more likely to be companies building dubious business models around the use of so-called Big Data.

I really only just started watching a couple of episodes of Person of Interest. It’s a filler, not something I have ever had a burning desire to watch. I just need some noise in the background while I write white papers. I have nothing to say about it except that it prompted these thoughts about technology on TV.