Fall TV & Old Habits that Die Hard

Call me old school, but I still get excited about the Fall TV season.

I know, I know. Viewing habits have changed. New shows and new seasons launch year ‘round these days, online, on broadcast and on cable TV. But there’s still something exciting about the batch of shiny new and returning series that launch every fall. And as long as TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly decide it’s valuable enough to devote an entire issue, double issue, or even two issues to the Fall TV season, then I’m still going to get excited about it.

(True confession: in my basement, hidden in several boxes, you will find pile after pile of TV Guide Fall Preview issues from decades of past seasons. I don’t know why I saved them for years — did I think they would increase in value? I did go back and look at the issues again at the end of each season to tally up the winners and losers. But, mostly, it just demonstrates my lifelong enthusiasm — not to mention my geeky fanboy status as a TV nerd.)

Vintage TV Guide Fall Preview. This one is somewhere in my basement collection — guaranteed.

This year, like every year, I’m going to read through every description of every new show and plan my strategy for which ones to sample. (As a boy, I used to do this for Saturday morning cartoons, as well.) My weekly viewing schedule gets outlined, the DVR gets set, and so do I.

It’s a lot of TV to tackle. I get a little concerned when, between the new shows I plan on sampling and my returning and current shows, I find myself with nearly 24 hours of TV to watch every week. Yikes. That’s one entire day of television. A little daunting. There so so many more shows to consider during this era of “peak TV.” I’m not sure what the daily standard of TV viewing is these days — haven’t seen a survey in a while, but I think it’s probably like six hours a day that the average American watches TV? So my 24 hours a week is not bad in comparison. And of course an hour-long show is not really an hour… and a half-hour show is not really a half-hour on broadcast TV, when you factor in the commercials (which, even though I work in advertising and am committing a cardinal industry sin, yes, I often do fast-forward through commercials on my DVR). And by the way, I divert for a second… what is up with pay channels or streaming services that still run commercials in their shows? I thought we were paying not to see them? I’m talking to you, Hulu.

Anyway, new shows get my standard “three shots to win me over” test. I’m eager to lower my weekly viewing hours, not to increase them, so I’m a hard audience to please when it comes to watching new shows. As excited as I am about them, I really don’t want another weekly TV commitment. If you don’t grab me in the first three episodes, you’re off the series manager schedule.

So besides apple picking and raking leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, that’s what I’ll be doing this fall. It’s become an annual ritual. Anybody else on board?