No, I Haven’t Seen That Show Yet. Here’s Why.

I’ve often heard it said we’re living in the era of Prestige Television (or Peak Television, if you prefer).  Regardless of the terminology, there is the general sense among people who think, write, and talk about these things that the 21st century has seen the rise of a Golden Age – if not The Golden Age – of Television.  The caliber of what’s being offered on TV is generally considered to have risen.  There are more “high quality” shows generating more critical acclaim than ever before.  The line between “TV star” and the once-more prestigious “movie star” is blurring.  In fact, these TV shows with shorter seasons, renown casts, and complex storytelling, are often touted as six (or ten (or thirteen)) hour movies, broken up into smaller installments.  You couple this with the rise of streaming services (and the accompanying “streaming wars” where each service tries to outperform the others to earn your subscription fee) alongside the culture of binge-watching and our experience of television’s been transformed.  It is a remarkable time to be consuming such content and the excited query, “Have you seen [fill-in-the-blank-show] yet??” drives our pop culture conversations like never before.

The thing is, my answer is almost always “no.”  Like 9/10 times it’s “no.”  And here’s why.

When it comes to the stories I like to enjoy – whether TV shows, movies, comic books, or novels – I am drawn to ones I can return to again and again.  By nature I like to rewatch shows so the idea of jumping from one new exciting show to the next to the next not only doesn’t appeal to me, it makes me a little nauseous.  I like to sit with a story.  I like to turn it over again and again in my mind.  I live with and in it.  The speed with which new shows are released and how quickly our cultural discourse jumps from one to the next makes me care very little about trying to keep up.

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What watching TV was like in the ’90s. / Photo Credit – CBS’s The King of Queens

That’s another thing, there is so much content released so fast it feels like work!  And, with everything streaming all the time, I can watch it whenever I want which also prompts anxiety in me.  Where do I find the time to watch this new show before the next season of the other show comes out or the new show by the showrunner from that other show I liked premieres???  As a child of the ‘80s and a child and adolescent of the ‘90s, a show had its timeslot.  You either made time to watch it, taped it or caught the episode(s) you missed during summer reruns, or never saw the episode.  I liked that.  Because I either made time to see the show or I didn’t.  Now watching a new show feels like navigating an impossible puzzle.  How do I shift all the ever-moving items which fill my finite existence to make time for this show?  It used to be a question of what I wanted to do at 9:00 pm – watch this show or not.  Now that question haunts my every waking hour.

On that note, I should mention my anxiety plays a part in this.  I’ve often read people with anxiety disorders (like me!) tend to favor returning to shows they know and love as opposed to exploring an endless revolving door of new content because there is less anxiety when you know what’s coming.  I’d never thought of it that way before but heck yes that’s me.  It compliments my Analytical Part which loves to deconstruct every piece of a show, too.

Given the choice, I also often prefer to read.  A novel, a nonfiction book, a stack of comics – whether I’m reading it for the first time or the fifth time, I almost always prefer to sit down with a book in my free time.  Or I write.  I enjoy TV.  I love going to the movies.  And there are plenty of shows and movies I’ve watched and rewatched.  But there’s only so much time in life and, on any given day, reading or writing’s what I usually prefer.

It’s not that I don’t ever want to watch anything new.  Looking at the shows I chose for the featured image of this piece, I am very excited for Stranger Things 4 but, because I’m me, I wanted to rewatch the other seasons before I began and REMEMBER TIME?  Well, that affected my Stranger Things rewatch and I’m still just in the middle of Stranger Things 2 (oh Bob, how I loved you…) because time.  Similarly, The Patient looks absolutely amazing and something I’d love to watch (and something which most likely will reward rewatches) but where is the time?  When do I start it?  What don’t I do so I can watch that instead?  Bah.

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TV viewing has become quite the contemplative task. / Photo Credit – NBC’s The Office

I’m sure The Handmaiden’s Tale is as brilliant as everyone says but I wanted to read the book before I watched the show and now we’re FIVE SEASONS IN so that ship’s probably sailed.  I predict the same will happen with Sandman.  I have no interest in Andor and I’m ok with that.  Of all the shows in the featured image, I’m most excited about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.  It’s very “on brand” for me.  I enjoy the films and the books (I hesitate to say “love” as I know people love Tolkien the way I love Doctor Who and Marvel so I feel awkward saying “I love it” because my brain likes to overthink things) and the premise of the show seems really exciting! 

Most of all, Briana and Krysta have been writing about it a lot over on their site, Pages Unbound, and – because I love their writing and they are two of my best blogging friends – it makes me more excited to check it out than I would’ve been otherwise.  In the last month, they’ve written eight pieces on it!  Briana’s written “Why I Am (Finally) Excited to Watch Rings of Power,” “My First Impressions of ‘The Rings of Power,’ Episodes 1 and 2,” “Who Is ‘The Stranger’ in ‘The Rings of Power?’: Here’s My Prediction,” “My Thoughts on Galadriel in ‘The Rings of Power’ After the First Two Episodes,” “Thoughts on Episode 3 of ‘The Rings of Power,’” and “My Thoughts on Episode 5 of ‘The Rings of Power.’”  And Krysta’s written “A Quick Guide to the Second Age of Middle-Earth Before You Watch The Rings of Power” and “Why I Am Excited About The Rings of Power – Even Though I Wasn’t Planning On Watching.”  I can’t remember the last time they’ve written so much about one show/character/novel/story/topic so quickly.  (Note, I’ve linked all the pieces so, if you’ve seen it, you can read them!  Also, now they’re handily here for me once I finally get around to watching it ;D.)  Even if I had no interest in watching the show, their output alone would’ve lit the fire of intrigue within me.

So…why haven’t I started it?  When I look at the finite amount of time my life holds, my natural inclination to favor stories I’ve seen before, my desire to revisit and further get to know/explore/deconstruct the shows I love, the anxiety of trying to find time to watch (and commit!) to a new show, and the time I’m already devoting to reading and writing, well there’s only so much time for TV left.  And most of that time is already spoken for.  When I turn on my TV I am almost always watching (and rewatching!) something I love and want to know better.  I’m furthering a relationship, as it were, instead of looking for a new fun fling.  For a new show to grab a bit of my time, I have to believe it will be good enough to warrant taking time from…

Watching and Rewatching Doctor Who (2005-present)

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I hope you appreciate this because it took me WAY TOO LONG to edit all these pictures together! But I couldn’t find any collages of all the modern Doctors that included the War Doctor and the Fugitive Doctor so here we are. / Photo Credit – BBC’s Doctor Who; Painstaking Editing Credit – ME

There is no story of any kind in any medium – novel, comic, movie, TV show, play, concept album, camp fire tale, etc. – that means more to me than Doctor Who.  Period.  If I could only participate in one fictional universe for the rest of my life I’d leave Marvel, DC, Ghostbusters, and Star Wars for Doctor Who in a heartbeat.  It’s fun.  It’s funny.  It’s cheese-tastic.  It’s exciting.  But it’s also intelligent, heartfelt, and moving.  The brilliance, depth, nuance, and heart inherent in this show’s sixty year history is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  When my life is hardest, I turn to Doctor Who for the strength to buoy myself.  When my life is happiest, I turn to Doctor Who to celebrate.  The only limit to the stories told in is the imagination of the writers.  No genre, type of character, or narrative style is off limits.  I even have a wall of Doctor Who art in my house so I can physically surround myself with the spirit of this show.

Watching and Rewatching Harley Quinn (2019-present)

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Photo Credit – HBO Max’s Harley Quinn

If someone were to ask me where to begin with Harley Quinn, I’d point them to this show.  Originally a DC Universe streaming original, it’s now on HBO Max and this alone is worth the subscription fee (though HBO Max also has Doctor Who so that’s a lot of mileage for me).  This profanity, insanity, and hilarity-laden show (along with Tee Franklin’s accompanying Harley Quinn: The Animated Series comics) is the most beautiful, authentic, and healthy depiction of love – for ourselves and with another – I’ve ever seen in pop culture.  The writing is as quick as it is intelligent and the social commentary is as biting as the jokes.  This is also the single best superhero show I’ve ever seen.  It not only understands its characters but it understands what the superhero genre can do and be.

On Twitter, I always see those “Ten Films to Know Me” or “Ten TV Shows to Know Me” or “Ten Albums to Know Me” tweets floating around.  In writing this piece, I’ve realized my answer’s not that hard.  In all honesty, the only shows you need to watch to know me are Doctor Who and Harley Quinn.

Or rather, as I’d hope you’d get to know me by chatting with me and forming a real relationship, how about I say this instead?  Everything that is most important to me (outside of the people I love, obviously) – all the themes, ideas, messages, and meaning – as well as all the stories which move me the most – filling my heart and stirring my soul – are found in Doctor Who and Harley Quinn.  They hold what matters most to me.

But I don’t just watch Doctor Who and Harley Quinn so a new show is also vying for time with my…  

Watching Classic Doctor Who (1963-1989)

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Yep, after the last go round I just found a collage that worked for me here. / Photo Credit – BBC’s Doctor Who; Collage Credit – Deviant Art

There were 695 episodes of Classic Doctor Who released between the show’s premiere in 1963 and its cancellation in 1989.  Given how deeply I love Doctor Who, it was only a matter of time until I got BritBox and began watching those shows for myself.  Then Covid and lockdown hit and new streaming services made a lot of sense.  Now that I have it, I’d cut Netflix and Hulu long before I’d ever cut BritBox!  These episodes can be weird and clunky, slow-moving and super low budget at times…but it’s all Doctor Who, it’s all good, and I’m here to stay for all of it.  I can guarantee as soon as I finish all those 695 episodes I’ll begin my first rewatch of it, too.

Rewatching a Handful of Shows From My Youth and Young Adulthood

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Ahhhh, the memories! / Photo Credit – NBC’s Scrubs, The WB’s Gilmore girls, and NBC’s Seinfeld

Are you catching the importance of rewatching for me yet?  Well, that didn’t just begin in my adult life.  As a high school and college student, I coveted DVD sets of shows I loved so I could watch them again and again.  Those seasons of Scrubs, Seinfeld, The Office, The King of Queens, Community, and Gilmore girls still sit on my shelf and receive regular rewatches.  Going back a bit further, I collected the seasons of Highlander the Series on VHS tapes!  I’ve not revisited Duncan MacLeod’s story in years, though maybe I should…

Watching and Rewatching the Marvel Cinematic Universe Shows

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I can already tell you these two shows will become among my most watched pieces of the MCU. Hands down, no contest. / Photo Credit – Marvel’s Studios Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

The MCU produces content at a pace which feels impossible to keep up with.  But I’m loving what they’re doing!  Ms. Marvel is the most beautiful story the MCU’s told in it’s fourteen year history!  She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is the most fun the MCU’s ever been and I hope it goes for six or seven seasons!  WandaVision is an incredibly moving reflection on healing from trauma.  The Falcon and the Winter Solider is a profound-yet-comedic globe-trotting buddy vigilante story.  Moon Knight is…a show.  Keeping up with these shows, let alone rewatching them to know them as I want to, is practically a full time job.


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I ADORE Jeremy Enecio’s character portraits of all the Doctors he did for the BBC which they revealed in November 2019. If you’d like to explore more of Jeremy Enecio’s art on his site, you can do so by clicking here!

Right now I’m in the middle of watching the Fourth Doctor’s Era for the first time, rewatching all the Thirteenth Doctor’s episodes before I weep my way through her regeneration next month, and watching all River Song’s episodes in her order, not the Doctor’s.  I mean, did anyone not see this coming?  OF COURSE I’m ending with Doctor WhoDoctor Who fills MY WHOLE HEART.

So there you go.  To everyone who ever has or ever will ask if I’ve seen a certain show, this is why I probably haven’t.  But please continue to ask me!  I love talking about this stuff!  And I love hearing what everyone else is passionate about!  But know, before the question is asked, my answer will probably disappoint you XD.  Unless you’re asking about Doctor Who or Harley Quinn!  I long ago lost track of the number of times I’ve rewatched modern Doctor Who all the way through and I’m getting fuzzy on my number of Harley Quinn rewatches, too.  So if you’re asking about them then you are in luck.

Speaking of which…have you seen Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils or Harley Quinn S3 yet??

10 thoughts on “No, I Haven’t Seen That Show Yet. Here’s Why.

  1. Ah, I relate to so much of this! I don’t watch a lot of shows or movies in general, so I’ve rarely seen anything anyone is asking about. And if I think I DO want to see a show, I basically have to watch it as it comes out, or I just give up. I look at something and see it’s five or more seasons and think there’s no way for me to find the time for all that, so I just don’t! And then with all the streaming services, I don’t even subscribe to any of them except Disney+ and I don’t have some nice family members who subscribe to mooch off so . . .

    So now that I am out of my free Prime trial I need to figure out how I am watching episode 6 of Rings of Power this week! (Didn’t realize I missed doing a post for episode 4, which seems obvious now that you’ve listed them all!) I’m glad Krysta and I can get you excited about some Tolkien-inspired television, though! Maybe you will get to it eventually, and maybe someday I will finally catch up on all the Doctor Who I’ve been missing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I was reading your comment I was reflecting more on my own viewing habits. Because OH MY GOSH YES I absolutely agree that I’ve no interest in jumping into a show with five or more seasons! It feels like too much! I could never catch up!

      …except Doctor Who. When I began watching the show, they were in the midst of the tenth season and had fifteen specials or so. Then with Classic Doctor Who there are TWENTY-SIX seasons and I just jumped right in. (I’m in the midst of Classic Season 13 now). So…I wonder why? I doesn’t feel overwhelming. It feels welcoming. It feels warm and reassuring. I was intimidated to start but now I don’t think twice about it. And I rewatch it all the time! Hmm.

      I don’t have a clear answer for this yet. Maybe it’s because of my connection to the show? Maybe that overrides my discomfort because it doesn’t feel like a hill I can’t ever climb but a celebration I don’t want to leave? I don’t know…

      Anyway, you’re right. If I have any hope of seriously following a new show I want to try and jump on as that first season plays out.

      And I almost started ‘Rings of Power’ two nights ago! The only reason I didn’t is I want to finish rewatching all Jodie Whittaker’s ‘Doctor Who’ episodes before the Centenary Special where she regenerates comes out annnnnnnd the BBC still have yet to release the date for that (◔_◔). So I don’t know what I’m working towards so I didn’t jump into ‘Rings of Power’ yet. But I guarantee, because I’m excited by your excitement, this is a show I will actually watch.

      OH! I just realized another part of why the ‘Doctor Who’ doesn’t overwhelm me! I was gonna reply to the “maybe someday” you’ll get caught up on ‘Doctor Who’ part of your comment and I was gonna say one of the things I like about the show is I don’t feel a pressure to watch at any speed. The nature of how it releases (like ‘Flux’ was last fall, then a New Years and an Easter special, then this one this fall, then no special until NEXT November) makes me feel like there’s no rush. And I think the nature of the show rewards going at a slower, more personal pace.

      Anyway, I’m glad you related to this :D. And it makes me feel better finding out I’m not the only one! I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me with this post and it’s fascinating to see how it resonates with so many people. So. If so many people feel like us, who’s watching all this content? Or does everyone just have their corner and then it feels overwhelming because we all focus on different shows?


  2. There really is an overwhelming amount of content these days and so I’ve also opted to cherry pick a few and ignore the rest. I think from the big 10 or shows this year I’ve watched maybe 2 and I’ve no intention of going any further , what with my latest X-Files rewatch I just don’t have the time haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. X-Files!!! Are you ready for this? I’ve never seen the X-Files! It is a glaring hole in my pop culture knowledge. Being a sci-fi fan, I was always excited by it but I never tried it out. Maybe it was the timeslot? Or maybe that was before I got into horror so it freaked me out? I don’t know. But I’ve always been intrigued by it and still think about jumping in and giving it a go from time to time.

      I’m happy to hear you cherry pick, too! I’ve been surprised by and appreciative of the solidarity I’ve found in writing openly about this. Maybe I’m not in the minority of only watching a handful of new shows after all, even if it feels that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d absolutely recommend jumping into the X-Files if your curious, the first and second season have some slow moments but also some great episodes and world building. Then once you hit season 3 its off to the races and has some bonkers moments and the writing just seems to get better as more risks are taken. It’s great stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like this is timely because I was planning a post on how there are too many books to read! There has been a huge growth of entertainment of every kind and, well, honestly, I am not entirely sure why because a person’s free time is actually a finite thing. You can produce endless TV shows and books, but no one can watch and read them all. And it’s stressful to try!

    I don’t watch many shows or movies in general because I do prefer to read, anyway. So I prioritize things that seem really interesting or that other people invite me to watch (to be polite and all). I certainly can’t watch EVERY show people are hyped about, though, and it does feel futile to try to jump into a show that has eight seasons and counting. I don’t have that much time! And what about other things I might want to watch? And then, with the way pop culture is, the hype will be over before I finish the show, anyway.

    Also, not to be a downer, but a lot of hyped shows aren’t all that great. Some of the things on Netflix, Prime, and Disney+ that people have raved about turned out to be extremely mediocre, in my opinion. Some streaming services do eventually release some of their content on DVD later and I have never regretted waiting to borrow a DVD from the library instead of paying to watch it when it came out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There have been plenty of times I’ve jumped into watching something everyone’s raving about and couldn’t understand the hype so THANK YOU for saying it! Yes! Waiting to see what is good enough to be released on DVD and then available to borrow from the library is a really good plan. It edits a lot of that out for you along the way! Like my relationship with ‘Stranger Things,’ I only have Netflix for that (and ‘Unsolved Mysteries’) since they moved the Marvel shows to Disney+. But if I’m not actually watching the show…why am I paying for the service? Waiting to just borrow the DVDs makes a lot more sense. And it frees up money in my entertainment budget I can spend on other things!

      Trying to prioritize things other people invite me to watch is something that I have to be mindful of. Like you, I try to do that. It’s polite and my Caretaker Part and my People Pleasing Part really drive me there. But I’ve realized I prefer to do that in relationships where it’s reciprocal. If I’m watching a bunch of shows based on someone’s recommendations or reading books they’ve recommended and my recs aren’t being reciprocated, well then what am I doing? I start to feel resentful! I’m giving up my finite time to watch or read something they’re excited about (even or especially when it’s not something I’d watch or read on my own) but then they’re not interested in doing the same? But the Caretaker loves to do that for others! So now I have to be mindful of only following recs in those sorts of situations if I really want to watch it anyway.

      Your point about the growth in the entertainment industry and our finite time best sums up my experience with this piece. From the comments on the post to things people have messaged me to conversations I’ve had with people who’ve read it in my day-to-day life, EVERYONE is empathizing with this. No one seems to have the time to consume what they feel they “should” and everyone seems to feel some degree of stress over it. So who are they making all the content for? And why does it feel like I’m “falling behind” when everyone I’ve talked to feels the same? Is it the way things are marketed? Is it because everyone has their niche of entertainment and when it doesn’t overlap with mine I feel like “everyone” is watching and reading more things than I am? I don’t know. It was an unintended reaction to this piece but one I’ve found fascinating – and validating! – all the same.


  4. WHY did I never reply to this when I read it a month ago? I guess the reason why I also don’t have time to watch new shows- when I am a busy mom who already has a large queue of tv shows that I *hope* to eventually get to. While you prioritize Doctor Who, Star Trek is my priority. But I also want to finish Stranger Things, Locke & Key, Cobra Kai, Reservation Dogs, The Handmaid’s Tale & You. I certainly can’t watch all the Marvel or Star Wars shows that look intriguing too. Its hard to strike a balance. Too much good stuff is bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! And it feels a little weird to say too much good stuff is bad but you’re absolutely right! There is so much you have to choose from and then there’s the whole issue of being unable to pick a show as you’re just scrolling through all the options forever, too. That was another plus to growing up without streaming is, in addition to having to make the choice to sit and watch the show when it aired, you had less options. Even with cable there was plenty of time most of the stations weren’t airing anything of interest to me.

      Coincidentally enough, I’m replying to your comment after just beginning a new show last night! It’s ‘Inside Man’ on Netflix. Now, to be fair, I’m only watching it as it’s starring David Tennant and it’s written by Steven Moffat, who was the ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner for seasons 5-10. So it’s not really that outside the box for me XD. But still! It’s something!

      Liked by 1 person

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