The Pros & Cons of Oversaturated Television

15 years ago, it was easy to predict what would be on TV at 8pm on a Friday night. I would quickly rush home from school and plant myself in front of the television, ready to start humming and imitating the drums from the intro for the George Lopez Show on ABC.

I knew what I was signing up for. George and his family was the epitome of functioning-dysfunctionals (If you watched the show, you’d understand what I mean). It was great because I could relate to most of the storylines. I knew a night with the Lopez’s would bring comedy that I looked forward to every week.

On Saturday mornings, my brother and I would tune in to Nickelodeon and binge watch Spongebob Squarepants, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly OddParents – well ’90s babies get the gist.

There was always something to look forward to. Our weekends were predictable. We knew our chores had to be done in time before we could step foot in the living room to watch tv, and we made it our duty to ensure that everything was done on time to prevent interruptions.

But as the years rolled on, I realized that television content started to expand. I couldn’t keep up with my regularly scheduled programs. Shows that came on Saturday mornings now came on in the evenings, and new shows replaced that old slot. In addition to that, more channels started to pop up, making it hard for me to keep up with what was going on on television.

Moving up in school didn’t make the television watching process easier either. I spent a lot of time studying for tests and missing out on my favorite shows and the endless possibilities of new ones. I made a vow that when I graduated from school, I’d catch up on all the shows I missed and find new favorites.

When that time finally came,  I didn’t know where to begin. There were so many more shows and channels to choose from. And to this day, I have yet to catch up on all the shows I missed; there’s just too much to choose from. 

For example, my cable provider today offers 3 different Nickelodeon’s – all of which provide different content 24/7.

This shows that today, television caters to a plethora of viewers who have specific wants. With additional features like OnDemand, DVR, and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, TV has become less scheduled and more streamlined towards a user’s needs. Let’s not get started on social media platforms like Facebook, that offer Facebook Watch, a space that brings content in a not so traditional format. 

Living in a microwave society (we want everything quickly), makes television more convenient for the average user.

Falling asleep through another episode of Bachelor in Paradise on ABC is no longer an issue. Waiting up until 10pm to see the new episode of Black Ink Crew on VH1 doesn’t stress me out anymore. You can forget about me staying up to see Late Night with Trevor Noah. I just can’t. I am of no use to anyone, including myself, after 8:30pm EST.

Television formatting and availability allows me to control the content I consume, and these television networks have helped to make it all possible by providing apps that stream all or most of their content, which can be viewed at any time.

With that level of convenience, let’s assess the pros and cons of television saturation today.

Pros:

  • I can watch what I want when I want (and in some cases, I don’t have to deal with long drawn out commercials).
  • I don’t literally have to sit in front of a television to see all my shows.
  • I’m not limited to a few channels.
  • If I missed an essential part of my show, or I need to start it over, or I need to pause it – I can!
  • Some shows have become interactive. My opinion matters!

Cons:

  • I’ll most likely binge-watch a series and completely push aside all my other responsibilities because the show is that good.
  • I can watch tv anywhere! This may affect productivity on the job, focus while I’m driving (I don’t watch tv when I’m driving – I listen to it), and makes my showers a little longer than usual.
  • I’ll forget to watch Black Ink Crew on Wednesday nights because I’m catching up on Homicide Hunters.
  • There is so much good content that I have not been exposed to because there aren’t enough hours in the day!

While there may be many other reasons to justify either stance, we have to admit that television has not only evolved, it has also given us the ability to control what we watch, when we watch, and how we watch it.

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