I watch a fair amount of my TV pre-recorded. I don’t tend to record too much to VHS these days but when I was at boarding school Mum would tape a few choice programmes (Red Dwarf and Mary Whitehouse Experience come to mind) for me to then catch up on during my exeats. Now I think about it, even before this, as a young child, I’d have a tape or two filled with children’s programming. Sick of me requesting Dr. Seuss or Richard Scary for the googolinith time, they’d wack the one of these compilation tapes on.
As we now live in a future where even Airwolf is available on DVD, I love to sit down and watch multiple episodes of a show in one sitting, gorging myself on all the best that the telly has to offer. From Band of Brothers to Arrested Development, being able to skip straight to the next episode, not having to wait a whole week to see which power Peter is going to use to get him out of the cliff hanger of the week, makes me feel like I have near god-like powers.
Despite no-longer having to wait for an ad break to grab a snack or nip to the john, I rarely skip the opening credits. In some cases it’s all about setting the mood: the helter-skelter opening of Buffy and the over the top gravitas of the Doctor Who theme are the perfect warm up for the following 45 minutes. In the case of The West Wing it would seem somehow rude and disrespectful to skip Snuffy Walden’s majestic opening. Even with Lost, a show that’s taken the minimalist approach to opening sequences, the brief flyby of the title is just long enough for you to catch your breath and buckle in for what’s about to come.
The best of all is Alabama 3’s magnificent "Woke Up This Morning". It fits so well and does such a good job of setting up the rest of the show that it feels like an additional cast member; The Sopranos’ Stuart Sutcliffe if you will.All this just makes me glad that we no longer have to sit through a montage of smiling cast members (Love Boat, I’m looking at you) otherwise I’d have a lead finger on the fast forward button every time I cued up the next episode.