Too Much Stuff on TV

One of my sisters jokingly chided me this weekend because I do not watch two of her favorite shows, House and How I Met Your Mother. She claimed that it was unforgivable that I label myself a so-called "pop culture expert" yet do not regularly tune in to those top-rated and critically acclaimed programs.  I have no excuse.  There are just too many shows on television for me to watch them all. 

My sister persisted with her admonishment, arguing that if I could find time to watch "crap" like Big Brother, then I should find time to watch quality entertainment like the shows she mentioned.  She has a good point, but my TV viewing diet needs some guilty-pleasure desserts among the filet-mignon main courses. 

We are living in a Golden Age of television content.  My DVR is on the brink of capacity, recording a long list of shows that I can barely manage to keep up-to-date given my limited viewing schedule.  So a lot of apparently good shows unfortunately are left on the sidelines -- Dexter, Mad Men, The Mentalist, Sons of Anarchy, and Burn Notice, just to name a few. 

As a speculative fiction fan, I try to watch "everything" that has a science fiction or fantasy theme, but even that is overflowing nowadays, so I do not have time to watch things like Chuck or The Vampire Diaries

I keep my ear to the buzz-worthy conversations, however, so even though I have never watched a single minute of Jersey Shore, for instance, I can probably tell you all about Snooki and the Situation.  (That is not something I brag about, though.)

In this day and age of hundreds of channels, countless television shows, an overwhelming amount of entertainment options, how do we pick and choose what to watch and what to ignore?  Some of our choices are determined by our personal preferences, of course, but a lot of it depends on marketing and word-of-mouth, when we feel compelled to sample something because "everybody is talking about it" and we feel that we might be missing out from the mass cultural experience if we don't start watching a show.

But then there are times when even that is not enough for us to tune in.  Sometimes, we just have to surrender and admit that there just aren't enough hours in the day to watch everything that is airing on TV.  That is when I thank my lucky stars for online episode recaps!