Why I hate TV Series’



“Religion is the opiate of the masses”

Not anymore.

 “Television is the opiate of the masses”

Not anymore.

 “American TV Series’ are the opiate of the middle masses”

More or less…. with a touch of hyperbole.

There’s a new drug sweeping the country. It’s a soporific. Most addicts take it every night. The effects? The user will remain immobile in a stupor for an hour or more, longer durations if the product is particularly good. During this time brain activity will drop very low and the addict will ‘enjoy’ a semi-catatonic state.

This drug, like chocolate, is available in attractive packaging and at a very low cost. Often users obtain it free, through the internet. Nearly all users, or I should say addicts, state that at the beginning they took this drug because “they thought it would relax them”. Most still hold this belief, despite the fact it is not true. The sad fact is that once on this drug, most other more ‘active’ forms of relaxation are given up by the user and the drug does provide the only form or relaxation the user has available. The drug is peculiar in that users will take a dose then not feel any the more relaxed, often irritable and dissastisfied but will thus increase the dosage, rather than ceasing it. One could say “the promise of relaxation” is what this drug offers.

The common currency of most middle-England office conversations now revolves around this drug, this sedative.

“I’m doing ER at the minute”….

“I’m on Vikings Series Two”….

“We’re working our way through Sons of Anarchy”…

“Nip round, I’ll stick a few episodes of Lost on”…

 I fucking hate American TV series’*. Here’s why: they are generally very poorly written and  nothing but endless banal soap opera and they turn people into brain-addled boring cabbages. Look, I’m a Libertarian, I don’t believe in the nanny state. If people want to shoot up with heroin then fine, as long as they don’t bother me. What bothers me is that people are so fucking stupid they don’t see the staringly obvious. It seems half the country is watching at least a dozen hours of TV series a week. Jesus! A dozen hours that could be better spent on something productive. Playing the piano. Talking. Cooking. Exercising.

Does anyone ever really feel proud that they watched ‘all episodes of X series’, or that ‘they finished Season Z of Series Y’? Would they not feel more proud having read a book? Having built an Airfix bomber? A walk in the country? The gym? I mean what do all those hours of watching it represent? TV doesn’t “stick” to the guts. It’s a flickering light. Books “stick”. Read a great book and it’ll touch you, it’ll enter your brain to a level that a TV show can’t. You’ll live and breathe the characters. Your brain is in a completely different state when you read.

I was the same once. I’d finish my awfully stressful job and think “right! now the world owes me! time to milk every ounce of ‘me time’ out of the day that I can”. What could be more ‘me time’ than sitting in absolute comfort, propped up by cushions, eating a great meal and watching a great TV show? So I’d rush home, prepare the food and the cushions and there I’d be, immobile and staring at the screen, willing myself to ‘relax more’ and ‘enjoy it more’. But like zero calorie food it never really satisfied. I’d watch an episode of something or other then just feel… weird. Itchy. Distracted. Dissastisfied. WHY WAS I NOT RELAXED? So I’d stick on another. And another.

What a fool. The best relaxation is active. Go out. Walk. Take a martial arts class. Or basket weaving. Or learn something. Or write. Or go and socialize. Go dance! Dancing’s great. Or at least read. At the very least don’t watch… read.

Finally I gave up my addiction and deletd all the  gigabytes of pap I had downloaded and ready. I took up dancing and the difference in relaxation levels was palbable. I’d go straight from work and meet people in a busy room. Chatting, socializing. Music. Moving your body. Laughing and joking. And physical expression. I’d come home satisfied, shower and go to bed immediately. No procrastination. No checking emails. No fiddling about. That’s what late night procrastination is, by the way: a sign of a day that you haven’t achieved enough in, both in work and pleasure.

Give up. Delete them all*. Buy some classic fiction and start retraining your attention span.


*Except for Breaking Bad and The Sopranos of course, that are excellent.

18 responses to “Why I hate TV Series’”

  1. You can probably still watch a couple of decent TV series a year without impacting on your life too much. Right now I think Game of Thrones and Sherlock are worth watching, along with about a dozen or so well made movies each year.

    You are totally right that the main cause of procrastination is a lack of decent recreation.

    1. I hope everyone can appreciate, in hindsight, how awfully wrong this comment turned out to be.
      That’s yet another problem with (most) TV series. You spend tens of hours of screen time and years in real life following a promising story just to discover after a few seasons that the writers never had an idea of where they were going with all the plot twists and that they wrote themselves into a corner and can only keep the show going by writing dumber and even more contrived arcs.
      I call it the “LOST” effect.

  2. The reason so many people are watching American TV series is the same reason they watch Hollywood films or play American videogames: because they are awesome. You can try to deny it as much as you want, but you are only making a fool of yourself in the process. Do you hate art? So do chimps and poodles. It is not a very prestigious club to be part of.

    As for substituting other activities in place of the enjoyment of art: dude I surf, snowboard, mountain bike, swim, play basketball, AND binge watch Breaking Bad and play Far Cry, and read the classics, etc. If you only have energy for a couple of activities, I can understand where you are coming from. But not everyone has so little energy in them…

    Or maybe your problem is that you don’t like advanced artforms but only the primitive ones? (which would explain your championing of novels over cinema…) In which case I strongly recommend you read this at some point:


    It’s funny how you crap on the writing of TV shows, but hail The Sopranos as an exception. The Sopranos is a mediocre copy of Scorcese mafia flicks bloated beyond proportion and stretched out to infinity. After 2 or 3 seasons I couldn’t take it any more. What can you possibly know about “good writing” if you loved it? And where’s Frasier, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, etc. etc. etc.?

    tl;dr: Bad critic is bad. Stick to pick-up art dude and leave the art criticism to the art critics.

    1. Twat

    2. If you truly enjoy TV and video games on top of physical activities and “the classics, etc.” you claim, you don’t represent 1% of the population. Bodi is spot on about the masses (in America from my experience and apparently England as well) wasting most of their waking hours outside of work on TV and other forms of “entertainment”, with sports probably being a close second. 8 hours of work followed by 3+ hours of TV/Netflix/video games (while checking social media) is standard operating procedure for tens of millions each day.

      Claiming cinema to be an “advanced art form” while novels are “primitive” is one of the strangest comments I’ve ever read. Please do tell me which movies are superior to: Tender is the Night, The Razor’s Edge, Heart of Darkness? I don’t deny the artistic talent of TV/film directors, video game creators and the like, but these mediums spoon feed you carefully choreographed stimuli that are meant to elicit a specific response. Where is there room for your own imagination and reflection?

      1. I gave Bodi a link. The answer to your question is in there. Novels are a primitive artform and videogames are the most advanced artform we will ever create (cinema, and consequently TV shows, are somewhere inbetween). Read my link if you want to find out why. Art is not about “thinking”. Only an uneducated person would think that. Philosophy is about thinking. Art is about relaxing and letting yourself go for a while, and you can do that just as well with a movie or with videogame as with a novel.

        1. You’re retarded and not very nice. Pls go silly bad man.

          1. Fuck I only just realised what this blog is, sorry icycalm i fucked up

  3. Icycalm: what emptiness resides in your soul that your beloved American TV shows cannot fill that compels you to moronically troll post every single article Bodi writes? Seriously “dude” (to use one of your terms – did you get that from watching one of your “awesome” shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?), you comment on every single post like some jilted ex-lover who obsessively pours imaginary meaning onto every text message ever sent by her ex-lover for clues about his dalliance. For a man who is so busy banging 9’s, surfing, snowboarding (which would presumably involve a fair amount of travel too since beaches are not normally located next to mountains), binge watching Game of Thrones and reading the classics… you still seem to have a lot of time left over to write semi-concerned comments on PUA blogs and compiling your own endless list of sub-Kierkegaardian aphorisms. I literally did a little wee in my pants with laughter when you compared yourself to an art critic just after championing The fucking X-Files as high class writing. Give me a break, we’re talking about a show about flying saucers not Homer musing on the cupidity of the Olympian gods. It took you 40 hours to watch three seasons of The Sopranos before you “couldn’t take it anymore”; it took me about 30 seconds of reading your comments to reach the same conclusion.

    tl;dr Icycalm is a knob jockey. And I don’t mean a knob jockey in the style of a 6-foot throbbing anthropomorphic penis magnificently riding a wild stallion across the desert plain; I mean more in the style of an above-average pubic louse clinging onto the side of a sweaty unshaven bollock for dear life.

    Whilst wearing a little cowboy hat that his mum made for him.

  4. Also, I read your website Orgy of the Will.

    Orgy of the hand, more like. 300+ bullet points of self-indulgent mind masturbation.

  5. Mad Men? Good or bad? I need to know. An addict.

  6. Cowboy films had a kind of anti state feel, because at that time the state wasn’t so big. The soaps shown now all have the state as an ever present omnipotent force, as the vehicle for moral good and the dispenser of a just violence. So they are quite trivial and petty.
    They also distort reality by over emphaising white criminals, maybe because blacks are boring.

  7. I like Game of Thrones though, it’s got tittys, blood, war, whores, yeah. In Croatia from next week lad

  8. I think the real point of Bodi’s post is not that all TV sucks (to which everyone is replying with single smart alec objections to this rule e.g. Game of Thrones) but that watching TV is crap recreation.

    You also tend to end up watching more TV than yplanned, so it becomes a net drain on your overall willpower. And other, proper forms of recreation that he listed above, require a bit of energy to organize and attend. So it is easy to get turned into the proverbial coach potato.

    I think he is also raging against the rat races so beloved of businesses that force employees to work super hard for a meager crust, and then not have any time for recreation, who then fall into the above cycle. I am truely envious of the fact that he has escaped this dynamic (or has obtained a “garden” as the Greek philosopher Epicurus would say).

    Bodi, if I have the wrong end of the stick, please let me know.

  9. I quit novels years ago, early twenties, I quit movies at 30. Series…well, I download them and watch ’em when I have anything else to do. I have days like that from time to time, so I see one season in a row easely.

    The point here is not what a particular series would be worth the watching or not…point is that, as my grandpa said to me when I watched some movie at his home and asking why he wouldn’t sit with my brother and me; Daniel, you’re watching fake lives of some other peoples and I’m tired of others trying to live something through movies and doing nothing with their real lives.

    By the way; I’m an anarchist (Spooner, Kevin Carson, Warren, etc) so I let you wrote down a fine sentence from Sons of Anarchy; only freedom man really wants, is the freedom to be confortable.

  10. TV sucks.
    All you stupid series are about fake people in fake places.
    Talking to someone in America today is pointless.
    Unless you BINGE (how DISGUSTING and PATHETIC that word is) watch TV and play on social media you are a ‘weird hater’.
    Well then, I will be that cuz your nonsensical drivel called TV makes me want to punch you and your tv in the face.
    And from a women’s point of view, there is NOTHING more unattractive than a male couch potato who OBSESSES over fake tv shows and sporting events. In all honesty, get a life.

  11. I’ve watched more TV series than I care to admit but I wholeheartedly agree with what you’ve written here. Especially binge-watching is an abomination, you’re brain dead after that. The only way to actually get any “relaxation” is to watch just one show currently on air (so that you have an alloted hour for it per week) and drop it as soon as it gets boring (which usually happens quickly). Oh, and avoid online discussions and forums like a plague.

  12. There are so many things I hate about TV series that the full list would probably exceed the max comment length. As someone who actually enjoys cinema, photography and competent storytelling, I find it bad enough when a movie wastes 90 minutes of my life for no reason, let alone 10+ hours.

    Notice how, even for the absolute best series out there, the production is waaaaay below that of even a B movie. And they need to pan out the length for each episode and for the whole season.

    This translates into poor writing such as generic / uninteresting side arcs and characters, boring pointless conversations that last for too long and / or do not advance the plot one inch, weird and annoying pacing retrofitted for the ad breaks, mandatory episode / mid-season / season end cliffhangers, etc.

    Additionally, we also get sub-par visuals, including the use of very few locations, lots of interiors (displacing the film crew can be really expensive!), cheap(er) visual effects… you get the idea.

    And yes, unfortunately this extends to even the best / best produced series out there such as Breaking Bad and others mentioned here.

    If it took Luke Skywalker less than two hours to destroy the Death Star, I don’t see why anyone should sit through multiple seasons to watch the end to a much less compelling story.

    In the words of Shakespeare, brevity is the soul of wit.

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