Comfort on Demand
For my part, I find science fiction equals comfort. I could easily sit down for a mammoth session of Star Trek or Doctor Who in the same way I might settle in with a big tub of ice cream or a bumber tube of Pringles.
I find the experience somehow soothing. I disengage to a certain extent, as I know what to expect from the experience. I can happily watch almost any version of Trek or vintage of Who. Or, perhaps I could dig out The Prisoner or Danger Man for some McGoohan spy-action. If I can insert a disc in the player and not have to get up again for a few hours, all the better. I’ll hit Play All and settle in.
I don’t discriminate between good and bad so much when I’m in the mood for a marathon. I might consider Voyager, for example, with a much more critical eye on a one-to-one basis. However, should sit down to watch an afternoon of it on Sky Atlantic (or whichever channel happens to show it at the moment), I forgive those imperfections I might otherwise pick at.
I don’t think we have enough good science fiction on television at the moment, or perhaps it simply slipped under my radar. I dislike the way the UK seems to have caught up with the US in terms of transmission schedules, as it means even when I do find something good I have to wait a lot. Mid-season hiatus, anyone? No thanks. In the old days the UK fell well behind US transmission, so you could expect to see a whole series start to finish with little if any delay. You experienced the flow of the storyline, the crescendo of whatever arc encompassed the season. Now, I sit sullenly waiting for Easter to come around simply to pick up where I left off. So, I turn to those DVDs, and even old videos, to fulfil my yearning for comfortable and dependable sci-fi viewing.
I hanker for the prospect of one demand content taken to a natural extreme. I long for the possibility of switching on my television and watching what I want when I want from whatever era takes my fancy. I shouldn’t need to stack my shelves high with media, especially given in a few years I will find that media superseded by something with a higher capacity and greater fidelity. I would happily pay for the convenience of watching content that matters to me without necessarily subsidizing people who want something else. You know the feeling. The restaurant visit with friends where someone suggests you split the bill, generally at the end of the evening when you’ve eaten with caution and restraint while everyone else had bottles of expensive imported beer, a start platter and dessert. I want to watch old science fiction on demand, and I’ll leave those who want to watch modern blockbusters and sport to pay for themselves.
I think I might watch a little Tom Baker Who this weekend. I have a DVD begging for attention on the shelf. Although, Twin Peaks has been trying to catch my eye for weeks now…