Sunday, March 6, 2016

Downtown Cabbie

     I am sitting here typing this blog while the rest of the world, well the US, seems to tuned into PBS to watch the finale of a long standing dramatic series:  Downtown Cabbie.  I think it is about the trials and tribulation of a New York cab driver trying to eke out a livelihood in world of political and economic uncertainty not to mention the rise of Uber.  It sounds like a gripping, though depressing, theme for a television series.  I suppose if we suspend reality a bit, we can accept that the cab driver is from a war torn Middle Eastern country.  The subplots are that his only son is feeling the tug of ISIS propaganda, his wife wants to don a hijab against his better judgement, and his daughter wants to forsake her heritage and just blend in.  Downtown Cabbie.  The last show is tonight and everyone is watching it but me.
     Of course, I know that the series is really Downton Abbey set in England and a google search yielded the following description:
The series begins with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, which leaves Downton Abbey's future in jeopardy, since the presumptive heirs of Robert, Earl of Grantham -- his cousin James, and James' son, Patrick -- die in the catastrophe, leaving the family without a male offspring to take over Downton when the current lord dies. The point is important since Lord Grantham's children are daughters -- Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil, but the facets of their lives and of those of the below-stairs staff -- also a highly regimented world -- have fascinating story lines.
     I have never watched or gotten into a series on PBS.  I have friends and family that are devoted to them.  I cannot even recall the names of these series.  I do believe a predecessor to Downton was Masterpiece Theater or something like that or maybe Downton Abbey is the latest offering of Masterpiece Theater.  See how out of it I am?
     Netflix and other cabley networks have presumably seen what PBS and the BBC have done with Downton and other shows.  They have created their own dramatic series that seem to have attracted equally devoted fans.  But, I have no clue what these shows are and what they are about either.  I have never watched any of them.  I only know they exist because I hear people talking about them.  They don't talk so much about the plots or characters but brag in a way of how they spent a whole weekend watch years one through n.  There is even a name given to this.  It is called binge watching.  As I have never watched these shows, I have never really binged watched them either.  
     What are these shows?  Here are the top rated ones reported from some other google search:

  • Breaking Bread or Bad
  • Game of Cards
  • The Walking Dead
  • House of Thrones
  • Black is the new Orange
  • Ad Men or Bad Men... I forget.  Maybe it's Breaking Bad Men?
  • Sons of Armenia... wait that can't be right.
     It is not that I don't watch TV.  But the last series I watched religiously was Seinfeld.  It was on NBC.  I do believe that part of still believes these upstart cable networks are still a passing fad and the only series worth watching are on CBS, NBC, and ABC... period end of story.  Come to think of it, I cannot even name a series on one of those networks.  Perhaps they have all moved to reality TV and talent contests. 
     So, what do I watch on TV?  Basically, sports and movies.  By sports, I mean football mostly.  I am also prone to watch the same movies over and over again.  I will watch watch any Errol Flynn swashbuckler, The Marx Brothers, the more classic Humphrey Bogart films, any Harry Potter, and high body count movies.  I will watch several uplifting sport movies overtime they are on.  These include Miracle, The Blind Side, and Wimbledon.   Yet, I will not binge watch Harry Potter.
     Have I ever binge watched?  Yes, every New Years Day.  I binge watch football and rarely make it to the evening games because, I am simply weary of it.  Even when there is a Three Stooges or Seinfeld Marathon (which is what binge watching used to be called), I rarely watch more than an hour.  These comedies are for savoring not binging.
    My favorite binge watching ever though was in in 1991.  My wife and daughter were going off on an overnight girl scout campout.  My son and I had the day to ourselves.  I asked him what he wanted to do.  He said with pure 10 year old glee, "Dad, let's rent Terminator 1 and Terminator 2 and watch them."  We did and created a wonderful memory for me.
     Well, Downton Abbey has ended.  Hopefully, something special will come along
to fill the void.  Maybe, whatever it is will be special enough to grab my attention and get me into mainstream... or at least give me something else to blog about.