The “Real” Purpose of TV (& Movies): Education, Inspiration, and Storytelling, Part 2

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the purpose of TV and I think I sold it (TV) short. That is, in that post, I essentially decried TV: Watching TV is a mechanism that allows people to stay at jobs that they are otherwise less pleased about. Being able to tune into a created […]

The Sunk Cost Trap on TV: Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope

A few months ago on the popular TV series “Scandal,” the fictional President of the United States fell into the sunk cost trap: We have to get Olivia back, not just because I love her, not just because having her out there is a threat to national security. There are soldiers who are never coming home […]

How to Stop Binge-Watching

Thirty-years ago if you told someone that you ‘binge-watched’ MacGyver over the weekend they would have looked at you funny — mostly because binge-watching wasn’t really common parlance, but also because you couldn’t binge-watch in the 80s the way that you can now. Today, you can fire up your computer (or set-top box) and stream episode after episode. […]

Solving False Equivalence in Politics?

Last week, John Oliver had a great segment that poked fun at how most (all?) television outlets cover climate change. Take a look: Upon watching it, I didn’t think that Oliver was going to “even out” the representation in a physical manner. Instead, I thought that he was going to solve the issue of the “talking heads” appearing equal. Let me explain. […]

How Big Data Can Make Watching Baseball More Fun

I like baseball. I played it all throughout my youth and my years as a teenager. So, not surprisingly, I also like to watch baseball. Watching baseball on TV has come quite a ways. While baseball was first televised in the 1930s, instant replay didn’t come along until almost 1960. Nowadays, you can’t watch a game without seeing […]

Should We Be Reading Instead of Binge-Watching?

If you’ll recall from yesterday’s post, humans are wired for binge-watching. I wonder — are we spending too much time “vegging out” binge-watching when we’d be better off reading? The map above comes from a post from Gizmodo earlier this month. It might be a bit hard to read the numbers, but it shows the […]

What’s Better: Binge-Watching TV or Movies?

Quite some time ago (maybe 1-3 years ago?), I remember Matt Yglesias writing something about how movies were far superior to TV shows. That opinion has stuck with me for a while. It’s not that I agreed or disagreed, but I found the idea curious. With the explosion of binge-watching, I wondered if Matt Yglesias […]

Evidence that Liberals and Conservatives Can Have Civilized Conversations on Climate Change

This past summer, I talked about a segment on a cable news show in the US called, “All In With Chris Hayes.” I first started watching Chris Hayes when he started his weekly weekend show, “Up With Chris Hayes,” (that has since been renamed for the new host, Up With Steve Kornacki). I really liked […]

Should it be Illegal to Call Someone ‘fat’ on TV?

Jennifer Lawrence thinks so. Take a look: She certainly makes a good point. If we’re regulating other words that are spoken on TV because of the effect they have on younger generations, why not the word fat? I can already begin to see the argument against: “if we start regulating words like ‘fat,’ does this […]

Cable TV in Trouble? 43% of Young Adults Subscribe to Netflix

I’ve written a few times about TV, but a post from Mashable (with data!) convinced me even more that TV, or at least the viewers of it, are headed elsewhere. Take a look at the graphic below: Pay close attention to the % of American adults who subscribe to Cable TV and Netflix. In particular, […]