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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writers Strike Survival Guide

The lack of new episodes is making me cranky. Like almost Dr. House cranky. I haven't resorted to painkillers, yet, but I may start my own Survivor-type contest to help me pass the time.

Since I haven't watched "Lost" since Season 1 and I'm not really into "American Idol" and I don't hate myself enough to watch "Celebrity Apprentice," the weight of the writers strike has finally sunk in with most of my favorite shows - save a few - on semi-permanent hiatus. I was so giddy last night to see the label "New" next to an episode of "Gossip Girl" that I continued to watch it even though it turned out to be an extended version of the pilot with a few cast interviews. (Also, how is that NOT misleading?!).

Entertainment Weekly did an entire issue devoted to ways to survive the writers strike blues, but here are a few of my personal tips - tried and true - to live in this wretched strike-addled world.

1. Rent or Buy TV on DVD: It's a no-brainer. Since the strike killed many of my favorites, I've found new ones via Netflix including Showtime's "The Tudors" and HBO's "The Wire." Best of all, there are no commercials. That means you don't have to watch those annoying Cadillac commercials five thousand times in an hour.

2. Reality TV. Love it or hate it, at least it's new. Take your pick of a wide field of candidates - from the ridiculously perverse ("Moment of Truth") to the suprisingly intriguing (anything on the Food Network or Travel Channel), there's a reality show for all of us out there.

3. Don't give up hope: Many shows that are currently in reruns still have a few new episodes left, including "House," "Law and Order," "Nip/Tuck," Friday Night Lights," "Boston Legal," "Psych" and "Smallville." Plus, there are several midseason replacements including "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Lipstick Jungle" and "Eli Stone."

4. Election 2008: Sure, it's politics and that's "boring," but the Presidential campaign is the most interesting reality (or scripted) show currently unfolding on the small screen. Don't believe me? Go to, type in "Mitt Romney" and "AP reporter" and enjoy. Rinse and repeat with any candidate of your choice.

5. Watch sports: It's college basketball season and you want to be prepared for your March Madness office pool, don't you? Start picking early favorites. Not a tried and true sports fan? The jersey colors are pretty. Also, not that it means anything, but the championship often goes to a team wearing blue, orange or some combination. (Editors note: this strategy has never helped me in my aspirations to win the March Madness pool).

6. Old Favorites: When I've lost all hope, there's always an episode of "Seinfeld," "Friends," "The Cosby Show" or "M*A*S*H" to save me. Rediscover an old show or rewatch a favorite episode. It's better than selling your soul to watch "1 vs. 100." I promise.

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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