Box Culture

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but while I have a television, I haven’t had “television” (cable or broadcast) for many years, and I don’t miss it. If I had it, I would probably spend all my free time watching the Cartoon Network. But I don’t, so I don’t.

No, when I watch TV, I watch it by the box—the boxed set. I drink beer the same way. To carry the analogy so far that it can’t be seen anymore, I don’t have to have my beer parceled out week-by-week by some broadcast bartender, who might or might not decide to preempt my next one in favor of a special, expanded edition for the guy next to me.

Well, like everything else I write, that’s neither here nor there. The point is that watching boxed sets has its disadvantages (costs more) as well as its advantages (a more kindly overview).

(What I mean by that is, every television series has its sucky episodes. Through the box, I can say “Eh,” and move on to the next one. Maybe that one, the next one, will be good, and if not, there’s another one after that. If I have to wait a week, however, I have a whole week to contemplate just how sucky that episode was, and wonder if perhaps I’m wasting my time with the series. When the sucky ones can be overwhelmed by the good ones, you have a much better chance of winning me over.)

Well, anyway. One of the nice things about the big chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Sam’s Club is that they sometimes get the idea to chop the price pretty severely for some of these box sets. I picked up all four Futurama sets for around $20, and the first three Smallville boxes for a little more than that. I also bought the first Buffy for around $15, but Buffy didn’t fly with me. Understand, it was well-constructed and likeable, it just wasn’t me.

These series, though, are for the most part shows where the buzz has left. They’ve either been cancelled (Futurama, Buffy, Arrested Development) or the stars are looking outward (Smallville—how’d that remake of The Fog do for you, Tom?). The smashes and the uber-cult items still remain high priced.

Until Target comes along and, every now and then, decides to cut the price considerably. Once in a while, they’ll have an “unadvertised special” or whatever, and offer some good stuff at a good price. Which is how I recently acquired season one of “Lost” and the whole run of “Firefly.”

What did I think of them?

Well, the jury is still out, but here are some preliminary thoughts…(to be continued).