So I’m obsessed.
Television, for me, isn’t just escapism. It is, very occasionally, a way of life. Lots of people devote whole days to reading books. People boast about how they finished War and Peace in under a week. That’s commitment. But if I were to admit that I’ve just spent the last week watching television people would be appalled.
So, you know, get ready to do that.
For a whole week I have done nothing but stare at that flicking box in the corner. I did leave to eat and sleep and exercise occasionally but during normal office hours, and sometimes overtime, the couch was where I was.
There’s a very good reason for this. That reason is a DVD box set, a children’s drama and some of the best scripts in television history. Its called Press Gang and I suggest you devote a week of your life to it as well.
This blog isn’t supposed to be reviews. In fact I’ve made a conscious effort to keep my personal viewing obsessions out of the equation. But this show is all I can think about right now. I fall asleep contemplating Spike and Lynda. I’ve been unable to have a conversation that lasts more than 5 minutes and doesn’t bring it up. The voice in my head belongs to Lynda Day. My Twitter feed is starting to look like the thoughts of a crazy obsessive fan girl. I usually try and do that in my own time.
But there is a valid point here. Why is television, good television, so very different to a good book? If I re-wrote this post and replaced Press Gang with the collected works of Tolstoy would anyone batter an eyelid? So because the story plays out in front of you and doesn’t give me eye strain somehow its less valid?
This show is what great writing should be. More than once I needed to go and have a little lie down between episodes because I was shaking so much. I watched the final episode almost an hour ago and my heart rate (I kid you not) has still not returned to normal. Intermingled with the kind of tension that causes self harm (nails in palms, and hair pulling anyone?) is a tale of true love that actually makes you believe in soul mates. And every episode, even the ones that make you want to scream because you’ve had your intestines ripped out and tied in knots, even then you laugh loud enough for someone in the next room to ask what’s wrong.
I can’t remember ever reading a book that made me laugh until my checks were marked with tear tracks. I have enough fingers to tell you about the ones that have made me cry. I’m not knocking books, I love books, I’d just like TV to get a little bit more credit. Its an art form people. There are just as many crap books as there are crap TV shows. And in both mediums there are flashes of brilliance.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an extras disk and some auto commentary to watch.