The interweb tells me there are four key questions to ask myself when considering whether or not to keep something: Do I want it? Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I like it?
I feel like only one of those questions — do I like it? — applies to TV watching.
First to be axed from my queue was The Bachelor. This show is so ridiculous and Heidi’s recaps are way better than watching the actual show. Next to go were CW’s Crazy Ex Girl Friend and Jane the Virgin. Both of these shows I loved in the beginning, but lately the stories seem like a snooze fest. The same goes for ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fox’s New Girl — Megan Fox, really?!? –, NBC’s Blindspot and Hulu original 11.22.63. New shows like CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, MTV’s Shannara Chronicles and Fox’s Second Chances seemed super intriguing as pilot episodes, but have failed to keep my attention. To be honest, usually when I’m “watching” these shows, I’m actually stalking Sam Heughan on Twitter, taking quizzes on Buzzfeed to find my Soul’s True Color or watching cats ride Roombas.
Kicking all these programs off my queue felt easy, liberating even. I began to think about what I was going to do with all my free time…
But then came the hard decisions. There are three shows which I regularly and faithfully watch, but honestly don’t super enjoy. Two of them — CW’s Supernatural and Arrow — I watch because I loved them for a long time and one — Freeform’s Shadowhunters — I watch because I’m hopeful it can become a good show. Admitting this is super awkward. I’ve done recaps for Supernatural! I love #Olicity! Cassandra Clare, for all her faults, created the Herondale clan!
I’m still on the fence about cutting these shows out of my life, Supernatural especially. I have loved the series for a long time and will argue to the death that seasons 1 through 5 are arguably some of the best TV ever made. I still get choked up when the Winchesters are fighting and laugh out loud when they do silly things like lip sync ‘Eye of the Tiger.’ But the writing has started to feel lazy and the long network breaks over holidays aren’t doing the show any favors.
Next, I looked at all my subscription plans. I regularly subscribe to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Plus, HBO Now and Feeln. Amazingly, I have always avoided cable and satellite TV because it’s too expensive. Yet, somehow, I have managed to subscribe to five different channels.
Let’s break them down…
HBO Now has great content, but most of the time it is available for upwards of six months after the “premiere” date, i.e., the selection gets boring over time. I only watch one series, Game of Thrones, and it only airs for a few months a year.
Netflix is cheap, filled to the gills with older content I love to binge on rainy days and has tons of G-rated programs for my kid to watch.
Amazon Plus has much of the same content as Netflix, though they do have a few original series I enjoy like The Man In High Castle. They will also soon be airing my husband’s favorite TV show of all time, the revamped Top Gear that is no longer being called Top Gear.
Feeln is a Hallmark franchise that is available for $23.99 annually. I bought it on a whim, looking for a ton of feel good Christmas movies.
Hulu, on the one hand, offers all the new episodes of our favorite shows like The Flash, Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The 100 and The Tonight Show. On the other, the cheaper plan has super annoying commercial breaks and most of the shows go off the air for weeks at a time during holidays and over the summer.
HBO Now was the first plan I cancelled. I plan on renewing service intermittently, a month or two at a time. That will be cheaper than buying a “season pass” — usually just under $40 via Apple TV — for Game of Thrones and I’ll get a moderate selection of movies during those months as a bonus. I don’t see myself canceling Netflix anytime soon. My husband loves free two-day shipping from Amazon and their TV service comes free if you want that option, so we’re keeping it. Feeln was cancelled. Hulu, after much debate, will be cancelled come May when most shows go off the air. I hope the summer break will wean us off the idea of new weekly episodes and we won’t renew next fall.
With studies showing more and more that too much TV damages your brain, I think this purge is an important step for me and my family. Will it hurt? Yes. Will there be a transition period when my house feels too quiet and I’m bored out of my mind? Also yes. In the end, though, I’ll have less clutter in my queue and in my brain.