Hate Watch

People sometimes ask me why I watch shows like Doctor Who or Sherlock if I hate them so much. Well, for one thing, I don’t hate them. I don’t have the time or energy to expend on watching things I don’t like at least a little. Just because I’m not gung-ho about something, doesn’t mean I hate it.

There is an element of rubbernecking involved, I suppose. I watch these shows—and I watched Smash too—for the same reasons people slow down and stare on the highway or read all the gruesome details in a news story. In short, one can’t look away from the wreckage. The mess and the horror born of the aftermath are overwhelming.

But more so than that, the reason I keep watching these shows is because I’ve seen how wonderful they can be, and I’m constantly hoping they’ll be really good again some day. It’s why we keep going to movies that feature our favorite aging actors: We remember them from their heydays and continue to value them for their contributions. Even when there are diminishing returns.

If a fan tries to tell you a show (or actor) is perfect, it’s a sign they lack discernment. Nothing is perfect. It’s all relative, and it’s all subjective, and for me the question is: Does it entertain me? Hold my interest? If it irks me, why? Because even something that irks me means it hits a mark somewhere in me; better to irritate me than for me to not care at all.

I don’t watch shows I “hate.” I watch shows I enjoy, or have enjoyed in the past and hope to be able to enjoy again (when they heal themselves).

And when do I give up on a patient? When do I pull that proverbial plug? Same as any doctor, I have to take it one case at a time.

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