By Jason Snell
January 31, 2019 3:09 PM PT
Applications Folder: TV Time
Times of Confusion. The Platinum Age. Peak TV. These are all phrases used by Tim Goodman, chief TV critic at The Hollywood Reporter (and my fellow host on the TV Talk Machine Podcast) to describe the absolute flood of high-quality scripted television programming that’s inundating our eyeballs today.
Now let me complain about how my gold-and-diamond shoes pinch my toes a bit. There’s so much good TV that it can be overwhelming to figure out what to watch, and since so much of it drops in bingeable seasons (across multiple streaming services as well as traditional TV) it’s easy to lose track of what you’re watching and where you are in any given season.
After years of resisting the ridiculous idea of using an app to track my television viewing, I finally gave in and started using TV Time. (I use it on my iPad, but it’s also available on the web.) TV Time is far from perfect, but it’s gone a long way toward letting me getting back in control of what we watch. I can add shows I’m interested in, see when favorite series are due to return, and see at a glance what shows I’m currently watching (and where I am in any given season). When we’re done watching, I swipe to check the episode off of my to-do list.
Yes, this makes watching TV sound like work. But the watching isn’t the work! I love that there are so many great entertainment choices out there. I just need a system to track what I’m watching, and TV Time has been helpful on that score.
Here’s some advice you didn’t ask for: I highly recommend the practice of programming your own TV viewing, cycling through more than one show. We had a great time last summer pairing Amazon’s “Red Oaks” and “Mozart in the Jungle” and watching them as a back-to-back comedy block like the network lineups of the Must See TV era. After the comedies, we programmed a drama series. That gave us a two-hour TV lineup that we programmed ourselves, mixing comedy and drama and allowing us not to overdose on a single show binged in a few sittings.
I also recommend not watching too many shows at once, in the same vein as not recommending that you read a bunch of different books at one time. A few, especially of different types, seems appropriate. But late in December I realized we were in the middle of at least a half-dozen streaming seasons, and we didn’t have enough forward momentum in any of them. At that point I put a hard pause on one of my very favorite shows, “Travelers”, and decided to wrap up season 2 of “Patriot” (#sadspies) and season 3 of “Daredevil” before returning to “Travelers” or starting “Runaways,” another show I’d been anticipating for some time.
It feels a bit weird holding favorite shows rather than diving right into them, but I think I’ll enjoy them more by being patient and slowly moving them into my viewing rotation. Your mileage will vary, of course. But no matter what your approach, you might find TV Time to be a helpful app companion.