One thing we have decided in our family is to intentionally NOT pay for television. It is not so much the paying for it, but the fact that putting money toward something that we don’t want to encourage (for our children or us). Therefore, we have never had cable. Nor dish.

Just broadcast television. With rabbit-ears (or for geeks). Broadcast TV is kinda’ like vowels (you know: a, e, i, o u, & sometimes y): ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, & sometimes FOX.

Paying upwards of $45 per month just to waste my time in front of the tube when I should be tending to my family, work, or social life is just ridiculous. I can’t believe how much TV people watch.

There is also the fact that there is so much crap on that I don’t want my children (or me) to be exposed. There really is not much good about it. Neil Postman wrote a very sober criticism in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death.

The thing that one has to remember is that the purpose of TV is not to inform, entertain, or (for the PBS crowd) even educate; it exist only to sell. To sell what, you may ask? A worldview (along with all of the trappings that go with it). I am not just talking about the commericals, but the shows. Mr. Postman does a terrific job, you really should read that book. Maybe someone will make it into a documentary?

Yeah, maybe.

Anyone, one telling story about how little TV-and yet how much it still does-have a role in the life of our family is this one:

While my wife and I were on a great vacation this summer, our children were being cared for by their grandparents. Not my parents-my parents didn’t load me up on sugar, while keeping me up late watching all-kinds of TV-but my children’s grandparents. Big difference; huge.

Anyway, when we got back my children began telling me about all of the great showscrap they got to watch on cable’s “kid’s channels.” Then they told me about the other “shows.” The McDonald’s show, and the Barbie show, and the Star Wars action figure show, and the Hello Kitty show…etc, etc, ad nauseum. It took me some time before I realized that they were telling me about the commericals. They had mistaken commercials for actual entertainment. Huh? Boy aren’t they sheltered. Our oldest is eight years old before she had ever actually seen a TV commerical.

Don’t get me wrong, our kids do watch TV. It is just very controlled. Very controlled; both the quality and the quantity. The majority of their viewing actually consists of videos, such as Little House, The Lone Ranger, Popeye, Veggie Tales, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride. They also get to watch a select few shows on PBS, like Liberty Kids, Zoom, and …thats about it. At the most, I would say that they watch about 3-5 hours per week. Most weeks less; others, more.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy watching TV. I can potato with the best of ’em (is potato a verb?). I know it is a weakness of mine.

Anyway, all of the above is preamble to the point of this post: my current/recent favorite shows. My wife and I rather enjoy the following shows.

Shows we will tape or really not like to miss:

Shows we will watch when we are too lazy and are weak and turn on the tube:

  • Numb3rs
  • Without a Trace
  • According to Jim

Shows we have seen, but are appalled by:

  • Desperate Housewives
  • CSI: Anything
  • Law & Order: Anything
  • Two and a Half Men

Any other shows I cannot comment on, because I have not seen.