The golden era of television?

Originally posted on my TV Guide blog at 7:31 PM on 09/18/06

I’m sure some old-timers will rise up to challenge that claim, but it’s hard to ignore the onslaught of truely enjoyable television coming down the pike this year from all the broadcast networks (except i and MyNetwork).

The sheer numbers of excellent shows on every day of the week will make it difficult for me to keep up, even using a TiVo, cable on demand and the Internet. It’s so bad, I’m thinking about hooking up my VCR to get everything.

The fall television season is just getting started and already my schedule and TiVo are full. It’s not just my TiVo, I’ve got several hours of TV downloaded from the iTunes Store that is dying to be watched (including season finales from Lost, Desperate Housewives and Greys Anatomy).

Not only is the programming excellent, but this is an excellent time to sample new shows. Before this season even started, I’ve had “sneak peek” access to new shows via DVD (several FOX pilots), Cable On Demand (Monk, Psych), the iTunes Store (Heroes) and TiVo (The Class). I don’t think the average viewer has had so much access to television before.

I don’t forsee this glut lasting — someone has to pay for all this after all. Some formats will have to fall by the wayside as advertisers grow increasingly fickle.

This fickleness has led to the ratings people discounting TiVo viewers if they don’t watch the show “live.” It’s understandable because of the limited commercial skipping, but it’s still sad that viewers are being “discounted.”

Just for laughs, here’s my planned TV schedule for fall 2006:

Monday – There’s a lot of variety on Monday with sitcoms The Class (CBS), How I Met Your Mother (CBS) playing early in the evening with the more dramatic Heroes (NBC) and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) wrapping my night.

Tuesday – Veronica Mars (CW) is my lock for the night although I’m tempted by Knights of Prosperity (ABC). I’ll give Gilmore Girls (CW) a shot, but I may tackle Friday Night Lights (NBC). At 10 p.m., maybe I’ll try Smith.

Wednesday – There’s some good stuff that I’m not watching (like Lost). 30 Rock (NBC) is probably the show I’ll go out of my way to watch, but Jericho (CBS) sounds interesting.

Thursday – Again, a lot of good stuff I probably won’t get to, but The Office and My Name is Earl (NBC) are my locks for the night.

Friday – On the face of it, Friday looks pretty bleak … on the broadcast networks. That’s why, aside from Betty the Ugly (ABC), I’ll be watching Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who (Sci Fi).

Saturday – OK, Saturday is bleak. Still, I’ll tune in to Saturday Night Live (NBC).

Sunday – Wow, I’ll be all over the dial on this night. FOX has me for The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. I’ll be watching CW for Everybody Hates Chris. For late night, I’ll catch Iron Chef America on Food Network and the Adult Swim slate on Cartoon Network.