Thursday, October 30, 2014

Watch Party

With last night’s 3-2 win, the San Francisco Giants won their third World Series title in five years, defeating the Cinderella story that was the Kansas City Royals in the deciding game of the Major League Baseball Playoffs.  It was an exciting end to an amazing postseason of a great season that brought me untold hours of joy.

But now it’s over. Thanks to the magic of, for the past six months I never had to think about what I was watching each night when things around the house were done and it was time to relax. There was baseball.  Unless there was a game I really wanted to see, I’d let my son pick which teams he wanted to watch before he went to bed. I never could figure out a pattern or favorite team of his. As best I could tell, he’d pick a game based on whichever baseball cards he was playing with that day that caught his fancy. The Marlins were more popular than I would have guessed, though I think it had something to do with their orange uniforms. After he’d go to bed, I’d turn on the Cubs or, if there was a game that caught my interest for some other reason, that game. My wife would go to bed around 9:30 and I’d stay up and watch the end of the game before picking a west coast game to fall asleep to in bed.

It obviously wasn’t that exact routine every night (there'd be far fewer references to a wife or son if it was as they’d have left me), but more often than not, baseball filled my evenings from April through October. It wasn’t always intense watching. Usually just a game on while my wife and I talked or I caught up on Twitter while my wife Pinterested – I assume that’s the conjugation of “To Pinterest” – and there were times I’d turn the sound down on the game and listen to a podcast while casually following the game.

But every year, at the end of the World Series, I’m left with an entertainment void that needs to be filled. I’ve got a couple of books I’ve been putting off reading, so I’ll be doing that, but one thing I always make sure to do is pick a television show that I’ve missed out on completely and watch it during the offseason. Last year, for example, I finally got in to the Breaking Bad phenomenon and spent the offseason watching the entire series. Often I had to limit myself to one or two episodes a night and follow it with a comedy before going to bed because of how intense it was. There’d been enough chatter about the show online and among friends that it was an easy choice for me to pick as my offseason show.

But this year, I’m still not sure what I’m going to watch. I’ve got two brothers and both of them have made their pitch for what I need to see. One, who happens to live just outside Washington DC, says I should watch The West Wing. The other says I need to watch Friday Night Lights. (I’ve put off watching FNL mostly because I’ve read the book by the same name and it was turned off by the premise of the show being so different from what was portrayed in the book. I know that’s a mental hurdle I have to overcome and nothing against the show. Finally, had several friends push Parenthood as one I should watch. Other than the fact it has Lauren Graham in it, I really don’t know much about the show, so I’d be going in to it with only the expectations of it being really good.

One I’d considered before reaching out to others for suggestions was The Sopranos, especially now that it’s streaming on Amazon Prime. I feel like that’s one of those shows I’m supposed to watch to be culturally fluent in America in 2014, well, more likely culturally fluent in 2008 but given the amount of baseball I watch annually, it shouldn’t shock anyone that I’m not up to date, culturally, with televised entertainment.

But now I turn to you for suggestions. What do I need to watch between now and April when baseball season starts again? I’m not saying it has to stream on Netflix or Amazon Prime for me to watch it (we are that family that still has a Netflix DVD plan), but it would be helpful. So help me out here, what do I need to watch?

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