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In Memoriam Cable TV

Food, phone calls, and random errands could wait till the episode was over. Cable TV did not offer the privilege of being paused. ‘Miss it and it’s gone’ added thrill to the plot.

cable tv

Cable had enticed us for a time long enough to become a habitual participle of entertainment. It gave way to newer characters in lives of people; the cringeworthy and not-so cringeworthy shows once which would have not navigated by choice. Numerous re-runs have umpteen number of times saved everyone from the paradox of choice and the hard decision of choosing a movie. The delight of finding an excellent movie running on air while pointlessly flipping channels has been robbed off.

Waiting for the next episode is a thing of the past. Serials and seasons are available online for binge-watching. Thus, there is no room for the exploding anticipation and momentum. Cable TV had carved a sense of routine and certainty around our daily lives. Weekdays were for daily soaps and weekends meant a blockbuster movie or award functions. The sense of obviousness and predictability is now redundant. The absurdity of watching a blockbuster movie on a Wednesday night surely puzzles Sheldon Cooper and me.

Everyone was watching the same thing on Cable TV; it felt like a community. Way easier to bond and do small talk.

Back in times, TV time meant family time and cross-generational war over the remote control. Cable TV almost came with an inbuilt noise of bickering siblings. An unwritten schedule would prevail in the entire household. And the same was compiled by family. TV room was a centre of activity. Sports matches and award functions were family events. After school hours meant cartoon for kids, late evenings meant news hours for male members and dinners were reserved for daily soaps. Synchronic watching was a real thing; When ad breaks would be effectively utilized to watch two or more TV soaps simultaneously to cater to everyone’s requirements. Now it is more about chronic binge-ing episodes; entire seasons are watched in a single go.

Without doubt, Netflix has ushered an era of ever-expanding palette of TV shows and movies of every genre. It is supposed to be gratifying and liberating; it comes with an option to pause and continue wherever and whenever. No commitment for months and years altogether.

Netflix is amazing. Yet, cable television has my heart.

Gurnoor Mutreja


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