Today I’ll be writing about something near and dear to many, but mostly lost on me: television. I would guess that in most developed countries TV features pretty consistently into most people’s lives, whether they’re watching casually, eating in front of the TV (pet peeve), or just use it as background noise. My university students even constantly tell me about such-and-such show and ask me who my favorite ‘talent’ is, performer or slightly popular person.
I have to level with you though. TV shows in Japan are 98% terrible. So terrible in fact husband and I decided to stop paying for any connection. So, in effect, we don’t have TV. We have a television, but it’s primary purpose is video games for the husband. This alarms a great deal of my students. That isn’t to say I hate TV or don’t watch anything, I just don’t like to do things that have a set time I can’t speed through usually, like a 25-minute TV show is going to take 25 minutes (unless I chipmunk speed up their voices).
So, Japanese TV, why so terrible? Most of it has to do with the dreaded “variety show”. A “variety show” consists of twenty or so “famous people” though the term can mean “he starred in a commercial once” or “she does late night comedy for perverts”. These famous people are joined by one or two hosts and they usually watch some video clip about react to it, or debate. It is mind-numbing. And. They. Are. All. The. Same!
When it comes to Japanese TV shows I do enjoy one every now and again, but they are few and far between. Yuusha Yoshihiko (Hero Yoshihiko) comes to mind, Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) (which helped me learn a lot of Japanese and talk like a boy for 2-3 years), and of course I enjoy a few anime now and then. And I love, love, love YouTube’s Ponkotsu Quest, which sadly I cannot find a version of with English subtitles. As well as Aggressive Retsuko (has English subtitles), well done Sanrio!
As for watching foreign TV (not Japanese) we usually watch on Amazon Prime, which can take years and years for a show to be subtitled in Japanese (husband’s English is pretty good, but not native speed good) because we like to watch together. We’re watching Friends, which I hated as a child, but now love. Steven Universe, which he doesn’t need subtitles for (I’m so proud of him!). And, sadly, since it has yet to air in Japan in any way I stream episodes of Brooklyn 99 for myself to enjoy. Police lingo is hard enough as a native, it’s impossible for me to enjoy crime shows in Japanese as well.
All in all though, we end up watching maybe 3-5 hours of TV a week. This is mostly because I’m a binger when it comes to B99, so I wait until a season is out.
So what TV do you enjoy? I think it’s important that if you are going to watch television you take care of work first though, but I’m a super perfectionist and Type-A.
Serena’s Favorite Shows of All Time:
- Trigun (My favorite of all time, dystopia and religion and the best MC.)
- Outlaw Star (Space opera, grappling ships, lots of space races.)
- Suisei no Gargantia (If you like giant robots,science, and water dystopia watch this!)
- Pushing Daisies (Look! Not anime! a shame it lasted two seasons only.)
- Kamen Rider Kabuto (Also not animation, and with lots of pretty boys and cheesy lines and choreography.)
- Brooklyn 99 (Possibly the best US drama. Lots of PoC cast and no jokes aimed at them! Also, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, and Andre Braugher.)
- Pirates of Dark Water (I am a child of the 80s, can you tell?)
- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Aw, YouTube’s version of Pride & Prejudice was adorable.)
- Sailor Moon (Hey, it saved me at a bad time and I will always stand by it, except Crystal.)
- Steven Universe (It’s just so wholesome and good and gives me warm fuzzies! Also, the songs are so catchy! ♪Donuts! At the Big Donut~♪)