I’m one of those people who likes to watch TV to wind down before bedtime, you know, to flip through the disengage-from-the-day style of programming. I’ve long been a fan of all of the “info’ channels: The Science Channel, History Channel, Discovery, the Military Channel, The Learning Channel, The Smithsonian Channel, History Channel 2, etc. etc. Used to be, I could count on these niche cable networks for a good dose of documentary lite—-that perfect blend of Sir David Attenborough voiceovers and long shots of antelopes on the savannah, or the grainy WWII footage of fighter pilots soaring high above the earth.
Lately, however, at the all-important 9 or 10 o’clock hour, I’m more likely to get a good case of PTSD than the sleepies. Consider the programming mix one recent night: ‘Man Eating Supercroc,’ ‘Death Beach’ (killer sharks), ‘Night Stalkers’ (more crocs), ‘Serial Killer Earth,’ ‘Top Secret Weapons Revealed,’ and ‘Very Bad Men’ (which featured a LA serial rapist and gang violence).
Not to mention The Learning Channel (TLC), which could be renamed TFC: The Freak Channel. The show ‘Taboo’ that same night featured an overweight man who wore diapers and slept in an oversized crib (clutching a teddy bear), as well as women who carry around “reborn” dolls that have been repainted to look like creepy almost-babies.
My last hope was ‘How Do They Do It,’ in which “hosts and correspondents showcase the world’s favorite ice cream flavor.” I took a deep breath during the commercial break, then fell asleep before I could find out which one it was.