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Denette Wilford Headshot

Watching TV, Old School

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It's no coincidence that I write about TV for a living. I grew up in a family of avid TV watchers, and unlike all the projected outcomes of studies from the past and future, I didn't turn out half-bad -- with the exception that I'm a lowly blogger and not a CEO or engineer or doctor (sorry, Mom and Dad, but you can take some of the credit/blame).

If we weren't watching a TV show ("Battle of the Network Stars," "The A-Team," "Perfect Strangers" and "The Cosby Show"; yep, I just totally aged myself), it was a movie my dad recorded via our trusty Betamax (long live the better quality of the Beta!) from First Choice Superchannel.

I still miss the good ol' days when the converter box was on top of our tube television, our remote was as simple as a calculator, and our separate rewinder sat beside said Beta (then eventually, our VHS) to save the players' power. (That's not to say I don't appreciate the technology of today; I don't know what I would do without my PVR.)

But back to the days of yore, days when there wasn't so much on television at the same time competing for viewers. The days when new shows were given full seasons to find a fan base and prove they had the mettle to stick around. The days before the existence of YouTube, iTunes, MySpace, Hulu (in the U.S.), and not to mention all the networks and cable channels' websites. It's made it annoying for people like me who don't like to be spoiled, who don't like a ton of change, who like to do things old school, who like things the way they used to be. Grumble, grumble.

One of the new shows CTV and NBC are banking on this fall is "The New Normal," the latest show from Ryan Murphy (also known as the man you love/loathe for bringing us "Glee" and "American Horror Story"). If you haven't seen commercials for the comedy, then you don't watch enough TV (or weren't an Olympics whore like me). It doesn't "officially" premiere until Sept. 11 but if you don't mind watching your shows on a small screen without HD or great sound, CTV.ca will give viewers a sneak peek on Aug. 29.

It's a two-week window, and CTV hopes it will generate some serious online buzz and momentum going into its actual season. But will it work? I'm not sure. It's one thing to get viewers to watch the premiere of a show, but to get viewers to watch it online, then hope they remember to follow up in ensuing weeks is another. Don't get me wrong -- I will totally watch "The New Normal." I dig Justin Bartha and Ellen Barkin is all kinds of awesome. But I'll wait for its Sept. 11 premiere following "Anger Management," thank you very much. And I will continue to watch my shows where they should be watched: on a TV. If that makes me a crusty old lady (and based on my age, I might be just that), so be it.

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