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January 29, 2014

The Bewitching Power of Television: TV Shows Can Entertain, Inspire, and Bring People Together

by Mariah Schaefer

For most people, it is hard to imagine life without a certain beloved television show. From hilarious, smart comedies like Community to heart-warming, underrated dramas like Parenthood, viewers have an infinite number of options to choose from when looking for the perfect show to binge watch on a Friday night. One watches two or three episodes, and then the inevitable happens: He or she gets attached.  Falling in love with a television show is very common, especially when that television show captivates a person throughout an entire episode and leaves the viewer wanting more. Some show creators and writers are so innovative and creative that it is only natural  to idolize their work. Television shows have to power of bringing people together through fandoms, groups of fans.

Lindsay Green, an English teacher at Centennial High School, spoke of the benefits of fandoms. “[Through fandoms], you get to see your show and what you love from all kinds of different perspectives. You also get the moments where you might have missed something and someone else picked up on it. All kinds of different cultures kind of [come] together, like the Sherlock fandom. If you are on Tumblr, you are talking to people from China, Australia, and the UK, and everybody’s talking about all of the kinds of different things that they’re seeing. It’s a really wonderful uniting force around something you’re passionate about,” said Green.

Television shows allow you to connect not only with people from distant places but also with people you already know. Corinne Lee, a junior at Centennial, said she bonds with her family while watching TV shows.

“My family, we usually watch shows as a family, so I usually watch Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey every Sunday. If we aren’t all sitting there watching Downton Abbey, then we record it and we all make a time where everyone can watch it, so we just watch our shows together. It’s really awesome, and it makes me happy,” explained Lee.

Lindsay Green also bonds with family while watching television shows. She said, “When Hannibal comes out, my cousin and I, we immediately watch Hannibal, and we always watch the episode right before the new one coming out.”

Everyone demands something different from their source of entertainment, and luckily, there are many kinds of shows from different genres to fulfill television watchers’ needs.

For Corinne, a television show has to have a dramatic side. She commented, “There needs to be a little bit of drama in order for it to be captivating, because if it’s just funny, then it’s kind of boring because it’s constant jokes. If it’s just action, then you’re like, ‘Okay, when are they going to stop fighting someone?” so a little bit of emotional drama is good.”

Ms. Green looks at the characters to decide if the show is captivating. “Strong characterization [is important]. If I can’t lock into a character, then I’m not interested,” stated Green.

Do not be afraid to plunge head first into watching a television show you find amazing. When the story is good, it is okay to binge watch the show once in a while. Just remember that television shows do not last forever, so watch them while they are still airing and before television networks suddenly cancel them. The termination of a show can be very devastating. Only certain shows with devoted fans come back for another season, like Arrested Development, or return as a movie, like Veronica Mars.

“If a show ends, and you don’t feel like it should end, that’s probably one of the most devastating things I can think of,” declared Green.

Even if you are downhearted due to the cancellation of a show, always try to think on the bright side. Television shows can be true masterpieces, making you yearn for the next episode. They can inspire you and teach you. They might have eight seasons or only one, but they all have the power to change you. So, do not hesitate, find your favorite television show, and just press play.

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