Hear me out - I'm not your average TV viewer! To start, I don't have cable. This may confuse some of you. Six years ago my husband and I bought our first home in the lovely Argenta Historic District. Our home was built in 1913 and had been lovingly restored by the couple who sold it to us. This couple were non-TV watching people - basically the kind of people we should all aspire to be. Since they didn't watch TV, there were no cable outlets in the house. My husband and I called the cable company to inquire about getting set up and we found out that it would cost us a whopping $150 per cable outlet. At this point in my life I realized that my cheapness was willing to outweigh my desire to rot my brain. Forgoing cable was the best thing I have ever done and here's why - I began watching BETTER TV.
Okay, so now you're seriously confused, right? If you haven't discovered it yet, there are a million ways to watch TV without paying for cable. You're probably familiar with Netflix, and this is where my husband I retreated to when left without cable. Netflix is a wonderful service and is constantly improving and expanding. If you're not on the Netflix train, I'm not really sure how you are functioning since all of the Blockbusters closed. So, one day I'm flipping through my husband's GQ and I'm reading one of those sections on what's hot and undiscovered and they mention this thing called Hulu. Hulu provides you with most of the shows that are on major cable channels, for free. Yep, people... Cable network shows - for FREE. On the internet for anyone to watch anytime, anywhere. In the past six years, my husband and I have come up with so many tech-geek ways to stream our shows from the computer to our TV but nothing compared to when we finally gave in to our curiousoty and bought the Apple TV. Now, you're going to spend some cash on the Apple TV, but nowhere near what you would spend on cable. This device allows you to rent or buy TV episodes and shows, and movies too! I highly recommend it to people tempted to break that disfunctional relationship with their cable provider.
Besides the financial benefits, here's why I recommend you ditch cable. You will start watching better TV. Seriously... You may think that you LOVE your reality TV - I used to think there was nothing better than some good trashy reality TV. Once you have the option to watch anything, you may not want to watch those shows anymore. Once you are not scrolling through TV lineups, looking at shows Comcast/NBC/Universal would prefer you to watch at 7 PM at night, you may be slightly more choosy. Even though I watch more TV now than when I actually paid for cable, I watch (in my opinion) better TV. Call me crazy... I'm sure there's some real redeeming quality to all the Real Housewife shows, but I have no desire to watch them. I could watch them, but there are many other shows I would rather spend my crafting time watching.
Here's a few shows the Kelley-Bell household recommend you check out:
Wilfred (Benjamin Tatertot's pick)
According to FX, "Wilfred is a half-hour, live-action comedy about "Ryan," a young man struggling unsuccessfully to make his way in the world until he forms a unique friendship with "Wilfred," his neighbor’s canine pet. Everyone else sees Wilfred as just a dog, but Ryan sees a crude and somewhat surly, yet irrepressibly brave and honest, Australian bloke in a cheap dog suit. While leading him through a series of comedic and existential adventures, Wilfred the dog shows Ryan the man how to overcome his fears and joyfully embrace the unpredictability and insanity of the world around him."
I recommend this show because: If you're a dog lover, be prepared to laugh non-stop for about 20 minutes. You would think they would run out of dog-jokes, but I'm convinced after an entire season - the possibilities are endless! Elijah Wood is deliciously dark and sullen. You can't decide whether Wilfred is improving or ruining his life, but either way you love him.
Bonus: Tons of guest stars, each one better than the last.
Zombie-Brain Factor: Four Paws Up.
Watch It: On FX, or Hulu.com. They've been renewed for a second season, so catch up on the first while it's still on Hulu!
Misfits (Matt Bell's pick)
According to Hulu, "Meet Kelly, Nathan, Curtis, Alisha and Simon, five unruly teenagers forced to do community service as payback for their crimes. When a freak electrical storm hits their town, strange things begin to happen to them and they soon realize they've turned into superheroes. Each of them possess a power they didn't choose or want, a power which reveals each of their deepest, darkest insecurities. But while they just want to finish their community service and get through the challenges of everyday teenage life, fate has another task in store for them - they must save their town from the evil that has descended upon it. If you think life's tough for your average superhero, it's even tougher when you have a curfew..."
I recommend this show because: These kids are some talented actors, and the show is witty, fresh and will keep your attention from one episode to the next. You will care and wonder where their lives are headed.
Bonus: I love BBC shows. I think my favorite part of British television are the actors. They're talented and REAL. They're not on the raw food diet or hawking you crystal face cream that will make your skin just as flawless as their airbrushed ads.
Zombie-Brain Factor: I will give this one four stars. It's not The Wire, but a pretty entertaining show overall.
Watch It: On Hulu.com. They just wrapped up Season 2 and Hulu offers both seasons in their entirety.
Luther (My pick!)
Another BBC show! According to BBC, "Luther is a gripping, psychological thriller driven by a brilliant and emotionally impulsive detective tormented by the darker side of humanity. A self-destructive near-genius, Luther might just be as dangerous as the depraved criminals he hunts. In each episode, the murderer's identity is known from the start, focusing the drama on the psychological duel between predator and prey. Luther shines a light into the hearts and minds of psychopaths and killers, and the shadowy spaces of his own soul."
I recommend this show because: Who doesn't love a good cop/criminal drama? You can't decide whether you love or hate him, but either way Luther keeps you sucked in. This show is well written with talented actors and holds you in suspense.
Bonus: STRINGER BELL!!! Yes Wire fans, Stringer Bell with an accent - which quadruples his hotness. Eye candy at it's finest.
Zombie-Brain Factor: Two thumbs up! I cannot wait for the second season to start!
Watch it: On BBC America, for you cable junkies. Netflix has the first season in it's entirety. Season 2 already began in the UK but won't hit our shores until sometime in October.
I have many, MANY, other shows I could recommend to you, but I'll just leave you with these few for now. Enjoy!
Amy Kelley Bell
self-confessed TV junkie