The autumn cleanup

Dave Bartlett
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Making space on the PVR before a flood of new fall shows

Instead of taking the next two weeks to discuss the upcoming comedies and dramas about to debut on the major networks, this year I’ve decided to record and watch at least the first episode of all 28 new shows and report back to you during the fall, warts and all. Some of these shows will be terrible, but sometimes it’s nice to compare the good with the bad.

Det. Insp. Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Det. Sgt. Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) appear in a publicity photo for the TV series “Broadchurch.”  — Submitted image

For the first time in a couple of years, this fall will see a new Canadian made comedy — CityTV’s “Packaged Deal” — and a new Canadian drama in CTV’s “Played.” They are on my list, as is CBC’s rebroadcast of the European show “Crossing Lines.”

But how will I fit all this new stuff onto my PVR until I get around to watch it all?

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, my PVR had 109 recordings still captured digitally and ready for my watching whims.

Even if each program is a mere 30 minutes, that’s more than 50 hours of TV, pretty impressive when I’ve recently dumped a number of other shows from the machine to clear space. But I still have a ways to go.

The 13 titles still stored fall into three, well four, categories: keepers, current shows and stuff to finish watching and delete. And then there’s “Doctor Who.” More on that in a few weeks.

Keepers are shows I’ve finished but am trying to hang on to as long as possible to watch again.

I want to watch the entire first season of History’s “Vikings” before the second season begins in 2014. The only other show that falls into the category is “Broadchurch,” which I’ve already watched twice.

I’m glad I watched it again, as the first time around I was a bit disappointed with the final episode. Unlike American crime dramas, the revelation of who killed Danny Latimer came as a complete surprise, and I wondered if there may have been a lack of foreshadowing.

But the second time around, you realize it’s there, just very subtle. I can’t remember the last time I watched a season of a show twice through at a marathon pace and enjoyed every minute — both times.

But more space is needed, down to 101.

The current show category includes a single “Amazing Race Canada” episode, which by the time you read this has been automatically replaced with this week’s episode. Ditto with the summer reruns of “Elementary.” I watch these shows as they air, and that will continue into their new seasons.

I also have a handful of “The Big Bang Theory” reruns to finish as my current stock sitcom — I watch one or two a day and delete them. But I’m looking for a replacement, as I’m starting to see the same episodes again and again. Time to change the PVR settings.

The six remaining shows, and one movie, are watch and delete, and vary in my actual level of interest, so the time has come to decide … watch, kill or put on the sudden death list.

The feature film “Friday Night Lights,” which the TV series was based on, was on TV a week or so back. I’d never seen it so I pushed the little red button. I’ll get to it soon.

I’m still trying to get to “Utopia,” which I’ve heard good things about, so I’m loathe to erase it. Ditto “Orphan Black,” which I recently started from the beginning again and I’m still only half-way through. It’s no less impressive so this is high priority to watch.

The final drama on my PVR is J.J. Abram’s “Revolution.” I still love the concept of a dystopian America run by militias after all the electricity goes out, but the reason behind the blackout, the return of some power and a long hiatus really took the wind out of the show.

When it returned there were helicopters and the reason for the opening narrative was killed, so I stopped watching.

This week, I gave it one more episode and it was pretty good. I’m going to give it another couple to impress me before getting rid of the whole season, but it’s time to kill the first half of the season.

The rest is on thin ice.

That brings my current titles down to 88, including the handful of “Parks and Recreation” episodes I’ve watched and deleted while researching new shows and writing. It’s a very funny comedy, but I fell behind. I’ve got a dozen left and will finish them before the new season starts.

I’m also going to try and watch a couple of sitcoms which I’ve liked, recorded but haven’t really gotten into, including newer episodes of “Cougar Town” and the cancelled “Happy Endings.”

But if the warning light comes on, telling me space is tight, those will be the first to go unwatched.

The new TV season starts Monday with a modern retelling of “Sleepy Hollow” on Global/Fox.

Send comments and your PVR priorities

to Dave Bartlett

at talkingtelevision@gmail.com.

Organizations: CityTV, CBC, Night Lights

Geographic location: America

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  • Jude
    September 16, 2013 - 07:57

    If you watch the "making of" feature on the Broadchurch DVD, you realize that there ISN'T any foreshadowing, which to me is part of its strength because the actors themselves didn't know whodunit.