Television and hype / by Alice Hawke

If you spend an amount of time browsing the actively populated areas of the internet, you're probably aware that there are several television shows with a large following behind them, and with that following, hype. Lots of it.

These shows being Game of Thrones (HBO), Breaking Bad (AMC, ended), The Walking Dead (AMC), and to a lesser extent, Mad Men (also AMC). It's no secret that I watch a lot of television - over 120 shows - but of those four, I only watch one and a half. "How can there be a half?" I actively watch Mad Men (am in the process of catching up again), and I watched Breaking Bad up to and including Season 4 Episode 7 before I finally threw in the towel. I'm sure I'll finish it eventually, but it never really won me over.

That's my issue - it never won me over. I'd heard people praising it like it was the best thing ever to grace television screens, that it's the equivalent to sliced bread and the second coming rolled into one. The Wikipedia page says it's "widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time". To me, it simply wasn't. It was slow paced and empty, but not in a good way. When things happened, they felt like they were just trying to ramp up the pace for the sake of it, and when nothing happened, it felt more like a bottle episode than a deep focus on the characters (see S3E10, 'Fly'). As bitter a pill as it may be to swallow, Walter White is an asshole. He started off noble (perhaps too much so) and with good intentions, but he broke bad far too soon and then roller coastered around that level. The characters in the show are just... extremes of humans in a way. I'm sure there are people in the world like that, but for them to all be in the same circle? Anyway, I'm getting distracted. The point is, it didn't live up to the hype I heard.

Mad Men is another matter. I find Don Draper's mentality fascinating, the look into the not-so-distant past equally fascinating, and all the characters very deep. Incidentally, the hype there was a few years ago for Mad Men seems to have died down, and now the only hype I see about it is from dedicated fans - not posers jumping on a bandwagon.

Maybe I'm just jaded, maybe it's all just a social construct. Perhaps people watch these hyped up shows because their friends go on about them, so they watch them and then, to avoid being different, rave about how awesome it is and all views snowball out of proportion. This could be why I 'bear' Mad Men, because the only other people talking about it are other people who actually care about it.

I am not a hipster. I don't get annoyed at certain shows because they become popular, I'm just irked when hordes flock to mediocre programming and hidden gems die because of a lack of viewers.