You know, time was, you couldn’t find a nighttime soap on television. When I was growing up (60s & 70s), evening TV watching was made up mostly of shows with stand-alone episodes. Bonanza, Perry Mason, Marcus Welby, MD, Happy Days, Barney Miller, M*A*S*H and the like were programs you could miss for weeks at a time and never lose your place in their stories.
That all changed in 1978, when Dallas premiered, and producers — to their utter delight — realized that people could actually remember episode details from week to week, as opposed to the day-to-day schedule of normal daytime soap operas. Moreover, Dallas appealed to men, whereas the daytime half-hour soaps (broadcast, of course, during children’s nap times) were geared almost exclusively to women who stayed home. So began the era of evening serial television. Now, you can’t throw a rock without hitting one.
I must admit, I do love it so. Whoever did the demographic research on the subject knew that these types of stories tap into our most basal desires to share emotional experiences with those on the screen, and to run the gamut of reactions: disgust, anger, dread, sorrow, and most fun of all: shock. They want us to take sides, and boy, do we ever not disappoint on that score. And when the season finales rolled around, it was no holds barred. Beginning with the granddaddy of them all (“Who Shot J.R.?”), they’ve tried to outdo one another for decades.
Such was the case with the season finale of Breaking Bad last Sunday night. World: rocked. If you’re looking for an awesome series to sink your teeth into, this would be the one. What happens when a soft-spoken high school chemistry teacher finds out he has cancer, and to provide for his family after his death, decides to become a ruthless meth cook and assassin? You can catch up on the first four seasons on Netflix, or on various illicit (free) places on the web. Sadly, there’s only one season left.
But hey, you could always watch Dallas. TNT is even bringing it back! I wonder how old die-hards like Yours Truly will like the new casts and storylines. I’ma give it a try, though.
Hey, it’s Tunesday. Blah.