Our Reading Lives

Help! Reading Is Ruining My TV Watching!

Some of my favourite stories are TV shows. Although books are my medium of choice, most of the characters that have stuck with me and the lines that I have accidentally memorized have come off the screen, and I have no problem with that! Any method of getting a narrative into my brain is worthwhile in my opinion, and although my TBR outpaces it by a mile, my Netflix list is constantly growing.

the 100

One day, The 100. One day.


The difference between my TBR and my Netflix list is this: although I’m slowly chipping away at the books I want to read, those TV shows and especially movies remain unplayed. I started to really notice it when I watched the first episode of Sense8. I was intrigued, and immediately thought “Any show that has Freema Agyeman in a relationship with a woman (AND has queer trans women representation!) is going to keep me watching for that alone!” And then weeks passed, and I never continued with the series. The same thing happened with Orphan Black, a show I fell in love with during the first season and never pursued watching, despite how fall-out-of-my-chair amazing I found the episodes I had watched.


Cute couple? Or cutest couple?


It isn’t that I’m not watching TV at all, but the TV I’m watching falls into two categories: ridiculously low drama reality TV (think Extreme Couponing) or kids’ shows (though I will defend Steven Universe to anyone). What I realized was that I can’t seem to handle any TV show that has significant drama or suspense. First of all, I tend to absorb that emotion and it leaves me jittery, but mostly it’s because when I want that sort of intense story, I turn to a book.


You should be watching this by now.


I know TV shows can provide incredible storytelling, but that’s just not what I’m looking for when I have the desire to turn on the TV. I associate watching TV or Youtube with something that’s relaxing and fairly mindless. I will happily pick up a book that I know is going to completely shatter my heart, but I’ll avoid any show that doesn’t promise constant cheer. I’ll start a book knowing it may be weeks before I finish it, but a documentary? That’s too much of a time commitment. There are worse problems to have, but I do kind of feel like I’m missing out.

Have you ever had this problem? Have books ever ruined you for other forms of storytelling? And how do you balance TV- and movie-watching with reading?