The Insider: A Smokin’ DVR Diary

Oct 26, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Insider is not about give up her TV. Indeed, she feels about her remote control what the late Charlton Heston felt about his right to wield a rifle: You’ll have to pry it from her cold, dead hands.
One look at her week’s worth of prime-time entertainment appointment viewing and The Insider’s best friends are going to plot an intervention; but she’s as wedded to her shows as outsider Gov. Sarah Palin is to “you betcha,” and she’s not about to sit at her computer to watch ‘em. Some pre-ambular notes:
—The Insider’s DVR can record two shows at a time, but to watch a third show at the same it must have been recorded earlier.
—Prime-time news programs are not recorded, and watching them requires sometimes painful choices. Frequent repeats of cable series are a lesson in delayed gratification. Late-night shows that are recorded mean more delayed gratification.
—This is a sort of slow recording period because a) politics and post-season baseball have mucked with The Insider’s viewing choices and favorites such as NBC’s “Medium” and “Law & Order” have not returned yet; b) “Project Runway” has died and gone to couch-potato heaven, making Wednesdays far less complicated; c) “Burn Notice” is between seasons, so Thursdays would be far less complicated except that The Insider is finally watching “CSI” in anticipation of Laurence Fishburne’s arrival; d) Monday nights became less complicated when The Insider gave up “Heroes” after watching the two-hour season premiere on its Saturday encore and gave up “My Own Worst Enemy” after the debut episode; e) Tuesday nights got less complicated by jettisoning “Dancing With the Stars” results shows because “Jimmy Kimmel Live” does results more concisely. Now The Insider doesn’t have to guh-nash her teeth over ABC’s partiality to scheduling one- and two-minute runovers that do nothing except confound the DVR, except when “Lost” returns with programs we actually hope will run over.
—The Insider will catch up with “Gossip Girl,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Eleventh Hour” and “30 Rock” during holiday or summer rerun season.
—New to the season-record list is “Living With the Wolfman” on Animal Planet (must be recorded during 5 a.m. or midday encores).
—It’s much easier to manage the DVR load when 24 hours per week of “Big Brother” are not threatening overload and when “American Idol” is not complicating two nights per week.
So here is, organized by the urgency with which they will be played back, a skeleton list of the shows currently marked for season record (with sometimes extraneous but explanatory notes).
Sunday: “The Amazing Race” on CBS (to be watched almost live, and football overruns can mean recording “Cold Case” just to catch all of “Race”); “Masterpiece Classic/Contemporary/Mystery” on PBS (yay for Alan Cumming and Matthew Goode as hosts, yawn for Gillian Anderson); “Entourage” on HBO (must see before going beddy-bye); “True Blood” on HBO (nightcap or next night); “Mad Men” on AMC (no rush; been there and done the ’60s).
Monday: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Fox (close to live); “Prison Break” (see “Sarah Connor”); “Raising the Bar” on TNT; “Dancing With the Stars” (last viewing for the night so The Insider can zip through the fiddle-faddle and commercials to the dancing and the judges’ comments/scoring).
Tuesday: “House” on Fox (almost live); “Fringe” on Fox (almost live, and skipping the minimal commercials is more trouble than it’s worth); “The Mentalist” on CBS (same night); “The Shield” on FX (same night); “NCIS” on CBS (late same night or first thing next night), “Law & Order: SVU” on NBC (any time).
Wednesday: “Bones” on Fox (almost live); “Criminal Minds” on CBS (less guilty pleasure since Joe Mantegna replaced Mandy Patinkin); “CSI: NY” (for late-night eye candy); “Sons of Anarchy” on FX (Katie Sagal could teach Carmela Soprano a thing or two, son Jax is way cuter than A.J. Soprano); “Dirty Sexy Money” on ABC (mesmerized by Donald Sutherland, mystified by Peter Krause).
Thursday: “Survivor: Gabon” (near-live), “Supernatural” on The CW (ye who don’t watch don’t know what ye are missing); “ER” on NBC (never better at making The Insider cry as regulars take their leave); “Life on Mars” on ABC (before beddy-bye).
Friday: “Ghost Whisperer” on CBS (same night); “Life” on NBC (watch live, commercials and all); “The Starter Wife” on USA (loved the miniseries, like the series); “The Ex List” on CBS (fodder for weekend); “Numb3rs” on CBS (see “Ex List”).


  1. Loved this post. I apply the same tiering method to my shows – I did a similar post last week listing the 64 shows on my dance card, but I didn’t tier them. Too scary.
    Unfortunately, unlike you, (and I can’t believe *I’m* saying this) but I’m stuck going the online route for some of my shows. You know, when I have time. The problem is that in reality, I probably won’t ever catch up with in the end.
    For sure, it takes like five minutes to get my Sunday shows situated, in no particular order: Entourage, The Unit, Mad Men, True Blood, Skins, Brothers & Sisters, Army Wives. Thank goodness for cable re-airs, and VOD.
    Oh! And thanks for the Sons of Anarchy validation…not a single one of my friends watch it, so I love finding people who actually do.

  2. I love TV too. But my other obligations mean that a lot of my television shows have to be DVRed for viewing at a later time. But a handful of shows rank as must sees for me. I will go out of my way to watch these shows live and am gravely disappointed when I can’t.
    I recently published my list of appointment shows – television shows I schedule time to watch.
    Supernatural definitely tops the list.

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