Series finale

This is my last Talking Remote column.

I’ve always believed writing is about the content, not the writer. One of the constant challenges in writing this column is detaching my feelings when evaluating today’s television. Every piece I wrote, at some point, prompted me to stop for a moment and think, “Am I stating this opinion because of my emotions, or is this objectively good/bad television?” I’ve down-voted many shows here, and while some of them commit clear plot and character sins, others fall short for personal reasons.

When we watch television, we’re coloured by our worldviews and experiences. I bring my worldview and experiences into this column when I praise or criticize a series, and my opinion is neither right nor wrong — it’s a personal reaction. Our varying culture palettes play a part in which TV shows we connect with. Every show is thematically different, and our preferences and real-life experiences guide us when relating to the narratives that espouse those themes. No two people like and dislike the same set of shows.

This is a long way of saying that I’m just one voice. My voice, or anyone else’s, is not worth more than your own, because you know yourself best. Watch television that you enjoy, not necessarily what everyone else watches. Art naturally begets debate and discussion, but too often I hear people disapproving of television others watch. Don’t do that! Let others enjoy their TV (books, music, and  films, too), because only they know why and how they identify with it.

This wouldn&rsquo;t be a column if I didn&rsquo;t, for the last time, recommend the best television series I&rsquo;ve seen in my life: <em>Mad Men, The Good Wife, Seinfeld, Louie, Breaking Bad,&nbsp; </em>and <em>30 Rock. </em>Along with<em> Chuck, Justified, 24,</em> and <em>Happy Endings,</em> many of these are my favourite shows. You can&rsquo;t go wrong watching any episode of any series there. Even though several of them have ended, I think about them from time to time, and how they influenced the current crop of amazing shows: <em>The Americans, Broad City, Orphan Black, New Girl, Veep, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, Girls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Rectify,</em> and <em>Orange Is The New Black.</em> So many more stand as critical, evolutionary pieces in television history: <em>Friends, LOST, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Community, </em>etc.

You&rsquo;re undoubtedly scanning that paragraph and finding it difficult to watch a show simply on my word. But that&rsquo;s just it: quality television today is everywhere. It&rsquo;s diverse in genre, narrative, and tone. It&rsquo;s intelligent and covers all subject matter. Netflix understands this. Netflix tags each series in its catalogue with multiple descriptors in hope of crafting the perfect recommendation engine. If there&rsquo;s a particular feeling you want in your next TV series, a show exists to satisfy you. It&rsquo;s probably in the paragraph above. I couldn&rsquo;t possibly watch so many identical flavours, after all. Try them until you find the one.

If you&rsquo;ve ever started a show from my writing and enjoyed it, I&rsquo;m happy. I&rsquo;m happy to know I shared something I love with someone, who now also loves it. We might not even love the same things about it &mdash; television is personal, remember &mdash; but it made us feel something, as good shows do. It&rsquo;s the essence of culture, appreciating art communally, inferring themes individually. If there&rsquo;s a show you love that I steered you to, tell me. Email me, tweet me (<a href=""><em>@akoo</em></a>), and tell me your story; after writing 53 columns, I&rsquo;ve found that the most rewarding feeling is learning I passed along an affecting recommendation.

I launched Talking Remote two years ago. I&rsquo;ve filed weekly or bi-weekly for five different arts editors. Writing about TV is a blast, and talking with readers beyond the column is even better. I&rsquo;d love to keep writing, but new projects keep calling. Even though this little television column is ending, you&rsquo;ll continue to see me in the pages of <em>Imprint</em>. Everyone who&rsquo;s read, edited, or responded: thank you all.

And who knows, maybe this isn&rsquo;t my last column. You know how TV tends to un-cancel things.


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