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Zap tally

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For my new book Things I Learned From Watching TV After Midnight, I stayed up one night and spent 90 minutes zapping through 79 TV channels between 00:35 and 02:05 hrs, taking notes of everything I encountered. It was an interesting, if at times somewhat absurd experience. I'm still trying to make sense of some of the scenes, which, written down as notes, seem to make even less sense than when I was watching them. Take for example this bit, which I saw between 01:08 and 01:10 hrs:

A peculiar spiral-like form is turning against a white background. A man is leaning against a black wall. He begins to scream. A different man is lying on the tiled floor, not moving. A woman is smiling, saying: "Now I know what love is."

I'm seriously mystified.

"Begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism"

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Here's a list of things that can seriously curb my enthusiasm about TV series. Unfortunately, I have recently started watching a series in which all of these things seem to occur excessively.

  1. Scriptwriters that don't know the difference between "mystery" and "convoluted plot".
  2. Minor plot elements that seem insignificant after they have been dealt with turn out to be major parts of some great master plan and/or conspiracy two seasons later without any prior clues to that effect.
  3. A simple storyline is made complicated merely because a character is behaving uncharacteristically out of character.
  4. Storylines that would not exist at all if a character hadn't time-travelled into the past.
  5. Erratic character behaviour is disguised as "character development".
  6. More than one dead character turns out not to be dead at all, and/or is resurrected from the dead.
  7. More than one character turns out to be merely a figment of someone's imagination.
  8. A character has more than one doppelganger, or more than one character has a doppelganger.
  9. Characters who have superpowers that could make the entire storyline obsolete, if only they weren't too stupid to use them properly.
  10. A supposedly super-intelligent villain whose inconsistent action and/or blatant incompetence allows the heroes to escape.
  11. A supposedly super-intelligent hero whose inconsistent action and/or blatant incompetence allows the villain to escape.
  12. One storyline is repeated after a while with different characters.
  13. A character changes from being a good guy to being a bad guy to being a good guy pretending to be a bad guy to being a bad guy pretending to being a good guy pretending to be a bad guy and is finally revealed to be a bad guy after all. Well duh, big surprise.
  14. A likeable character with a central role in one season is relegated to an insubstantial B-plot in the following season.
  15. A kickass female character in one season behaves all mushy and emotional in the following season.
  16. Characters who remember and forget what they know and/or can do depending on which stunt effects might be more optically impressive.
  17. A character appears out of nowhere in a later season and is revealed to have been an integral part of the plot all the time from the very beginning.
  18. An entire season's worth of episodes turns out to be just one character's dream, an alternate reality that ends up being erased, or is otherwise invalidated.
  19. All characters are revealed to be connected in some way, or, even worse, related to each other.
  20. Pointless and/or pompous voice-overs from know-it-all characters.