Like most people, I love television. Although I usually only have a couple of shows that I really get into, I still watch my fair share. And, I’m completely fine with that! Yes, television can have negative impacts, but if you know what to look for and how to redeem the time you watch it then it can become a positive influence in your life.
1) Identify the type of show you are watching
Is the show merely for enjoyment or does it seem to have a particular educational stance to it? For example, a tv program that only shows sex and explosions is probably only stimulating your need for pleasure. These shows often get high ratings, but rarely have an educational message to it.
2) Research the writers
Recently, I’ve had a lot of fun with this one. Sometimes understanding the creators and writers can help you understand the show. Although it won’t always provide you with great epiphanies, it has clued me in on how and why the writers came up with a particular show, or even scenes within a show.
3) Research the show
What are people saying about the show? One of my favorite shows is Lost; it’s no longer on the air, but I’m currently watching it for the third time straight through. Lost was famous for their marketing strategies and ways in which they got the fans involved. People loved talking about it, so they took advantage of it. When I research the show, I learn more about it; but, I also learn more about philosophy, literature, etc. The show is well-written and plays around with a lot of common themes found in other pieces of literature and philosophies.
4) Think about it
I’m willing to bet that the best thing any of us can do in order to redeem our television watching, is to just think about it. So often people say they want to watch T.V to “vegetate,” but that is the wrong mindset. Unless we want to be victims of the media, we have to think about everything that goes before our eyes. What worldview is being presented? What does this mean? What are they trying to say? Recently I started watching 24, and I began thinking about it; I asked myself why someone would create this show. Is it merely for pleasure (violence and explosions are cool) or is there more to it. Then, I realized when the show came out, which was not too long after the September 11th attack. The epiphany is obvious; terrorism was on people’s minds, so it seemed fitting to have a show centered around it in which the American Hero continually saves the day and America triumphs.
I’m all in favor of television; but people have to start watching it more closely. Don’t sit back and take in everything that is fed to you. Ask questions, find out information, and learn from everything you watch! Remember, everything is a sermon; will you sort fact from fiction?