Chronovision is my attempt at traveling through the history of television by watching thousands of TV show episodes in chronological air date order.
Why am I doing this?
Well, there are tons of television programs which I've always wanted to see, and many others I've wanted to re-watch, but it can be difficult to choose which ones to watch, and when, so having them available in a prearranged order simplifies that for me, and makes sure I don't miss anything.
Additionally, viewing them all in air date order gives me the benefit of being able to see a clear picture of the progress and evolution of the medium. Since I'll be immersed in a given time period, I'll be able to better contextualize certain shows with the times. It can otherwise be difficult to appreciate how original or provocative a certain show was back in the day, if you're not surrounded by the culture of the time.
And lastly, I think this project will give me a chance to discover a lot of shows that I would otherwise never think to watch, or maybe even never hear of.
Shortly before I was set to begin the project, I realized it might be fun to blog my progress and provide my personal thoughts on the things I'm watching, so I started Chronovision for that purpose. I hope it's an enjoyable read. Each post will cover one month in the history of television.
It's important to note what I'm NOT trying to do here, however. My goal isn't to watch EVERYTHING. That would simply be impossible, even if I had access to it all. I'm also not expecting that I'll ever be able to catch up to present day programming. It's more about the journey and seeing how far I can get. This isn't meant to be a full-time job, but merely a personal challenge and a labor of love.
There are many factors deciding which shows I will be watching, availability being the key one. The lion's share of shows will be those which are currently available on DVD. There are also other shows which I've recorded or otherwise obtained on VHS over the years. Many older shows are in the public domain and available to watch online for free. If a show is on my "want to watch" list, I will make every effort to find it, but I'm sure there will be a lot of stuff I'll reluctantly have to skip over.
So what is my criteria of inclusion? Of all the hundreds of shows available to watch, I'll only be choosing ones that A) I've seen before and know I like, B) I haven't seen before, but think I might like, or C) I consider to be historically or culturally significant in some way.
I'm also reserving the right to "cancel" watching a show at any point if I'm no longer enjoying it. In order to remain motivated, my emphasis HAS to be on enjoying myself. Obviously I'm not going to enjoy every episode of even my most FAVORITE shows, but overall if a show takes such a bad turn that it becomes a chore to watch, I'll likely drop it from my schedule, even if it falls in the "historically or culturally significant" category. There may be exceptions to this, if I really feel it's important to watch a show, or if I know that the quality improves later on.
Additionally, there will certainly be shows that become available after the time period when I was supposed to watch them. When this happens, I will probably watch these shows and go back and edit the previous blog posts accordingly, making a new post noting the edit for those following along who will want to go back and read the new version.
The primary focus will be on American programming, but being from Canada, I'll be incorporating certain Canadian television shows too, whenever possible. There will be many shows from the U.K. included as well, and possibly other English-speaking countries such as Australia, as well as possibly some foreign language shows from Japan, Germany, etc. Again, availability will be the key factor. I will also be incorporating certain theatrical and home video releases which directly tie in with, or spin off from, a TV show, but didn't actually air on television.
Television broadcasts began in the mid 1920s, but the first real television season in the U.S. was in 1946. Unfortunately for us, television was broadcast live in those days and it was several years before there was any means of preserving these broadcasts. As a result, an enormous portion of early television programming has been lost forever. Because of these large gaps, and because older shows hold less of an interest to me, much of the first decade or two will be relatively sparse, I'm sure. But once I hit the '80s and '90s, which were my prime television-viewing days as a youth, and when most of my favorite shows aired, I'm guessing there will be quite an explosion of content.
My Chronovision journey will begin in March of 1949 with a show called Suspense....