As I’ve mentioned once or twice, a huge component in my personal, stolen “pursuit of happiness” formula is always looking forward to something.
This “Looking Forward” philosophy was inspired, in part, by something I heard Bernie Sanders say on television several years ago (at least, I think it was Sanders: it may have been someone else. But, I digress—). I’m not saying that Sanders gets the credit for the quote “Happiness is Looking Forward to Something.” I’m just saying I heard him say it. Or heard someone say it, at any rate.
In another part, my personal pursuit was inspired by Alastair Stephens, who—with now-ex-wife Lani Diane Rich—was responsible for the terrific Storywonk podcasts. After an acrimonious divorce and many harsh words, Stephens has disappeared from media as far as I can tell. He’s also been publicly vilified, and deservedly so if Lani’s allegations are true. It doesn’t alter the fact that I was inspired to begin planning and scheduling my entertainment choices after Stephens launched his There and Back Again podcast along with a schedule for going through all of the Tolkien books and the Peter Jackson films.
Early in my retail management career, I read a lot of self-help and business books to become a more effective leader. Every shard of great advice was incorporated into my own management style. One important thing I learned was the mental approach to accomplishing what seem to be huge, insurmountable tasks. The analogy that stuck in my brain was that you approach every big task the same way you would eat an elephant: one bite at a time. All big projects can be broken down into smaller component projects; then, even these can be broken down into even smaller chunks, individual tasks, and checklists.
Stephens’ plan to re-read Tolkien and then create a podcast around this work epitomized this approach, and it appealed to the checklist-loving side of me.
Since then, I have completed a re-read of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, though I chose not to rewatch the Jackson films at this time. In fact, I’ve never watched his version of The Hobbit, though I haven’t entirely shot down the possibility that I may one day do so.
I’ve also watched every episode of every Star Trek series, including the animated Filmation one, and am currently rewatching all of the movies. Supernatural was the first long-running series I decided to tackle after gorging myself on Trek. The series has completed fourteen seasons and has now begun its fifteenth, and final, season. Sticking to, and often exceeding, my own viewing schedule of five episodes per week, I’ve completed eleven seasons and am now three-quarters of the way through Season 12. At this rate, I’ll complete the entire series around the same point that it concludes in realtime.
That wasn’t my original plan, because the final season wasn’t announced until after I began watching the series. But, it does kind of neatly wrap up the project.
Well…I’m still reading the tie-in novels. And there’s an anime series that the completist in me insists I’ll have to watch. These are just manifestations of my pathology, though. The heart of the project, the television series itself, will have been concluded.
Which leads to my next issue. What comes after Supernatural?
Since the anticipation part is, according to my chosen premise, a major source of personal happiness for me, you would think that this decision-making process would be a pleasurable one. And, it is. At least to a certain degree. There’s also a certain amount of frustration involved. We are living in wonderful times for an assortment of entertainment options.
If you refer to my Looking Forward updates, you’ll see that I’ve always been watching more than just Supernatural (or the various Star Trek programs before it). For instance, I’m currently working my way through Outlander and have just begun The West Wing, in addition to current series that I continue to watch (and several that have concluded). What I’m talking about, in a replacement series, is one that ran for many seasons—or perhaps is still running—and that I’ve never watched.
I guess a rewatch would qualify as well. I plan to rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the beginning someday, but not quite yet. Also, the Ronald D. Moore reboot of Battlestar Galactica is definitely a future possibility.
A rewatch is just not where my head is at right now. I want something I’ve never watched before. Something with many, many episodes. And yet, something not CSI, NCIS or Law & Order related.
Babylon 5 is a possible choice, with five complete seasons in the bank.
There’s also five seasons of Orphan Black, and that’s been on my longterm watch list for a while now. Also five each for Six Feet Under, House of Lies, and Boardwalk Empire. And for Peaky Blinders, so far. Only three for Deadwood.
I’ve watched only the first couple of seasons of Dexter, and I never watched the final season of Sopranos, so those are still on the to-do list. Mr. Robot is beginning its fourth and final season now, and I’ve watched only the first.
I have to get past my current Kevin Spacey aversion to watch the six seasons of House of Cards.
What I have in mind, as a replacement for the fifteen-season Supernatural, is something meatier. Something more daunting, in fact. More worthy.
The modern iteration of Doctor Who qualifies. It’s up to—what?—eleven or twelve seasons, and several Doctors. There are twelve seasons of Bones, and the eight of Castle. The US version of Shameless is about to begin its 10th season, and it’s conveniently available on Netflix.
I have an idea about which choice I’m favoring at the moment. That’s likely to change before I get to the final episode in 2020.
So much to watch. So little time. Here’s to always looking forward.