I start off with the best intentions, but after episode 2 or 3, my ‘live’ viewing pretty soon switches to ‘catch up’ and not long after that to the deleted bin as I realise that other time pressures have left me with too much to catch up on and not enough time to catch up in.
I often listen open-mouthed at work on a Monday morning following a wet weekend, when work colleagues talk about ‘binge watching’ an entire series or box set. How do they manage it?
By contrast, I’m afraid to admit I haven’t watched a single episode of Breaking Bad…or Orange is the new Black…or The Wire….or Homelands. Yikes!.
But it wasn’t always this way. In the days before Netflix, there were certain TV series that managed to grip me in a similar manner and become, as the media folk like to describe it, an ‘appointment to view’.
For these shows, a certain day of the week would become subconsciously ring-fenced for the duration of the series. “Drinks on Tuesday? No sorry, I’m not around that night”.
Sometimes these series would have a certain highly-watchable trash value – I’m thinking Melrose Place and Ally McBeal here – but generally it was the dramas that held sway.
And the ones that had the greatest resonance for me were those that had a closer connection to me and my life – as I see it, as I remember it, or maybe as I’d like it to be.
The last series that I can recall keeping me at home of an evening was Life on Mars, that inventive and nostalgic cop series, drawing on the sights and sounds of 70’s Manchester.
(Not that I was a Northern cop in Manchester in the 70s mind, but i did find it addictive nevertheless)
Then there was This Life – a drama about a group of 20 something professionals, sharing a house in London. A show full of authentic and compelling characters and plot lines. And having been a professional flat sharer in London, the resonance was perhaps more overt.
And of course, there was the king of them all, Cold Feet.
This series took us into the lives of three Mancunian couples and so well did it achieve this that I really felt as if I got to know them. And judging by the ratings, it would seem I wasn’t alone in taking them to heart.
I can still remember the sense of shock when Rachel died and can picture the raw emotion of the friends walking slowly along the beach to say their final goodbyes as Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ played a mournful soundtrack.
And I can also remember that strange empty feeling when the series finishes and we realise that the storyline has no more twists and turns.
It seems perverse that characters we feel we know so well are suddenly gone from our lives forever as soon as the credits roll on the final episode. So many questions left unanswered. How did things turn out once the cameras stopped rolling?
But wait. What is this? Cold Feet is returning to our screens from tonight.
Not some shoddy remake, but the actual characters (minus Rachel of course – no Dallas style resurrection for her) are back some 13 years later. It promises to be fascinating to see how their lives have turned out.
There is a great quote in F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book The Great Gatsby where the main protagonist is told “… You can’t repeat the past”.
I’m hoping that the new series of Cold Feet manages to avoid this trap and somehow manages to live in the present, reference the past and look to the future, all in one 8 part series. No pressure then!
As for me, I’m going to attempt to repeat the past in terms of my viewing patterns, so if you were thinking of inviting me for a beer over the next few weeks, sorry, but I’m busy on Mondays.