The Importance Of Low Impact TV

Is this it?

Image for post
Image for post
Forever, on Amazon Prime

When I first started watching The Kominsky Method, I remember thinking how…simple it was. It wasn’t slow exactly, more like casually paced, and there was really just one storyline to concern yourself with. I spent this past weekend watching Forever on Amazon Prime, and I just realized: these shows aren’t simple, there’s a much more important description for this emerging genre: this is low impact TV.

As I write this, I’m waiting for it to be 9PM EST so I can watch a zombie dragon fuck shit up, but it’s unclear if it’s going to fuck up the part of the Seven Kingdoms we expect it to, or another part entirely containing a queen with three dead children who used to sleep with her brother and might be pregnant and a king who drowned and came back to life and keeps trying to kill his niece and nephew but we hate them both so if they die it’s fine. What I’m saying is, maybe low impact is a good thing.

It’s hard to argue with how spoiled we are. Whatever our tastes, however specific, there’s a Netflix code and a production budget to satisfy them. And all this access, or excess, has led to shit getting pretty out of hand. Is it more we need, or less? I think shows like Forever and The Kominsky Method ask us to take a step back and examine why we’re watching television, and how we want to feel about it when we’re done. I don’t know about you but I don’t feel like refilling my Xanax prescription just so I can get caught up on my programs.

Low impact TV is…dare I say, soothing? I’m used to assuming that the more lines a character has, the more likely that character’s impending death. I assume any on-screen happiness is about to be befouled by, not just conflict, but conflict so messed up that it makes me wonder if it should even be filmed for entertainment value. I remember watching Black Mirror and thinking to myself, “guys… I…I don’t think we need to do this.”

Image for post
Image for post
The Kominsky Method, Netflix

Low impact TV is the entertainment version of hot cocoa. Not that foofy crap on a spoon, but Swiss Miss, out-of-the-packet, pajamas with the feet hot cocoa. It is a reminder to enjoy more of less, and in an entertainment age where children are confused by commercials you can’t fast-forward through I think reminders that life can be simple when we let it be are very necessary, and too few.

I’ll say it: I love low impact TV. I love 30 minute episodes. I love minimal investment in plot. I love calm, ease, and gentle humor. I like the chill comfort I get from television that doesn’t make me worry. If this is a new genre, I’m here for it. It isn’t overwhelming, it isn’t too much. It is just enough, and sometimes, it’s just right.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store