Retirement with a New TV


“Barbara, c’mon, hurry up, I’m starting Longmire,” I said, settling into my chair. It was about 3:10 p.m. and we recorded Longmire the previous evening.

“I’m coming, just wait a minute,” she said. 

Soon we were both settled in front of the TV watching an episode that we recorded the evening before. Walt Longmire is an older sheriff who struggles against evil in Wyoming’s backcountry.

We watch TV on our schedule now, and we fast-forward through the commercials. 

It’s great!


We bought our last TV in 1997 and hooked it to a basic Direct TV satellite feed. We had a DVD player but it died around 2010 and we didn’t replace it. By late 2012 our picture was fading and our son, Andy, needed a place to store his TV. He and I took our old one to the dump and hooked up his, which came with a DVD player. We were happy. 

But he wanted his back in the fall of 2013, and we then had nothing for about a month.

We figured it was time to get modern: we got a Blu-ray disc player, a high-definition TV, an upgraded satellite service to allow recording, and Amazon Prime, which offered programs over the Internet. Then about two months ago Andy put us on his Netflix account as a second profile.

This whole experience with new technology amazed us. It’s like we had been tent camping in the woods for thirty years and just bought a new home with a kitchen and bathrooms.


In January 2014, through Amazon Prime, I watched the entire first season (aired in 2013) of The Americans, which is now my favorite series. Then week-by-week we recorded, watched and saved the second season. It’s about Russian spies—a young couple embedded in American life in Washington, D.C. during the Reagan years. They have two American-born children and live ordinary lives as travel agents by day. But at night (and on days off and weekends) they kill people and steal information for the USSR. I’m going to watch it again as soon as I get time. The point of view is so unusual.

Like millions of other Americans, we spent Sunday’s with Downton Abbey; we also loved Call the Midwife, which is about a group of nurse midwives delivering babies in London in the 1950s.

We grew addicted to The Blacklist. Liz is beautiful, and Red switches casually between good and evil as he struggles to maintain a criminal empire and protect Liz. 

We love Chicago PD and Fargo too.

In between we watched almost the full set of Breaking Bad. It’s about a high-school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who turns to cooking methamphetamine. He grows blacker and blacker as the series unfolds. Great drama. 

We also found The Shield on Amazon Prime. It concerns a demonic Los Angeles police detective, Vic Macki, and his strike team. In the first episode, Vic murders another police officer who was sent by higher-ups to get the dirt on him and his team. The aftermath of that murder grows into a subplot through the entire series. Vic is an action addict living for his next fix of murder, gang violence or drug deals. His mixture of good and evil gets into you in ways you can hardly foresee. Great shows, every one of all seven seasons.

There’s more—Turn, The Good Wife, Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Bletchley Circle, Foyle’s War, … —but you’ve got the picture. 


All this TV! My lawn has gone to hell and the garage is a mess. My exercise program is half what it was and I miss most self-imposed blog deadlines. I’m writing this almost as an apology to my six readers. 

I used to mostly ignore TV, and now it’s close to the center of my life. I tell myself to relax, it won’t last, you’ll get your mojo back and life will be your adventure once again. But I’m not sure.

The only thing I am sure of is that tonight I’ll be in my favorite chair watching Closed Circuit, a movie about British espionage on trial, which we recorded some days ago.