Television, a Forever Kind of Love

Years ago, before streaming giants such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime had control of every household, I remember sitting in front of my tv to watch an episode of a television show every week. There was pure excitement in the intense desire to be home in time to watch a show I loved. I planned my days and weeks around it. I couldn’t miss a live episode, because having to wait for it would be absolute hell in my mind. Bathroom breaks had to be scheduled during commercials, and sometimes I would have to switch networks immediately after the first hour to catch a show on a different channel. Times have changed and watching live television as it airs on a network isn’t as common as it used to be, but the excitement is still there for when a show releases episodes, whether it’s the traditional way, or the new way.

The show that began my passion for television was an NBC show by the name of Chuck. This show was a little show that could. With a small, albeit strong, following, the show was able to stay on air for five seasons. At one point it did have to be saved by a fan-initiated campaign that involved eating Subway sandwiches, of which I obviously partook, but it persevered and continues to be a cult fan favorite to this day. I didn’t quite realize it back then, but I was enthralled by every aspect of that show and how it was made. I would explain in great detail to my mom about what happened every episode, and my theories on what I thought was going to happen next. She would always respond to me saying I should be a screenwriter— I shrugged it off. At the time, I wrote fiction, with a hefty amount of exposition, and had this preconceived notion that writing for television was too much dialogue for me. I have since grown out of that way of thinking and seek to learn everything about screenwriting in hopes to write on a television show one day.

Nevertheless, Chuck was the first show that I fully invested myself into. I would watch certain episodes repeatedly, dissecting scenes, music choices, plot points, and actor’s performances. This was back in high school, and my passion for television only grew from there. I started to watch more and more shows, many good, some bad, but all enjoyable in some way, and a learning experience. 

Flash forward to now, five years out of college. I have a growing list of television shows I want to watch, but not enough time in the day to watch them. The amount of content being created and pushed out onto streaming platforms and networks has grown exponentially in the almost fifteen years since I first started watching Chuck. For one thing, the three big streaming platforms I mentioned earlier aren’t the only ones now. There’s HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, Apple TV+, and so many others. It isn’t just the five big tv networks anymore (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, The CW) and cable networks (HBO, Showtime). So much is being made, in so many different ways, that it’s hard to keep up with all the shows that are making waves in pop culture or in the critics circle. It took me six years to start watching Game of Thrones and over ten years since Breaking Bad premiered to watch that. There are critically acclaimed shows that I still haven’t seen— I won’t mention them, as I’ve already gotten shocked reactions from others about not having watched them.

TV Soapbox was an idea I had over summer quarantine. I wondered, what if there was a community driven space for people to express their opinions and critiques on tv shows they love (and hate), where they can talk in length about them, without fear of boring the person listening, or being met with hostility for being honest and expressing their passion for a television show. It could be a place for discussion and constructive debates. All for those who have a passion for television, whether they want to be in the industry or not. I started this as an Instagram page just to share shows I’ve watched that I enjoyed, but I wanted to transform it to something bigger and more involved. This website is that realized transformation. Not only has it given me inspiration and motivation to write again (I have been in quite a rut the past few years), but it also has me excited to hear others’ thoughts on the shows I’ve watched over years, and ones I have yet to watch.

TV Soapbox will consist of four sections: Recaps and Reviews, Think Pieces, One Season Wonders, and Awards Season. Recaps and Reviews will provide weekly pieces on tv shows currently airing. To start, we will be covering The Handmaid’s Tale, Pose, The Bold Type, and Shadow and Bone. Two of those shows are streaming shows but will still have pieces for each episode. Nevertheless, I’m excited to offer my commentary on them! The second section of our website, Think Pieces, will be more about fueling discussion and critique on the world of television, both in front of and behind the camera. This is where controversy may be stirred up or unpopular opinions made—but that’s the point! The Think Pieces is where you can say whatever you want about a tv show or the television industry. The third section, One Season Wonders, will honor the countless shows that didn’t make it past their first season. Networks are forced to cancel shows that either don’t get high enough ratings or aren’t getting good reactions from viewers. Sometimes its a scheduling thing, sometimes the show is just plain bad, sometimes it’s a bullshit reason that executives try to explain away. Nonetheless, I wanted to celebrate them, because sometimes it can be tough competition in getting a second season, and countless more. Not every show is a Grey’s Anatomy or Law & Order: SVU. The final section is Awards Season, which is currently in hibernation for television. The next awards ceremony is the Emmys, which doesn’t air until September, with the nominations coming out in July.

For now, it is only me writing pieces for TV Soapbox, so bear with me. However, I welcome anyone who wants to cover a certain show or contribute a think piece or critique. I want as many voices to be heard. We all get our turn on this soapbox! So get on it, and let us know what you think!

With love,

Isabel

Founder, TV Soapbox

Isabel Maina

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