Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maybe Skynet was responsible

Dear TiVo:

You've been very, very good to me. We go way back, the two of us. I was one of those early adopters, when you were only a set top box with maybe 20 hours of recording time (I bought a lifetime subscription! How's that for commitment?). And when DirecTV offered a receiver with an integrated TiVo, well, how could I resist? At my last house, I had four of those things in all different rooms, and I've never ever missed a show that I wanted to watch. One time, one of the boxes had a malfunction, and the good folks at DirecTV sent me another one, no questions asked. However, this is when you were having some business squabbles with DirecTV, and the unit they sent me was their version of a DVR. Out of curiosity, I hooked it up and played with it for about an hour, but I was quickly horrified. This was no TiVo! I called DirecTV back and asked them if there were any TiVo models, they said "yes," and that was that. My wandering eye had been closed, and for good. (I won't even mention the horror of using Comcast's abomination during a brief re-lo stint).

In fact, I may be one of the few people left on Earth who doesn't watch TV in high def -- all because of you. See, when HD came out, this was when you had parted ways with DirecTV, and it just wasn't worth it for me to A. use their substandard TiFaux, or B. reconfigure every room with an HD receiver and a new TiVo separate unit. (I like my peanut butter and chocolate all together, Reese's style). So I'm thrilled that you and DirecTV have kissed and made up, and later this year we'll have an HD DirecTV receiver with my beloved TiVo, and I can join the ranks of the many who enjoy every blade of grass while watching NFL Sunday Ticket and get to see just how bad celebrities' complexions really are.

But last night was the first time you really let me down. As you know, Monday is packed full of TV goodness, what with Chuck, 24, House, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Castle and even Heroes on.

At 7:55 PM, both units suddenly went off, and then reset. Obviously, the the only thing crankier and longer than a Windows PC rebooting is a TiVo. With House and Chuck both starting at 8:00, I was worried. You came back online and operational about 8:02. I have no idea what caused this, as no other appliances in the house powered off, so it couldn't have been a local event or circuit. Hmmmm. But at 8:02, I looked in the "now recording" menu and saw both programs. Fine. I can miss 2 minutes, which would probably just be the "previously ons." So as part of my time shifting strategy, I watched Monday's PTI, and was ready to get my Chuck on at 8:25 or so. Called up the show, and voila, everything's just peachy. Watch Chuck (a good, but not great, outing -- hey, are there TRUST issues afoot? Really? /dodges anvils). Okay, time to move on to House. It says "House" in the "now playing menu." It shows "House" in the info bar once the recorded program starts. But then I start seeing these shit lime green graphics that say "The CW." And I start watching some program about impossibly horny and overprivileged teens. Wait, this isn't an acerbic, pill popping doctor. Is this the opening patient fake out? No. Everything on the TiVo controls says this is House, yet I'm watching fucking Gossip Girl. Wha..huh? So I delete this shit and catch up on another show that's been piling up in the queue, and come back around 9:20. Now Showing tells me I can watch Jack Bauer kick Jon Voight's ass, and yet here's some other CW teen crap. What the hell is going on? Fuck. Okay, I decide to watch Heroes, which is really just out of boredom and habit at this point, rather than any fondness for the stupefyingly retconned scripts and (mostly) awful acting. At least this recording actually tuned into NBC, even though there was a bizarre 5 minute break of "nothing" in the middle of the show (that actually put Heroes into 2 separate recordings). Not that I noticed, since Heroes plots already have so many holes that the gap felt like a relief. Later in the evening, the CBS sitcoms recorded perfectly.

Today, I caught up on the 24 episode online (Tony! WTF are you doing?), but it seems that unlike every other FOX show, House won't put its latest eppy on FOX.com nor Hulu until over a week later.

So, the evening wasn't a total disaster, but TiVo, what's going on here? Are you getting glitchy in your old age? Is Skynet angry about Sarah Connor probably getting canceled? Is this just a one time thing? As noted, I've been very, very loyal to you, but I'm not gonna be your bitch if this happens again (what if this occurred on Lost Wednesday? There'd be chalk outlines and news crews involved). If you're feeling faint, just confine it to Heroes or some other superfluous program, okay?

How 'bout we just chalk this up to a "day off," and then get back to our long and fruitful relationship, okay?

Love and Kisses,



  1. Part of the problem was WBFF (good ole Fox 45 - have you watched their morning news, or what passes for news on that particular channel) got their signal mixed with the CW - so cutting off 15 minutes of House and 22 minutes of 24 wasn't TiVo's fault. Blame FOX.

  2. Thanks for that little tidbit of information. I had no idea why two networks would switch like that. Maybe I will just let my TiVo off with a gentle warning.

    And add that to another thing to blame FOX for, along with the fates of Sarah Connor and Dollhouse (of the recent vintage).

  3. They will rerun House & 24 (according to the Baltimore Sun) at 1 & 2 respectively on Saturday.


    Although did you note that Zach Whedon had a credit (writing I believe) on Fringe this week.

  4. THANKS, Jen. I must have missed that in the paper. I'm glad I'm not totally crazy, since Hugh Laurie looks nothing like Chase Crawford.

  5. Oh, and yes I did notice tht fringe writing credit. There were definitely a few "whedonesque" lines in there (though most everyone can write some good Walter material).