Television Without Pity

AFN SpectrumOne of the things about deploying that can be very difficult is the lack of good television. Here, we have the American Forces Network.

The “network,” a term I’m not sure applies here, essentially takes a bunch of programming from the United States and replays it on AFN.

UPDATE: It is a network. It distributes programming from a broadcast center in California to several sites which insert their own localized promos, etc.

Of course, the benefit is that servicemembers have access to American television shows while deployed. That’s great for people who don’t have all their furniture pointed towards the TV back home, but for people who watched TV regularly before deploying, it’s kind of substandard. Rather, I should say that it’s substandard for my love of scripted programs.

Chuck on AFNAll Most works of fiction don’t air on AFN until several months after their first appearance in the states. In fact, I just watched the season finale of “Chuck” on Friday night.

It was the one featuring the wedding for Chuck’s sister to Captain Awesome.

I saw this on NBC back in May… a full month before I deployed.

Now, it’s not all bad. If you’re into reality shows, sporting events, or newscasts, you can watch most of these with minimal delay. UPDATE: I’m also told that shows like “Lost” will air with minimal delay as well.

News is just about the only thing you can watch live, but everything in the morning until about 1 p.m. is tape delayed. Nothing is worse than watching Campbell Brown with a live bug knowing full well that the show was recorded several hours earlier.

Sports air live sometimes, but in many some cases, the games are also tape delayed so that people can see them during the day while overseas. The bad part is that any sports enthusiast will already know the score before the replay even begins.

Reality shows are dreck and should not even be mentioned… but I will anyway. They usually air the next day. If you can avoid the internet all day, you may be able to avoid finding out which D-list celebrity will no longer be dancing on ABC.

I’ve been surviving by having my lovely wife record my shows on the TiVo. She transfers them to the computer and burns them to DVD. They only take about a week to get to me.

I’m not sure why there aren’t AFN channels exclusive to each of the four big networks, but I would be so grateful if someone would look into that… or just improve the internet connection here so it doesn’t take me a week to download the new Monty Python documentary from iTunes.


4 thoughts on “Television Without Pity

  1. If only you new someone who used to be an Air Force broadcaster and worked for AFN and who could possibly look into the whole thing about why AFN doesn’t mirror the big 4 networks. Hmmm… I wonder if I could find someone like that. I’ll start looking and I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂

  2. Jay, you’re forgiven for not proofing before posting.

    The AFN people contacted me, so I’ve made a couple of clarifications above.

    Again, I should point out that this stuff is my opinion. It’s just my opinion that AFN doesn’t always meet my needs as a TV enthusiast.

    For most people here, it’s a great thing.

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