Eliding Hallways

Joe Gregorio

We are finding that how we use TiVo is evolving over time. At first it was just for recording shows which we watched when nothing else good was available on live tv. Over time we switched to watching TiVo first and then going back to live tv if we had gone completely though our TiVo backlog. Lynne watches a bit more tv than I do and has taken her TiVo usage to the next level.

Did you ever watch shows where they have long boring scenes. You know the ones, where the good guys are walking down a long dark tunnel looking for the bad guys. Occasionally they stop and wave at each other, or hold a finger up to their lips to indicate its time to be quiet. Other than that, its just walking. Just filler. Lynne has the same thing in her shows too, though its mostly long walks down hosptial hallways. I realize they're setting a scene, but they don't really need to be walking down the hall with a clipboard and a stethoscope for over a minute to just set a scene. This is just filler. What Lynne has mastered is using the TiVo fast forward to move quickly though the "hallway" scenes. For those of you without a TiVo, the system has three levels of fast-forward going from doubling the rate of the show to the highest level which can blister through an entire one hour program in about 30 seconds. What Lynne has mastered is using the lowest level fast-forward to move though the 'hallway' scenes:

Doctor leaves the examinging room - Fast Doctor quickly skitters down the hallway Normal - Doctor opens door to the waiting room.

I've learned this from her and now I can compress an hour show into 30 minutes or less depending on how much filler there is. Speaking of filler, have you noticed how far downhill Andromeda had gone lately? I swear my 4 year old comes up with more elaborate and compelling plots when playing with his hot wheel cars than the writers for Andromeda come up with for their shows. The plots are vauge, contradictory, and with every episode new bad guys are thrown in, ignoring or discarding the bad guys from the last show. Anyway, they just recently had an episode where the plot of the one hour show was the crew stuck in a building that was made...entirely...of...hallways.

We've found we can watch a typical 1 hour reality show in about 20 minutes using that approach.

Posted by David Gammel on 2004-05-21

Egad! With scripted shows? I've been a devoted TiVo user since 1999, but I'd never consider using it that way. That would be akin to blasphemy in our house. I love film and visual storytelling, and if there's a pause or quiet moment, I know that the director put it there to tell me something... skipping it would just pull me out of the experience.

Then again, I'm also the kind of person who will throw solid objects at you if you try to talk over a scene.

Exceptions: Reality shows, American Idol in particular. I will happily FF through 75% of everything that Ryan Seacrest has to say.

Posted by Roger Benningfield on 2004-05-22

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