Special FX

It’s that time of year again: Time to make my New Year’s resolutions. The Columnists Code mandates that all newspaper columnists write about this, so here goes:

• I resolve not to actually write a column about New Year’s resolutions.

Now, on to more important matters, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It used to be that you had to be embarrassed if you watched a show with a title like that. But nowadays you can watch nothing but 20-year-old reruns on Game Show Network and still feel good about yourself, as long as you don’t read what the people at HarkTheHerald.com say about you. (By the way, if there’s a more illiterate bunch of hate-spewing special-ed dropouts than the people who post regularly at that site, I’d like to believe they live far away from me and don’t have access to sharp things.)

I got addicted to “Buffy” this fall, when the FX cable channel started showing all the old episodes, in order, from the beginning. Then they started showing two a day, which dramatically impacted my social life, insofar as now I was always watching “Buffy” when no one called me, instead of being on the Internet.

You may be interested to know that many of my fellow Orem residents could not partake of the daily Buffy buffet because Orem’s only cable company, AT&T, doesn’t offer FX as one of its channels. It doesn’t have Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, TCM or BET, either — all channels that are widely considered to be part of pretty much every basic-cable package. I believe you could get more out of your TV by taking the guts out and using it as a flower pot than by using AT&T in Orem.

Which is why I got Dish Network, a satellite service that brings well over 1 billion channels directly into my home, including some from other planets. (At least, I assume that’s where the people on “Iron Chef” are from. Certainly no regular people get that excited about cooking dinner.)

I don’t remember how much Dish Network costs, but I would gladly pay twice as much (unless the current price is infinity; I don’t want to cause any mathematical conundrums), if just for purposes of Buffy. Which is what we were talking about in the first place. (Well, second place.)

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is about a girl named Buffy who is a vampire slayer. She lives in a town that is overrun with dark forces and sinister beings who seek the destruction of mankind’s freedom. This town is called Provo.

No! I am “joshing” you, as people who aren’t named Josh say. The town is called Sunnydale, and for as evil as many of its inhabitants are, at least they haven’t outlawed public dancing. Buffy’s job is to kill any demons, vampires, Masons, mummies, elves, aliens or Webelos she stumbles across. The show depicts the forces of evil being slewn by an attractive, lip-glossy young lady — far more empowering for women, I would think, than a show like “Friends,” where the same three women keep choosing sexual partners from a pool of the same three men. (Buffy, by way of comparison, sometimes dates vampires.)

Another show I’m addicted to is “24,” which airs on Tuesdays on Fox. It’s about a government agent trying to stop the assassination of a politician. (Discussion question: Why?) The gimmick is that the entire season of 24 episodes takes place over the course of one day, with each episode representing exactly one hour of time. This is similar to ABC’s tactic with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” where each hour-long episode is shown in “real time,” including 45 minutes of contestants thinking or taking bathroom breaks, leaving time for approximately two questions.

Speaking of non-20-year-old game shows, how many of you are still watching “The Weakest Link”? No one? That’s what I thought.

Anyway, since one of my New Year’s resolutions is to bring every column around full circle, let me mention that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to watch more TV this year. It will be tough, but I think I can do it.

Don't let anyone tell you I don't research my columns. For this one, I checked with my friend Josh, and sure enough, he doesn't use "joshing" to mean "kidding."

The part about Provo and dancing refers to a then-controversial law Provo had passed that impacted dance halls and other public venues. The city didn't exactly outlaw public dancing, but it was sure close.