Some notes from recent television viewing. As we get ready for March Madness, beware the pundits throwing out statistics. A few days ago the talking heads were discussing the importance of being a number two seed versus dropping to a number three seed. They showed a graphic detailing the success of each seed in the early rounds and specifically asked viewers to look at the record of number threes in round of 16 games, which is 21-23 since 1985 when the tournament expanded to 64 teams. I agree that a losing record is not good, but what they neglected to mention was that a number three seed in a round of 16 game is probably the underdog against a number two seed. So an almost 50% winning margin isn’t so bad. What should be of concern is that of the 92 number three seeds to enter the tournament during that time frame (four each year), only 44 have made it to the round of 16 by beating the number 14 seeds in the first round and then the winner of the 6 vs. 11 game in the second round. This should be of greater interest to viewers.
I am a self-admitted royal watcher. It’s just a life that seems so alien and unusual to me. I very much enjoyed Helen Mirren in her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie, The Queen. So when ABC’s 20/20 promoted their show Monday night as a look at “a year in the lives of the royal family, filmed with their cooperation,” I was eager to watch. Unfortunately, it was another example of misleading, though legal, advertising. After the first segment that showed a state function with the President of Ghana, there were only intermittent moments with the royals themselves. A lot of the filming of the royals took place during public appearances, which fans have seen them doing for years. Much of the time was spent interviewing the many people that support the daily lives of the royals: the chauffer, the stable hand, the cook, the pilot and others. Although there was a lot of good information and it confirmed what a different lifestyle they lead, overall it was disappointing.
I’ll end on a much happier note. One of my favorite characters is Adrian Monk, portrayed by Tony Shaloub on the USA show. The obsessive detective who insists on round numbers recently provided his own take on channel surfing to his assistant Natalie: “Why would I be flipping through the channels? If it’s a good show, it’s on channel 10.” If only it were that easy to find good television.