Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Karl Puschmann: Screw your quality dramas - I'm watching YouTube

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Keeping up with so many amazing shows, something had to give.
Season two of the terrific techno-thriller Mr. Robot continues to tempt Karl Puschmann.
Season two of the terrific techno-thriller Mr. Robot continues to tempt Karl Puschmann.

I was halfway through my last marathon when it happened. Having pushed myself too far, too fast, for too long I hit the wall.

I won't lie. It hurt. It's a fricken wall.

But like an Olympian heroically striving for gold I pushed right on past it and kept going. Because I'm pretty sure that's what you're supposed to do, right? A lifetime of being brainwashed by sportswear advertisers and their meaningless sloganeering has taught me that.

Just do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. I'm lovin' it.

No, wait. That last one doesn't sound right. Though I do now inexplicably feel like a cheeseburger ... Anyhoo, let's get back to that wall.

Kit Harington portrays Jon Snow in a scene from Game of Thrones.
Kit Harington portrays Jon Snow in a scene from Game of Thrones.

I have officially been self-diagnosed with what professional athletes call fatigue, burnout, exhaustion.

This is brought on by firstly over-exerting oneself and then under-recovering. The only difference being that my malady is not a result of anything as strenuous and foreign as over-exercising or competitive sports. No.

Instead, I've been hamstrung by great television. I've simply watched too much, pushed it too far and now I'm paying the price. Because the thought of going all in on another well-paced, superbly crafted and wonderfully acted series just fills me with dread.

This is the dark side of the binge. Believe me, friends, the struggle is real.

Until recently I'd been able to keep up with TV's cracking pace. I binged, I marathoned, I streamed. A lot of unmissable shows demanded the extra effort of a weekly appointment. Despite their old-fashioned audacity, the twisting plotlines and episodic cliffhangers had me dutifully tuning in week after week until completion.

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in a scene from Better Call Saul.
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in a scene from Better Call Saul.

Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, Lady Dynamite, Veep, Bloodline, Girls, Wayward Pines and Stranger Things are highlights from the ever-growing list of terrific, quality shows that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

It's worth pointing out that these are just some of the ones I've finished. I'm currently working my way through excellent shows like The Kettering Incident, The Night Of and Vice Principals.

As you can plainly see, that's oodles of exceptional viewing. Little wonder I'm sick of quality programming.

Let them watch cake! I've had my fill. What's the televisual equivalent of KFC? Because that's what I'm craving. Enough already with the Emmy winners and the excellent. Give me something dirty and greasy and bad for me.

A scene from the TV show, Mr. Robot.
A scene from the TV show, Mr. Robot.

I'll admit my timing's not great. Season two of the terrific techno-thriller Mr Robot continues to tempt me on Lightbox, Baz Luhrmann's glitzy hip-hop history The Get Down just got added to Netflix and TV One's Hillary, a lavish new bio series about Sir Ed, promises to set a new high for locally produced drama.

Baz Luhrmann's films are known for integrating genre-bending music, and music is the undercurrent in The Get Down.
Baz Luhrmann's films are known for integrating genre-bending music, and music is the undercurrent in The Get Down.

If only I could bring myself to start in on any of them. But I just can't do it. I can't face that level of commitment right now. I can't make that investment. I see shows that I know are going to be great and turn away.

Having now researched burnout from over-training Google tells me that the only way to heal is to rest. So that's what I'm currently doing. If you rush your recovery you only end up in far worse shape.

Winona Ryder in a scene from the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Winona Ryder in a scene from the Netflix series Stranger Things.

With my health and wellbeing in mind all I've watched this week is YouTube videos, Star Wars cartoons and have even gone so far as to scrape the bottom of television's barrel with some reality TV.

Hey, don't judge. It's doctor's orders.

The one pleasing and unexpected plus side to ditching the dramas is that I now have all this unexpected free time. I almost don't know what to do with myself.

If only I had something to watch.

- NZ Herald

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Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A pop culture junkie, Karl has spent his career writing about the important things in life; music, film, television, comics and video games. He was editor of a popular music rag for five years and has since written regularly for every local culture/arts/lifestyle magazine worth a damn. His recent expansion into travel writing has flung him far, far from the comfort of his couch and into that bewildering place known as the ‘outdoors’. He is also currently endeavouring to make sense of the world by reviewing it over at critikarlreviewstheworld.com

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