Storm from 'X-Men '97'
Photo: Marvel

How to Keep Up With Seemingly Infinite Options on Television

Reruns are played out. Can artificial intelligence actually help you keep up with what's new on the tube?

The sad truth is, we're probably a mere few decades away from seeing the storyline of I, Robot play out IRL. But until the android apocalypse, we might as well make the best of artificial intelligence. So here it is: LEVEL's new advice column, We Asked a Bot, the place where your pressing concerns and queries are treated with a tenderness and care befitting of a machine learning algorithm.


Dear Level, 

I know you usually answer relationship questions, but this one is about a relationship with TV. I'm finding it hard to find good shows to watch on streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu and I always feel like I'm feeling behind on what everybody's watching. I'm still trying to finish shows like The Boys, Insecure, and The Bear, but most of my friends and people I follow online have already moved on to shows I haven't even heard about or that just started streaming. How do people keep up with all these shows and how am I supposed to find them? I like comedies mostly but I'm also interested in new shows like Shogun and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Can you just tell me what I should be watching and how to make time for all that viewing?

—Falling Behind in Philly

<We asked Perplexity, a search engine that's not too different from ChatGPT, to answer this question in the voice of someone who is knowledgeable about TV. Let's see how Perplexity did:>

Dear Falling Behind in Philly,

As a TV expert, I can tell you that keeping up with all the new shows these days is no easy feat. The streaming landscape has become incredibly crowded, with networks and platforms constantly churning out new content.

The main reason for the long gaps between seasons of many popular shows is the sheer scale and complexity of modern TV production. Shows like The Boys, Stranger Things, and House of the Dragon require extensive visual effects, intricate set design, and lengthy post-production. This process can take two years or more, especially when you factor in pandemic-related delays.

Related: All 5 Episodes of The Vince Staples Show, Ranked

Streaming services also seem to be intentionally stretching out their hit shows to retain subscribers for longer. By the time a new season arrives, viewers may have forgotten where the story left off or moved on to other shows entirely.

My advice would be to focus on the genres and themes you enjoy most, whether that's comedies, dramas, or something else. Follow entertainment news and social media to stay on top of the latest buzz-worthy releases, and don't be afraid to let some shows slip through the cracks if you can't keep up. The key is finding a sustainable viewing routine that works for you.

Perplexity

<The advice about prioritizing genres is fine, but we were hoping that Perplexity would give more solid TV recommendations instead of explaining the business side of streaming. Let's try again. We asked Perplexity: "Please recommend 10 specific streaming or broadcast shows that Falling Behind in Philly should start watching based on enjoying comedies and wanting to keep up with new shows that people are discussing." Here's what Perplexity came up with:>

Here are 10 specific streaming or broadcast shows that Falling Behind in Philly should start watching, based on their enjoyment of comedies and desire to keep up with new shows that people are discussing:

  1. Abbott Elementary (Hulu) - A workplace comedy set in a Philadelphia public school, this show has been a breakout hit and is widely discussed.
  2. Ghosts (Paramount+) - A hilarious comedy about a young woman who inherits a country estate and must co-exist with the ghosts of its former residents.
  3. The Bear (Hulu) - A critically acclaimed drama-comedy about a young chef who returns to Chicago to run his family's sandwich shop. It has been a major topic of conversation.
  4. Shrinking (Apple TV+) - A new comedy starring Jason Segel as a grieving therapist who starts to break the rules and tell his clients exactly what he thinks.
  5. Poker Face (Peacock) - A mystery series from Rian Johnson starring Natasha Lyonne as a woman with an extraordinary ability to determine when someone is lying.
  6. The Afterparty (Apple TV+) - A murder-mystery comedy anthology series that explores a different genre of film with each new case.
  7. Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+) - A musical comedy series that parodies classic Broadway shows, starring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key.
  8. Reservation Dogs (Hulu) - A coming-of-age comedy following the lives of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma.
  9. The Rehearsal (HBO) - A unique and experimental comedy series from Nathan Fielder that explores the lengths one man will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life.
  10. Jury Duty (Amazon Freevee) - A mockumentary-style comedy starring Ron Funches as a man who gets selected for jury duty and becomes obsessed with the case.

<It feels like we may be hitting some limitations on AI and how up-to-speed it might be on what critics and viewers are watching. None of the shows on this list are from 2024 and a few of them have already ended their runs. For newer shows, you can try X-Men 97 (Disney+), Parish (AMC), The Three Body Problem (Netflix), and Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show (Max). Rotten Tomatoes has a list of new and upcoming shows you can bookmark and check in on regularly. As far as how to find time to watch, catching up on shows on flights (some services let you download programs for offline viewing), and while doing housework can help shorten that stack of shows. Good luck and don't worry: None of us can keep with everything that's out there. Just enjoy the shows you're watching and don't slog through them if you're not enjoying them; it's OK to bail on a series that's not doing it for you. Until next time!>


LEVEL consulted Perplexity.ai for the aforementioned text. Need advice, insight, or just want to troll a chatbot? Hit us up with your questions at info@levelman.com. We'll feed it to the robots and see what it spits back out. (Disclaimer: YMMV!)