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How my New Year's TV resolutions are going

Dale Roe

From time to time on the TV Blog (www.austin360.com/tv) I run a feature called TV Profile, in which I ask local personalities to reveal what they have stashed away on their digital video recorders. Here's what's on my DVR as I write this:

Movies: "The Battle of Shaker Heights," "Jackass Number Two," "Sherry-Baby," "Aladdin," "The Jerk," "Kung Fu Panda," "Zelig," "Horton Hears a Who," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Watchmen."

Television: National Geographic's "Journey to the Edge of the Universe"; The 2009 presidential inauguration; History Channel's "The Universe" (seven episodes); "Robot Chicken's" "Star Wars" special; Sundance Channel's "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With …" (10 episodes); "Austin City Limits" (two episodes); Disney's "Camp Rock," "Stuck in the Suburbs," "Starstruck" and "Sonny with a Chance" (2 episodes); "24" (five episodes); "Lost" (three episodes, including the Season 5 finale); "The Good Wife" (five episodes); "Modern Family" (14 episodes); "Community" (two episodes); "30 Rock" (one episode); Nickelodeon's "iCarly" (one episode), "Big Time Rush" (three episodes) and "True Jackson, VP" (one episode).

Whew. That's a lot of content. Some of it ("Shaker Heights," "SherryBaby") I've had on there forever and have yet to watch. Other stuff (anything Disney or Nickelodeon; most of the science stuff) belongs to my kids. I often forget to delete the sitcoms after watching, and I just plan to keep all the music programs.

The reason I've bared my hard drive to y'all is that cleaning out my DVR was one of my TV-related New Year's resolutions. Like some of your own, perhaps, that one's not going so well (some stuff way down at the bottom of my queue has vanished, likely a side effect of the unit becoming too full and automatically trashing some content). It's not even a question of being in front of the TV set, remote in hand: The U-verse app on my iPhone lets me see everything on my DVR and delete it from anywhere I have cell or wireless access, which means pretty much everywhere. I could be doing it right now, if I weren't writing this column. I could have done it in line at ThunderCloud today .

Fail. But now that the midseason shows have kicked in and we're in the doldrums of Olympics counterprogramming, I'm hoping this act of confession will lead me to pick up the pace on that and my other resolutions. Here's a short list and a report on my mostly pathetic progress:

Reach out to local television personalities. Everybody feels as if they know KXAN meteorologist Jim Spencer personally, including me. But before I took over this beat, I'd never spoken to Jim. The better I know the local TV celebs, the better you'll know them, too. So, I have friended Fred Cantu on Facebook and I follow Lesley McCaslin's tweets, but I won't rest until Chet Garner, the "Austin Daytripper," invites me to hang out with him in Huntsville, and Judy Maggio, Foti Kallergis and Quita Culpepper invite me to go bowling.

Make the jump to high definition. It's true. I have neither HD television service nor a flat-panel TV and I've increasingly noticed that faces, words and graphics are extending beyond the edges of my old-school 4-to-3 ratio, 32-inch receiver. To be fair, I watch most programs in advance, either online via the networks' media sites or on DVD, and my computer monitors are widescreen. But since I only purchased my first color television a few years ago (kidding!) I'm having difficulty justifying the switch. In the meantime, if you have a sweet home TV set-up and you want to invite me over to watch "Modern Family" with your modern family, give me a shout at droe@statesman.com.

Sample more reality TV. Here's a confession: I really dislike reality television. When filmmaker Albert Brooks hilariously spoofed the concept in the 1979 motion picture "Real Life," I hardly expected that it would become so, well, real (and so pervasive). I can handle fictional reality - the last few episodes of "The Office" have been OK and "Modern Family" gets better each week - and competitive reality shows such as "American Idol" and "Top Chef" have a game-showy kind of charm. But Snooki? Real Housewives? As much as I hate the idea of tuning in, if I continue to ignore these inexplicably popular exercises in navel-gazing, I'm cutting myself off from a huge segment of TV pop culture. So I watched the final episode of "Jersey Shore" (I still think a second season is a mistake) and, this weekend, I'm going to practice GTL (gym, tanning, laundry). I also might ask people to begin referring to me as "the awkward situation."

Give Jimmy Fallon another shot. I've never forgiven Fallon for ruining "Saturday Night Live's" classic cowbell sketch by laughing in the middle of it. I know some of you find that charming; I don't. I think Fallon is inept and uncomfortable as a talk-show host and he doesn't seem to be relaxing into the role like Conan O'Brien eventually did. But Fallon's Neil Young impression is unconditionally hilarious, and he's worth another shot on the basis of that alone. And despite that stupid bit he does with the audience and his house band, the Roots, they are an awesome band. Finally, Conan's on hiatus and Fallon really can't be any worse than Jay Leno, can he? He's got die-hard fans - and they're not all kids - so maybe he's gotten better. I guess it's time to find out.

Avoid spoilers. Hi. My name is Dale and I'm a spoiler-holic. I tell myself that my craving for advance knowledge of plot twists and turns on upcoming shows is OK because I write about television. But that's a relatively gymnastic and dishonest justification, because I never divulge spoilery information in my columns, stories or blog posts. The truth is that I am impatient, and routinely getting advance episodes of most shows for review has only intensified my craving for dirt on those series I don't. I not only entered ABC's contest to see the first four minutes of the new season of "Lost," but when I failed to win I sought out the video online. Then I found the entire first episode shot from the outdoor Hawaii premiere with a hand-held camera. The video quality was predictably terrible and the sound was often inaudible (it didn't help that Waikiki Beach seems particularly crime-riddled or accident prone - there was a siren every two minutes). But more and more I'm finding that I enjoy the shows less when I know what's coming up, so I'm trying to dial it back. Does anybody want to be my sponsor? I could have used one before I looked up "American Idol's" top 24 a few weeks ago.

Check out of bad series earlier. I thought the last season of "24" was terrible. So why did I start watching again this year and, more to the point, why am I still watching? I had really high hopes for "Flash Forward," but I can't believe I made it through the plodding and repetitive fall leg. I'll give it one more shot when it returns March 18 (with new show runners) but if it's no better, I'm out. The one thing that keeps me coming back is "Lost": Season 3 was so bad that I almost quit watching, but it's gotten really good again and I'm glad I stuck with it. Still, it's time to tune out when a guilty pleasure becomes all guilt and no pleasure.

droe@statesman.com; 912-5923