Anatomy of an Audio-Described Blind Man’s Binge

I’ll bet you’ve done it before. Bounced onto your couch or recliner, bowl of popcorn or snack of choice in lap, you tap your smartphone or use another tv-connected device to access a series you’ve desired to watch. Then you allow yourself to sink in, emerging occasionally for bathroom breaks and the like.

I have never really been inclined to participate in such activity, given the difficulty involved in keeping track of programming and even the challenge of making a choice on which to watch.

For me anyway, this has begun to change with the introduction of Apple TV+. They seem to have a relatively small amount of content, but I’ve found myself liking nearly all that is available via the app so far.

Naturally, I signed up to check out the series “SEE,” which takes place in a society where blindness prevails and sight is seen as a curse. I confess though that I have not been as able to get into this series, personal preference, but I highly recommend that you watch for yourself as you may like it, and especially if you’re into stuff like Game of Thrones. I do think it’s cool that this sort of programming is getting into the mainstream while giving actors with blindness or low vision a chance to perform on-screen.

I have, however, enjoyed other programming therein. Some of my favorites are The Morning Show, which examines the world of broadcast journalism and how it has been effected by the Me Too movement, and Servant, a show I admittedly don’t entirely understand but enjoy for its strangeness.

But my favorite thus far is For All Mankind, which imagines that the Soviets have beaten the United States to the Moon, thus causing the Space race to continue. Apollo 11 does make it there, sort of, but the nation’s mood continues to spiral down as the Soviets one-up NASA out as far as I have seen in the series, which is episode 4. The story arc is pretty good, but at points they try to address so many elements at once that it becomes a bit clustered. But as a Space junkie I am intrigued by the concept. They certainly assume a level of knowledge by the viewer, so I suspect that this, as with other programs, will have a subset of really interested individuals.

Without question, I would not be able to get into any of these shows if not for audio description, the essence of which I have chronicled in a prior entry. I think we really have rounded that bin where mass media companies are starting to understand the importance of bringing in those with blindness, even while confessing that initially I thought that activism herein would largely be fruitless. I applaud those who charged ahead anyway, and thank them as I now benefit from such progress. I also think that the mixing of audio-described tracks has vastly improved, so that they no longer have to aggressively turn down the movie’s sound in order to convey what is happening. This makes it immensely more enjoyable. So here’s to the (described) future, and continuing to suck us in to these online networks as with the rest of the population.

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