A while back, I noted that I have certain reading preferences when it comes to genre. I identified what I consider to be the eleven basic genres and then broke out where I spend most of my reading time and where I didn’t (and why). There are some differences when it comes to my non-reading entertainment. The same basic genres exist, but then there are extra things that find there way into entertainment that I wouldn’t call fiction when we’re talking about that. (Hmm. I never did get to non-fiction reading, did I? Another time.)
Once again in alphabetical order, but this time putting the breakdown in the list itself. Opinions will be obvious. Breaking things out into sixteen basic genres.
- Adventure/Thriller. Occasional. The writing needs to be good, or it needs to give me some nostalgia for movies I watched growing up. Otherwise, I’m probably not going to stay engaged.
- Crime & Related. Pass, and almost a hard pass. Too many of the things happen in crime dramas that I don’t want to see in my fiction.
- Documentary. On a subject that interests me or one that’s presented in a way that I’ll find interesting, I love a good documentary. Emphasis on good. Like anything else, there are hits and misses.
- Fantasy. When it’s good and when I can get it. Like I’ll note in a couple of other spots, the quality of the FX take a back seat to the writing and acting.
- Historical. Mainly in those eras that interest me. A lot of the ancient world, the two World Wars, the Napoleonic period. There’s less than you think.
- Horror. Hard pass here, and for the same reason I don’t read it. There are enough disturbing things in reality, so I don’t want that in my entertainment.
- Literary/Contemporary. This is where I live, and I want my entertainment to stretch or challenge me. Most of what fits in this box doesn’t, so it’s tough to get me to engage.
- Mystery. I probably could put this in with Crime dramas above, but sometimes it’s nice to try to figure out the puzzle along with the hero.
- News/Journalism. In some respects, I’m a news junkie, but most of what I consume is in podcast form while driving or doing housework.
- Reality TV, as distinct from Documentaries, because Reality TV is fictionalized or dressed up and scripted a lot of the time. Not interested, though if you want to put game shows in this bucket, who doesn’t enjoy an episode of Jeopardy now and then?
- Romance. In and of itself, no. Built organically into something I’m enjoying, I’m all for it. Boy should get girl, or boy, or amorphous alien life form, or whatever makes sense in context. The reverse is also true.
- Science Fiction. Where I live most of the time, and I’ve got a broad definition of what makes SF. I’m far more likely to want to sit down for something in this genre than just about anything else.
- Sports. I’m not a sports guy, for which my wife is eternally grateful, I think, unless my children are involved. But I do watch a little bit of Martial Arts presentations and competitions now and then.
- Star Trek. Peeling this out from SF. Put good Trek next to almost any SF and the choice is easy. But not all Trek is good Trek, and some of the recent stuff doesn’t work for me (though some does, and very well).
- Suspense. Built into something I’m already watching, great. On it’s own, probably not.
- Western. There are a couple of exceptions here, but not a lot or modern westerns interest me. Looking back into the early careers of a couple of my favourite actors, though, and that’s something different.
And there you have it. Remembering that there are a few things that make me walk away from something, regardless of genre, you can probably guess from this list how likely I am to enjoy any randomly selected movie or television show. Just like with reading and writing, I appear to lean heavily towards speculative genres, leaving out horror. And that’s probably no surprise to anyone reading this.
Stay safe and be well, everyone.by