Some shows are so relentlessly high-stakes, we have to steel ourselves to watch them
How do you decide what to watch on telly? Sometimes you want a real bit of escapism, and so don’t mind watching a brother and sister have sex before trying to take over an empire (Game Of Thrones). Or you’d like to watch a chemistry teacher try to become the area’s biggest drug dealer (Crawley news. Just kidding: Breaking Bad, of course). On other nights, you might have an acute case of brain fry and the only thing you really feel like following is whether everyone likes Sarah’s lasagne despite the fact she made the maverick decision to put fish in it (Come Dine With Me).
But my wife and I have discovered that, these days, some shows are just too stressful to watch. Writers have got better and better at ratcheting up the tension. This, combined with our shrivelling attention spans (thanks to the internet desiccating our brains), means that some episodes can provide a full hour of relentless anxiety, the only relief coming when we look away at our phones to bask in the warm glow of social media.