Network TV has for some time now been using pop-up ads, many large enough to cover the bottom 20-30 percent of the picture during the program. It’s very annoying as it cuts in on enjoyment/immersion in the drama unfolding. Aren’t commercial breaks enough? Am I the only one incensed by this practice? — John Johnson
Bad news, John. Commercial breaks are never enough. Especially now that more and more viewers are time-shifting (recording a program, watching it later and fast-forwarding through the commercials). Those onscreen ads are one guaranteed way to make sure a message is seen.
It’s the same reason you encounter some truly horrible product placements in the middle of shows: “Gee, it’s a good thing this new Hyundai Elantra gets up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway or we never would’ve caught those bad guys!”
To be honest, though, I didn’t realize networks were still doing this.
I vaguely remember a Minion or two running amok to promote one of their movies. I have memories of Michael Phelps swimming across my screen at one point. And, yeah, it was distracting as all get-out.
After receiving your email, I was catching up on PBS’ “Victoria” on my DVR and noticed pop-ups on both sides of the screen. But one of them was a plea for donations, and since the very existence of PBS is being threatened in Congress, that’s an easy one to forgive.
The reason I haven’t noticed them lately is because almost every network series I follow, I watch the next day, commercial- and pop-up-free, on Hulu. The only ones not available that way are NBC’s “The Blacklist,” CBS’ “Elementary” and The CW’s “Supernatural” and “Riverdale,” the last of which I’m addicted to because the Archie Comics-themed drama is too ridiculous not to watch.
Seriously, there’s been a murder. Archie (KJ Apa) is a buff, football-playing singer-songwriter who slept with his music teacher. Former teen idol Luke Perry is back on a drama for young adults playing Archie’s dad. And everyone still hangs out at Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe.
It’s like “Twin Peaks” had a baby with “Dawson’s Creek” and raised it on a steady diet of “Gossip Girl.”
Wait, where were we? Oh, yeah, ads.
Don’t consider this a pop-up ad for Hulu, but for $11.99 a month, you get access to its original programming and thousands of hours of old TV shows.
It also serves as a DVR with no commercials.
Pop-up or otherwise.
Shows to know for the week ahead
A year after losing the election, former President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) tries to secure her legacy in the season premiere of “Veep” (10:30 p.m. Sunday, HBO).
Detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) is back keeping the streets of L.A. safe in the third season of “Bosch” (Friday, Amazon).
A couple form a radical underground cell to fight the counterintelligence unit dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism in 1970s London in the six-part drama “Guerilla” (9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime), starring Freida Pinto, Babou Ceesay and Idris Elba.
“The Blacklist” (9 p.m. Thursday, NBC) returns from its winter hiatus with back-to-back episodes as Red (James Spader) tries to track down his former right-hand man, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq).
Get your answers
Send your questions about television to Christopher Lawrence at email@example.com or on Twitter @life_onthecouch.