TV. I remember that. I've been out of the country for nearly three weeks, you see, and haven't seen any television in all that time. I tell I lie. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught one brief scene from a German soap opera in which a man and a woman in a swimsuit were arguing furiously about an egg salad. Other than that, nothing. No internet either. Only books and talking. How quaint.
This break from TV had a surprising effect: it made me feel warm about British television again. Best in the world, isn't it? We've got Downton Abbey and, er, the news and, what's this on STV? Big Star's Little Stars. "A programme in which celebrities' children spill the beans on their famous parents. Next week: Duncan James and his daughter Tianie-Finn." Dear God, is that it? Programmes watched only by viewers who can't gnaw through their restraints?
And then: hope. A whodunit called The Guilty (STV, Thursday, 9pm) starring the rather marvellous Tamsin Greig. The one who was in Black Books and The Green Wing. The one with the wonderful ha-ha face and the elegant stretched thinness that makes her look like her head is trying to get as far away from her feet as possible.
Her role in The Guilty was DCI Maggie Brand and she was surrounded by other actors familiar from comedies, including Darren Boyd from the chef sitcom Whites and 2011's Monty Python comedy drama. It meant that on mute, The Guilty looked like a hilarious three-part comedy about the hunt for a serial killer. And even with the sound up, the sight of so many comedy actors trying to be serious was disconcerting. I accept that this is a shortcoming on my part, a failure of my imagination, but there you are.
The drama itself was fine, although the police procedural set-up was pedestrian - ie. weary woman cop in charge, with narky, cynical male second-in-command who thinks he could do the top job much better. So familiar is this set-up that the only truly revolutionary thing to do now would be to produce a show with a male detective in charge and a woman constable who makes the tea.
There were a few nice story trails laid down that may be picked up in the next two episodes, such as: what it feels like to be the sibling of a child who's murdered? The later episodes are also clearly going to tackle autism, which led to a moving little scene in which Greig looks through the nursery window and sees her son standing on his own in a crowd of children playing.
Other than that, it was just little Tamsin keeping the whole thing going with the force of her will. You could see the wrinkles forming under her eyes with the strain. Does she really look like a police officer? Do we believe it? Or do we just want her back, safely, warmly, where we expect her: in comedies?