Re: If only...
"As a yank, I was always mystified about the TV license thing."
I can see your point. But as a Brit, I was always puzzled by TV shows which played a 2 minute intro, had an ad break, played the title sequences, had an ad break, played a 30 minute show, which took an hour due to more ad breaks, followed by credit sequence and an announcement, "stay tuned for scenes from our next episode", then an ad break before said scenes appeared.
I can even understand the people who say they never watch the BBC so why should they pay a licence fee. But having to compete with the BBC has restrained the commercial channels from going "full USA", along with the rules on broadcast advertising (which have been relaxed in recent years) We still don't get banner ads over the actual show after the ad break as finished. I remember watching a US TV broadcast show which had subtitles relating to a significant plot point and the feckers put a banner ad over the top of the subtitles for a feckin' Chrysler car!!!