Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is Primetime TV Imploding?

What? You may say that this happened long ago and is no longer in question. I could be persuaded that way without much discussion truth be told. It really started many years ago with an immensely popular "reality" show called Survivor. As I've mentioned previously, shows of this ilk are anything but reality. Some of the later offerings were actually worse. Anyone familiar with Fear Factor? What does it say about people who are willing to go on TV and perform such ridiculous stunts are drinking a rat that has been run through a blender?

Since the idea mill ran dry in Hollywood long ago, there have been many attempts to capture the ratings gold of Survivor. However, "reality" TV is just one part of the equation. Even shows that I have considered good that have been long running fell into this trap. It was two or three springs ago that NBC went to the well one too many times and added their fourth Law and Order series. From the very short run of this show we learned that there really can be too much of a good thing.

The 2006-2007 TV year has been instructive for what is really going on. NBC started with a smart, witty "dramedy" in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. While not the most pure and wholesome show, it was one of a handful of offerings that required a modest amount of intellectual capacity. However, the mental edge of America has been dulled to the point that people just couldn't get it. The ratings for Studio 60 were some of the worst for major network programming, and the show has since been dumped.

In lieu of thinking, it seems that the contrived game show built on a flimsy premise is what NBC thinks the hoi polloi will tune in for. Thus we are pummeled with multiple episodes of Deal or No Deal each week. This was so great that they added 1 vs. 100 and Identity and had all three going at one time. Excuse me while I vomit.

There are a few bright spots in the TV universe. Heroes (while not really an original idea - see X-Men) has had a thoughtful plot and was at least something reasonably different from NBC. Smallville (CW's back-story of Clark Kent's adolescent and early adult life) has managed a longer run that I thought it could sustain. Crossing Jordan is still a nice modern day tribute to Quincy. But that's really it. Oh well, too much TV is bad for you anyway. If you think this is bad, check out the state of what your children have to choose from. That's a whole separate rant.

Until next time...


Anonymous said...

Yo P,

I can't agree with you more about Primetime TV. I can remember to when we were in high school we had more wholesome sitcoms such as ALF, the Cosby Show, Perfect Strangers, etc. Now most of it is crap. The only thing we watch primetime is all the CSI's. we got hooked after seeing a couple episodes while visiting my cousin and the rest is history. Other than that I have no time for any of the other shows.

Another example to point out is that Amy and I used to watch ER. I liked it for medical aspect and Amy liked it for the story and perhaps some of the medical points. However, we abandoned the show several years ago because there was less and less shots of the ER and more shots of different people sleeping around. Friends was another one that pushed the moral boundary. We were mildy interested but then living together before marriage was glorified. This is a great time to point out that you have to be on guard to what we put into our body and minds because the devil is always on the prowl.


Vicki Gupton said...

I'll third the motion! Thank goodness for TV-Land. I still enjoy the old shows that I've seen time and again. I noticed that Heroes is the only top rated show NBC has this season, and it was about 17th. out of 20. We have all these channels now and less to watch all the time. That leaves more time for what's important.