I was discussing the current shows on TV with some friends recently. We found an unfortunate trend: it does no good to get involved in a show anymore. A program gets cancelled so fast that there's no time to decide if its worth getting hooked. I was starting to get into 3 lbs, and its cancelled already. There was a huge buzz and push for Smith, and it lasted for, what, five or six weeks? If a show doesn't hit right away-and I mean in the first airing and a couple weeks after-its gone, replaced with another stupid game show or "reality" TV.
I'm not sure what it is people want to watch these days. Many of the people I work with (its a unique demographic: they're all older married ladies with grand kids) are big fans of shows like Dancing with the Stars. They really care about who won. Apparently, they're rather representative of what people want to see these days.
Now, I can't quite figure out if that's because people really prefer those shows, or a few of them have become hits and the studios find them less expensive and easy to produce, and now its all they're making so we're stuck with 'em. When Survivor was introduced, it was unique, and drew a lot of viewers because of it. Now, they've done just about everything they can do with it, and in my mind it jumped the shark a couple seasons ago. I don't think it'll go away anytime soon though, because its relatively cheap to make and can still draw enough of an audience to sell advertising on it. I can't stand any of the alleged "reality" shows. They're vapid and intellectually vacant. They're not funny, and they're not compelling. They're not comedy, drama or action. I fear that we're stuck with 'em because the low production cost makes them irresistible to the networks. That's the reason game shows have made a resurgence. If it wasn't for the dramatic music, nobody would care about which case the contestant picked.
The other sad aspect of TV shows these days is that the high cost has pretty well killed off originality. 3 Lbs was another medical show. Smith was a cop drama from the opposite direction that people apparently didn't like. Jericho is kind of a version of The Day After that was released 20 years ago. Of the new crop, its unfortunately the best of the bunch.
I guess the bottom line is that until we demand more of the networks, this is what we get. It would appear that there's some of this going on now. A perusal of one of the forums I am a member of revealed this topic as a top five list. Most of those members responding didn't list network shows in most of their lists. A few did, and they were generally the same shows: Jericho, The Unit, and...uh...I guess that was about it. The rest were cable shows. Oddly, or perhaps not, is that most of those shows were semi-reality shows, like Miami Ink and American Chopper. The rest were premium channel shows, like the Sopranos and the like.
It would appear that network TV shows are going the way of the newspaper...or perhaps more accurately, network TV news. There are a fraction of the news shows now than there were several years ago. The reason for that is that more news is available faster on the Intarweb. Could it be that there's going to be yet another revolution that will have us watching our little monitors instead of our large TV's? That will be interesting to see.
2 years ago