Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For The Love Of Television

With all the new tv shows premiering this season, one would hope something truly good would show up and take the spotlight. Everything else would take a back seat while we all focused on this perfect hour (or half hour) and recognized that perfection still exists. But this hasn't happened. In fact, almost all of my favorite shows have gotten worse
and the new things I have hoped to begin following have almost immediately lost my attention.

It's amazing to think that in a mere couple of years we may not even be watching television as we know it today. As the networks get more and more desperate we more and more quickly stop paying attention. If tv wants to survive it needs to do some very specific things:

1. Lose the ads for the show next up (especially during the program we are watching).
2. Focus more attention on the quality of the shows they are picking up (why would you order 13 episodes of a show you have no intention of seeing into a second season?).
3. Giving shows of quality a chance to pick up new viewership through well placed ads and word of mouth (no one wants to dedicate time and energy to a show they know will not return... unless it is a miniseries... and a good one at that).
4. Be sure the shows you pick up have an endgame (no one likes to get all the way to a series finale just to discover that the writers have been making it up as they went. It feels cheap and makes viewers more hesitant to begin another show that could potentially end in heartache, confusion, and misery).
I know these aren't the only things wrong with tv right now. Reality television has been living quite well, and that's scary to me... that people are content to watch poorly written/poorly performed programming while accepting the lie that it is in fact "real life". Cause let's face it, there's nothing real about reality tv. Just the realism of a miniscule paycheck for an actor that may be hard working on some other thing that actually could add to society.
And ads rule the air. This is a problem. Premium networks are obviously better about this, but I don't think executives realize just how annoying it is to find that a show is just there to sell us something. That may be the truth of the matter, but it can be done with class and integrity. We've seen such programs as 24 successfully airing on the format of a full episode, no interruptions, with one promoter responsibly covering the fee. If this is possible, more people should take advantage of it. It works. It really does.

Now I'm a tiny voice in a sea of billions of voices, but I hope that somebody somewhere will take the time to recognize that television can be saved. There is still time. People just need to be more responsible with their power. Yes sir.

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