If you haven’t already check it out, my sister rant about music it’s here. Bit tangential, but nothing compared to this stuff.
Last week I was in class and a fellow classmate and I came to the conclusion that the number of actually decent shows on TV at the moment could be counted on one hand. In no particular order and balancing it between us for personal taste, we came up with:
1. The Walking Dead
2. Game of Thrones
3. Breaking Bad
4. Mad Men
That was it. The other 99% of shows out there are total dross.
Now before I proceed I should clarify – not all of those shows suck. I do have guilty pleasures like Eureka and Castle, but on the whole the television industry ain’t what it used to be. The current scriptwriting prowess of most American television can best be equated to my Kindergarten tales about dinosaurs – short, two-dimensional and only useful these days as toilet paper. So many shows have terrible writers writing terrible characters, acted by terrible actors, all set to direction by terrible directors.
The Kardashian shows. The Biggest Loser. MasterChef. The Amazing Race. Hell, they’ve ever done all that DIY reality show bullshit in The Block and that other one where they paint walls…I forget the name, but it’s that rubbish one they had on Channel Ten. It was bollocks.
As well as that, fucking music shows shit me to tears – The Voice, Australian Idol and Australia’s Got Talent can all bugger off. They’re all the same. I don’t care about the specific differences in rules and judges and executive-manufactured personal tragedies that have befallen/will befall the contestants. They’re all the goddamn same. They’re boring. They’re repetitive. None of them can really sing. It’s Auto-Tune, people – and if it isn’t, that should highlight to you right there how robotic and mechanical their singing is in the first place.
As with the previous example of electronic repetition being the new music, it mystifies me how this current and popular trend of reality television is so pervasive. It’s cheap, mostly unscripted bullshit that rakes in millions of weekly viewers and costs networks a pittance to make when compared to most scripted shows. Because of this, my theory is that most television writers have stopped caring.
Why make great scripted drama that no-one’ll watch when you can just stick a camera in some trailer park bint’s bedroom to watch her cheat on her boyfriend and get scads of viewers at almost no effort?
It seems TV – and Hollywood, to a slightly lesser extent but there nonetheless – has devolved into the permanent “too hard” basket. They’ve stopped caring. So many networks are just churning out utter garbage because they can’t be bothered to try actually competing with the Kardashian klan (and I don’t care what Kim or any of her publicists say – that wedding was a fucking setup). These days it seems you can switch channels on American TV and watch exactly the same show – with different actors – on every channel. Crime shows are the worst offenders; there is little to distinguish for me the differences between CSI, Unforgettable and Criminal Minds besides the parts where David Caruso fondles his sunglasses.
Another dirty tactic television networks are sticking to is siding with long-running shows that get a good chunk of audiences week to week even if they’re ancient – the most obvious example is The Simpsons, which will only end the same day Half-Life 3 is finally released, but this can also apply to other mainstays like South Park, Law and Order: SVU and the CSI franchise, all of which are strung out for double-digit seasons in an effort to maintain network identity. For God’s sake, get some different shows. HBO and AMC manage it pretty well every year – I mean, look at The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones? See what a bit of variety can do?
I guess that’s really what it all boils down to – variety. The need for that spice of life that separates the cinnamon from the sandgrains. Something special. Something that isn’t what we’re used to.
It’s what used to make SyFy one of the best channels on US television – but as I’ve established, SyFy is run by idiotic fuckskulls – but is now scarce and, in my mind, something we really need right now. The big main networks like NBC and ABC coming up with “new” shows using writer rejects from last summer’s canceled family sitcom fail to grasp that most of what they show isn’t new, it isn’t innovative, and it isn’t original. It’s like if a Battlefield or Medal of Honor game says they’re something original – well, yeah, you might be different in specific detail to something like Call of Duty, but you’re still goddamn samey.
Sorry, I’m probably sounding uncultured and overly cranky right now, but this has bothered me for a while. Music has gotten necrotic, and now television ain’t far behind. It’s partly why I prefer comic books these days – old opuses like The Sandman and contemporary imaginings like the current Scott Snyder run on Batman offer far more interesting stories than The Middle or Suburgatory. But you know what that leaves, right?