What Is Wrong with Television?

I will admit that I USE to watch a lot of television.  I grew up when television was basically in its infancy and thought it was a real treat when mom and dad agreed to let my sister and me see The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Comedies were centered on family life and dramas would make you think. My how television has changed.

Where have all the movers and shakers gone?  I remember a time when shows like The Twilight Zone was considered a curiosity.  It made us think.  Remember the original (and even the remake) of Star Trek?  They didn’t rest on their laurels.  They kept pushing the bubble and making you think.

Then there were the shows that made you laugh.  I loved I Love Lucy as a child.  I loved Home Improvement and Full House as an adult.  Now the comedies don’t seem to be grounded in anything but being obnoxious and borderline offensive.  Where have the shows gone that made you laugh.

Maybe I’m much too serious  Last night while channel flipping I came across Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  I own a copy and have meant to watch it all the way though but haven’t had the energy or chance to do so.  Last night, I sat down and watched the commercial version.  Now I know what I’m missing from most movies and television show.  I’m missing the element of surprise — the element where you want to continue to watch.  I’m missing things that make you think.

I’m not sure if the movers and shakers have disappeared from movies and television.  The movies don’t seem to have much trouble (except for a desire to remake all the classics with actors I don’t find funny or that talented). The real issue is television.  They’re so afraid to try anything new.  ABC announced that there would no longer be a mid-season break.  I actually loved the mid-season break because my favorite shows weren’t always being interrupted by sports and “award” shows.  Television seems afraid to try storytelling as an art. The comedies used are usually something that most people can’t relate to and thus have dismal ratings.  The dramas predominantly are crime shows.  What little sci-fi is out there is limited in scope and rarely lasts more than one season.

So my question is why? If we can have event shows like The X-Files, why can’t we have thought provoking shows each week.  If we can have entertainment shows that aren’t looking for the gross like America’s Got Talent, why do we fixate the objectionable acts. If we can in the not so distant past have shows that had audiences like Friends, isn’t someone capable of designing another show that plays on what we want to see and not what someone at the network think we want to see?


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