Have we witnessed the death of intelligent TV?

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ryva Brall, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sadly, decent news reporting isn't what it used to be.

    Put it this way: The song "Dirty Laundry" was written 30 years ago. It's a lot worse now.
     
  2. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Since Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Homeland are unfinished serials, no one knows yet whether these will be artistically successful. Trying to judge a story without knowing its end is absurd. Sepinwall tries to ignore that multiple failures in serialized stories in his book. Naturally he only succeeds in making himself look a fool.

    Why don't these lists always include Twin Peaks, St. Elsewhere, Roseanne, Lost, Heroes, BattleStar Galactica? To put it another way, why don't people still include Dexter or Revenge on such lists?
     
  3. Sephiroth

    Sephiroth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, twas Honey Boo Boo that slew intelligent television.
     
  4. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apparently free TV has indeed lost quite a bit of "intelligence" but why? It's the age old question of the chicken and the egg meaning did the TV networks start with dumb shows and people liked them or were people always this dumb and TV only found out in the last years?

    Fact is good shows usually cost much money.. good actors, good writers, sets etc and it's not guaranteed to be successful (my best example is Firefly). TV networks are are a business and like all businesses they don't like risks and this industry is far more risky than a food or clothing industries so they turn to safe products which are cheaper and that's reality TV.

    If you want challenging shows that need your undivided attention and a little bit of effort to follow them then you need to turn to pay TV, i.e. HBO and all the others where you can still get quality TV.

    With the whole media landscape in flux due to internet technologies and changed viewer habits you may need to look a bit harder to find some intelligent programming but it'll always be available.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only reason television shows even exist is to deliver ads. That alone should tell you why they're generally so stupid.
     
  6. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why should lists or articles about current quality TV shows contain shows that went off the year twenty years ago or shows that went off the rails before now?
     
  7. Ryva Brall

    Ryva Brall Commander Red Shirt

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    Do you think people have just become accustomed to a lower standard of television? Some of the clips I've seen on "The Soup" of shows like "Moonshiners", "Duck Dynasty", and "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" are just embarrassingly bad. It makes me wonder: who is being entertained by this? And would people have been entertained by it twenty or thirty years ago? Or would they have been appalled?

    Maybe we're becoming desensitized to stupidity.
     
  8. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's a cycle. If we consume television, and television never informs, then we remain uninformed. Therefore, we get stupider. Therefore, we stop watching shows that don't appeal to us. Therefore, we end up with stupider shows. It takes someone breaking the cycle. And it starts with the consumer. We have made learning uninteresting and mass appeal has to cover kids, too. With distracted and tired parents.

    I like it when a show uses a word I have to look up or references something that requires me to understand the material. It's entertaining. Looking for plot, looking for character development, it's all a part of the experience. If I just sit down and watch without having to think, most of the time, I won't be able to keep my attention. This is not to pat myself on the back, just proving that it can be done.
     
  9. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    Perhaps some people watch it for its "train wreck" value?
     
  10. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I doubt that anyone is actively seeking these shows out to watch them. People watch them because they're on and they need background noise.
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    People always think things were better in the good old days--and that there's too much dumb stuff on TV. As far back as 1961, the head of the FCC famously denounced network television as "a vast wasteland," full of brainless sitcoms, game shows, westerns, cop shows, cartoons, etc."

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the ancient Greeks complained that this year's tragedies weren't as good as the ones they grew up on:

    "Who is this Sophocles hack anyway--and why in Zeus's name would anyone want to watch some guy rip his eyes out because he screwed his mother? Everything today is just sex, gore, and shock value. Talk about pandering to the lowest common denominator . . . ."

    The more things change . . . .
     
  12. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Shows like Talk Soup are just regurgitating this stuff. Laughing at it is still consuming it, and probably in the same manner a lot of the people who watch this stuff get a kick out of it. Some time back I decided to drop out on celebrity/reality shit and shows that dwell on them. I'm not perfect or completely isolated from it but I've curbed it where I can.
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I mentioned game shows earlier...that's an area where the good old days actually WERE better. Oh, how I long for the game show era of my youth...Name That Tune, the REAL Price is Right, Tic Tac Dough, The [insert dollar value here that always seemed to change like every six weeks] Pyramid, The Gong Show, Match Game (Gene Rayburn: like a boss), Press Your Luck (Big bucks! Big bucks! No whammies!), Card Sharks... :sigh:
     
  14. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

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    no seriously everyone, watch some BBC4. i'm sure you can find it somewhere no matter your location. you'll be like 'i need some dumb tv to cool my brain' afterwards.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Amen. You don't even have to go for the prestige stuff. Nostalgia aside, does anybody really think that "Adam-12" or "Dragnet" was smarter than "CSI" or "Castle"? That "Medical Center" and "Marcus Welby" were better than "Grey's Anatomy"? That "Petticoat Junction" and "Gomer Pyle" were smarter than "The Big Bang Theory"? That "Charlie's Angels" and "The Love Boat" and "Three's Company" were smarter than the average episode of "The Americans" or "Lost Girl" or "Warehouse 13"?

    Bottom line: there's more dumb stuff out there, but a lot more quality stuff as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Here's one argument for TV shows always being stupid:

    Laugh tracks.
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Because it's about as certain as can be that some (or most) of the supposedly high-quality serials like Homeland or Game of Thrones or whatever will go off the rails by the end. If those old series, which were highly regarded at the time, can't be upheld as quality TV now,then currently running serials can't be, because we don't know yet if they are going to conclude successfully. Which means the jury is still out on the notion that there is still just as much high-quality TV, at least proportionately, as ever. An awful lot of supposedly high quality TV is open-ended serials.

    Three comments. First, the tendency to forget the bad stuff is responsible for the impression the past was better.

    Second, the limb broke. It was not just crotchety old Dionysia audiences that decided the likes of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were indeed better. It was the many generations that found those dramatists worth remembering and the many others, not so much.

    Third, "the more they stay the same" isn't true. Television news now has something like Fox News and commentators like Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. Daytime TV now has Judge Judy, Maury Povich, Jery Springer, not just soaps and game shows like Queen for a Day. Ted Mack Hour has turned into a money show. Another huge difference of course is the rise of reality TV. Yet another huge difference is the extraordinary rise of open-ended serialization. We may no longer be able truly to compare because things are in fact so different.

    I'm not at all certain that there is so much quality stuff available since so much of it is serials about which it is impossible to make even a preliminary judgment, much less one that can stand the test of even a few years time.

    What I'm even less certain about is whether the issue is intelligence. Intelligence sadly has never kept anyone from playing the fool. Part of what we're really talking about is foolishness.

    That caution made, I will be so bold as to say that the notion that Marcus Welby isn't as smart as Grey's Anatomy is a perilous judgment to make. Even worse, I declare that Gilligan's Island and Charley's Angels and Petticoat Junction are in fact "smarter" TV than Judgmental Judy or Storage Wars or Big Brother.
     
  18. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Happy Little Tree Premium Member

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    That would be An American Family, which aired on PBS in 1973.
     
  19. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Happy Little Tree Premium Member

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    And the 1930s had Father Coughlin on the radio, sympathizing with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and spreading all sorts of anti-Semitic claptrap. The more things change, the more they do stay the same.
     
  20. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    None of these were cancelled except for Enlightened and none of these were cancelled a decade ago. If we're talking about television history then all these shows are babies.