Have we witnessed the death of intelligent TV?

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

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    I think the OP was referring more to educational material on channels like Discovery and History giving way to fiction based shows. Not that fiction based shows are "getting dumber". That's a different topic.
     
  2. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles HHHHIIIIIIIIIIII... Premium Member

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    That is where this thread started, yeah. And it's been a trend going back to the late 90s when TLC started dumping their educational programming for home decorating shows like Interior Motives and Trading Spaces.
     
  3. Ryva Brall

    Ryva Brall Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes. Thank you. And yes, in fact, I do blame TLC. It used to stand for "The Learning Channel", for heaven's sake.

    Given that nothing on that channel could be considered educational, what should TLC stand for now?
     
  4. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The television figure who parallels Father Coughlin was Fulton J. Sheen, which shows that things do change, because he's not a very close parallel. If you ignore denomination (a risky business in discussing religion, even TV religion,) Pat Robertson is closer. But their popularity is so different that, again, it shows that things do change. If you mean they don't always change for the better, I concede.

    PS TLC could stand for Totally Lucre Centered?
     
  5. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep. I remember when A&E and History Channel had a lot great stuff that actually had history documentaries. No offense to anyone that likes Pawn Stars, Auction shows and Pickers et al..
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    And MTV doesn't show as many music videos anymore. And Syfy doesn't just show reruns of old space operas and superhero shows anymore.

    This may have less to do with the dumbing down of the audience and the discovery that cable channels that are too specialized don't attract enough viewers--and have to broaden their programming to survive.

    (I remember when people used to complain that the History Channel ran way too much material on World War II, as opposed to the rest of History!)
     
  7. Capt. Vulcan

    Capt. Vulcan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It goes in cycles.
     
  8. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    It must be pretty damn dumb when the Sci-Fi Channel decides Syfy makes more sense as a name. Maybe we have T2 and the Legion of Letters to thank for that.
     
  9. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    But wasn't the History Channel, for a time, the Hitler Channel? WWII, JFK, Lincoln, The Civil War and the War for Independence made up the bulk of their broadcasting.

    And all these channels started losing viewers, TLC, HC, AP and other were losing viewers (Except during Shark Week). Along came a programming executive who started changing the programming, Hitler was regulated to around the time of VE Day, The Pacific Front to the week with December 7th, the Civil War to Lincolns birthday or his assassination, JFK to what ever week had November 23rd in it. This programming executive then started shows that appealed to larger audiences. Pawn Stars (which at least has a tiny bit of history in it) and others. The executive then moved from network to network making similar changes. Everywhere she went, ratings rose.

    TV has gotten both smarter and dumber, History Channel has been able to come up with good miniseries on history using the revenue raised from Pawn Stars and others like it.

    Using the History Channel as a example, who thinks it would have continued to survive had it stuck to its old format? I don't. Let those less interested in History subsidize the better history programs we have today.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I was actually interviewed for a Learning Channel special on vampires years ago, back when it was still The Learning Channel. Alas, I didn't have cable at the time so I never saw the finished program, but I remember spending an afternoon in Trinity Cemetery in lower Manhattan, strolling among the gravestones while trying very hard to look thoughtful and profound . . . :)
     
  11. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I think "Dragnet" was smarter than "CSI." My grandfather was a cop, my dad was a cop, I'm a lawyer and I used to be [part time limited duty] cop. So I speak from experience

    Dragnet is flawed television. However, to this day that show is still more realistic than most of what passes for "reality" TV, especially in the area of law enforcement.

    Joe Friday and Bill Gannon (and, before that, Frank Smith) worked leads. They interviewed suspects and witnesses. They didn't have a shoot 'em up every week and, in fact, the one time that I recall Friday actually fired his weapon there was an internal investigation and review board.

    To this day, a lot of what transpired on that show more accurately depicts day to day police life than anything that has aired since.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Dragnet might have gotten some technical details right, but its colorless cops who always solved the case were as realistic as anything else on TV at the time. Which is to say, not very.

    Which is not to praise the modern shows you have identified for realism, although I would praise Homicide: Life on the Streets and (more so) The Wire.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Okay, I'll grant that you obviously know your "Dragnet" better than I do. (I confess I only vaguely remember watching it as a kid.) And it may well deserve points for being more realistic, although that's not necessarily the same thing as "smarter."

    (Most shows about writers are totally ridiculous when it comes to portraying how publishing actually works, but that's not really the point. It's about how clever or engaging or complicated the characters and stories are, IMHO. Fiction has its own rules, apart from reality.)

    But, okay, forget "Dragnet." What's another old cop show that's doesn't necessarily blow today's cop shows away. "MacMillan and Wife?" "McCloud"? "Starsky & Hutch"?

    Granted, I haven't seen any of those in ages, but I don't remember them being on a notably higher intellectual plane than, say, BONES or MONK?
     
  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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  15. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Wait, you mean your life's not like Castle!?!
     
  16. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Heh. Last night, after watching yet another new (as in "new to us") series on Netflix, hubby turned to me, rather shocked and said, "Do you realize that every new show we've loved in the last two years has been British?"

    Ripper Street
    Whitechapel
    Luther
    Wire in the Blood
    State Within
    Sherlock
    Last Enemy
    Blue Murder
    The Last Detective
    Downtown Abbey
    Mr. Selfridge

    ....We've loved all of these, discovered them in the last two years or so, but there aren't many new shows on US TV that we're really enjoying. I think, at best, it's just a lukewarm interest. I think Copper is the only "new" show I really like but it's going into its second year---and it's produced by BBCA. The few US shows that I really care about and appreciate are almost all on cable networks.

    So, yeah, I think there's lots of intelligent programming out there, you just have to search for it. But network programming has always been fairly dumb and generally crap, anyway.
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    My own impression is that there's enough good stuff out there these days that nobody has to watch "American Hoggers" or "Duck Diaries" unless they want to.

    Heck, Monday night alone I had to choose between Bates Motel, Castle, Defiance, and a PBS special on the history of Wonder Woman . . . and I still haven't found time to watch Defiance yet.
     
  18. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    How'd I miss that?!?
     
  19. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Two words: Sturgeon's Law.
     
  20. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Easy. "Barney Miller" and "Hill Street Blues," the latter still being on a par with anything on TV today.
     

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