The medium TV has been constantly changing since its inception and this change has been significantly accelerated in the last two decades. Things we never dreamed of are now possible: TV-series have now big budgets and movie stars as cast members, we can stream content on demand and are less dependent on the TV program and we can ogle the Kardashians 24/7.
Are there any downsides to the “Golden Era of TV”? What’s better/worse now, what do we (not) miss from the olde times of TV?
A bunch of Supernaughts columnists gathered to give us their perspective on “Old TV vs. New TV”.
Stalkeye: TV-entertainment, all grown up
I really don’t miss the old methods of television programming mostly because of censorship . Because of the FCC’s tight grip on what is considered “viewable” by the organization’s standards. Although certain risk takers like All in the Family had exercised liberties of what may be looked upon as taboo subject matter, shows such as these were few and far between. Even as a kid I felt that the lack of profane language or graphic violence on network Television were too unrealistic depending on the situation or scenario. Cable networks like HBO and Showtime defined the new standard on unrestricted programming.
So fast forward today where we have Cable Networks such as FX (which thanks to their groundbreaking series The Shield, has raised the bar via uncensored adult content. ) and soon after AMC that deliver a welcomed alternative from the sanitized major four networks.
Of course the worst thing I would say about today’s television is those damned reality-based shows that have contestants coming of like narcissistic crybabies. What’s worse is one with an ounce of intelligence can tell that the shit is often scripted. But thanks to cord-cutting streaming services such as Hulu we now have the choice to watch television shows on our schedule.
Now that’s what I call, convenience!
Stalkeye is columnist at the Supernaughts
IAB: What I Don’t Miss From Old TV
The episodic nature. I know, I know…”but IAB – isn’t ALL television episodic?”. Allow me to clarify; what I’m meaning is the way the Status Quo was always restored by the end of the weekly episode. You knew, that Michael Knight was always gonna survive all that was thrown at him – usually by some new weekly addition to K.I.T.T’s systems. You knew that MacGyver was always gonna survive through whatever tight spot he had by some magnificent concoction from simple household items. And you KNEW, that the crew of the Enterprise was always gonna survive any intergalactic crisis they go into – well, unless you wore a red shirt. Or your name was Tasha Yar. No continuation, except maybe some audience’s favorite guest character returning for future episodes in future seasons. No real character growth. No– I don’t know – no feeling of living in a real, three-dimensional world where actions have consequences. Speaking of Star Trek; I guess thats why I like Deep Space Nine the best, because – in spite of Paramount’s objections – the runners of that show dared to jump off from that episodic cycle.
Which brings me to the second point: the standard 24 episode – seasons. Because even in Deep Space Nine, the story was a bit too much to stretch into 24 episodes per season. Some shows even had up to 26-28. In that format, there WILL always be filler-episodes. You know what I mean; maybe an episode which focuses only in an adventure of some supporting character, so that the lead actors can take a vacation or go shoot a movie or whatnot. Or the worst of the worst: a clip-show. Yeech. The way that most of the current non-network (and even SOME network shows, I’ve happily noticed) shows tell their stories in 8-16 episodes per season pretty much forces the writers to focus on the things that matter, and throw away all that filler bullshit. I love that.
The end-capper – or the “epilogue laugh”. Do you remeber those? After the crisis in each episode was solved, the main characters usually gathered together and reflected on the preceding events, then someone cracks a joke and they all laugh together – fade/or freeze-frame to end credits. Imagine if that type of shit would happen in a modern show. In…lets say Hannibal:
(Hannibal and Graham are sitting in Hannibal’s office)
Well, I’m sure glad I didn’t manage to kill you this time.
Oh – I’m sure you’ll have better luck next time. Who knows
– maybe you even manage to eat me.
Imagine that. *shudders* I remember a lot of that type of stuff happening in the original Star Trek from time to time. I even remember that happening as close as in the 80’s. I guess it was supposed to leave a good feeling to the audience after the episode, but really; it’s soooo fucking pretentious.
Well, there’s three things I definitely don’t miss.
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