01. December 2005 · Comments Off on 97 Channels…And Nothing On · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Media Matters Not, Rant, sarcasm, That's Entertainment!

How pathetic is this… with all the riches of the wealthiest nation on earth (supposedly) at our command, and our culture alleged to bestride the known world like a colossus… but there is still not much on the TV broadcast channels to amuse me on a regular basis. The weekly TV guide is beginning to depress me, almost as much as actually having to buckle down and watch the resulting many-times-digested-and-regurgitated pap, piddle and trivia. I am only grateful I don’t work as a TV reviewer, and would have to watch it all, as a condition of employment. But at least, I would be paid for having done so, which would take the edge off, somewhat. Having a lobotomy might also do the trick… might this be passed off as a business expense for TV reviewers?

My local TV listings in this year of our lord 2005 leaves me wondering of this operation has been performed on those who have a responsibility for the programs gracing (if that is the word that can be used) the broadcast channel schedule. It is almost immediately apparent that all originality, creativity, and genius has fled to the cable channels, the ones that are bundled into a package that I can’t … or won’t pay to get, not if they come at a premium. I just can’t justify to myself paying more than 45$ a month for fifty channels, not when I am interested in only watching two or three of them. I think I’ll just save the money, and buy an interesting series on DVD down the road a ways.

But I do have the basic minimum broadcast channels, and oh, what a depressing prospect that is: wall to wall doctors, lawyers and cops… lots and lots of cops. Whatever interesting concept there once existed about any of those has been wrung dry of originality by copy-catting years ago. Old doctors, young doctors… young lawyers, prosecutors (who the hell cast that woman on “Close to Home” as a prosecuting attorney— she looks like a particularly earnest Brownie Scout, not a law school graduate), defense lawyers, private investigators, military lawyers and psychic investigators, crime scene investigators, military investigators…I don’t wanna even think about the CSI episode which aired last week, about the guy who ate himself to death. Who the hell programmed that for Thanksgiving evening? I damn near barfed! Grossing out the audience is not a good long term strategy, although maybe a collection of CSI autopsy scenes might work as a diet aid.

I will give a tiny cheer to “Cold Case”, though… for the really quite expertly crafted excursions into the past. See, you can do different eras quite convincingly on a weekly TV series, how come we are all stuck in the present, which we know all too depressingly well!? And next season, according to Drudge, the flav of the upcoming broadcast TV year is post-apocalyptic America, after some unfortunate series of events. Gee, one wonders if that cheery and disastrous prospect—picturing Middle America all gone to chaos and anarchy—isn’t giving certain coastal elites a woody of sufficient strength and duration to support a couple of concrete blocks and an small anvil. (Note to the bicoastal cultural elites— Middle America is the place where they have guns and tend to know their neighbors. Word to the wise, ‘kay?)

Shit, doesn’t anyone else in TV land have an original, interesting, non-medical, non-legal, non-law-enforcement job? I can’t even bring myself to watch the reality shows: an assortment of people coping with a bizarre collection of real-world and artificial challenges, showing off for an audience and either allying with or backbiting each other— I thought that is what the blogosphere is for. As it is, about the only show where I can’t see plot developments coming a mile away is “Lost”. I just hope that the creators and writers for that show have a seriously planned and mapped story arc in mind, and that all these odd little incidents do have an eventual point, and aren’t just thrown in every week on a whim; weird for the sake of weird, as “Twin Peaks” eventually turned out to be. Like, why the heck does Jack have a seriously military appearing tat, and where is the tree-trampling, air-crew snatching monster these days? I eagerly await any explanation of these matters; secure in the confidence that it won’t be anything I would have worked out already… which is why I keep tuning in, every week.

To see something different, surprising, amusing, unexpected… entertaining, even. That’s what I watch TV for; to be entertained, and not to be bored, insulted or nauseated. And that I am bored, insulted and nauseated on such a regular basis… well, I can only think that perhaps the broadcast channels don’t really want me to watch. And I am happy to oblige. I have enough good stuff on tape or DVD to go for the next couple of seasons. Think on that, major media sources, when you are trying to sell advertising time.

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