I have a confession to make.
I, Suze, don’t watch TV anymore. In fact, I’m pretty much turned off of just about every show out there. It’s an interesting irony, really. After all, I produce TV. Right now I co-produce a series that airs on our local cable station. We have a bunch of other shows in various stages of development and pre-production. I contribute directly to the industry, but I don’t really participate as a viewer.
Here I am, on a Friday night, flipping endlessly through the hundreds of channels that I have available to me on my digital box. And aside from one or two interesting documentaries, a few movies, the odd cooking and home reno show and, well, our show, of course …I can’t get over how little actual, good content there is on mainstream television anymore.
Now, before I continue, I must admit that I have never been a dramatic series watcher. Aside from the occasional episode of Law and Order or CSI, I really have never been able to commit to watching a series week after week. I do appreciate that there are some good series out there – Lost, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy to name a few – but if you look at the current lineups of the major networks, even those types of shows are becoming the minority.
It seems to me that the major networks and U.S. specialty networks are obsessed with drama. And I don’t mean “E.R” kind of drama. I mean the staged, exaggerated, over-the-top “reality-based” Drama Queen type of drama that makes up a good majority of mainstream television these days.
I love video. I always have. It has the power to impress, to entertain, to really move people to change for the better. But these “reality” shows are an insult to the medium and frankly, an insult to my intelligence. These programs seek only to bring out the worst qualities in people – they are stories about greed, revenge, deception and negativity. Why anybody finds this sort of show entertaining is really beyond me.
The more time goes on, it seems, the more shows like this are becoming the mainstream. Obviously, somebody is watching them. Why they are so popular puzzles me greatly. As much as I love the medium of television, I’m losing faith in it, fast. More often than not these days, I am turning off the TV and turning on my laptop.
The Internet is so ripe with awesome content, it makes me want to burst. I can watch shows about any topic imaginable, produced by people who have skill and talent and heart and passion. I can do it on my own schedule, from my bed, my livingroom, my coffee shop or my backyard. Through the Web, I have regained the capacity to be impressed, entertained and moved by video.
And that’s where I start to see hope for the future.
What do you think? Where does TV sit in your life these days?