Friday, February 22, 2013

The Box

We recently switched to Uverse from Dish, at first I was reluctant to do it because of the hassle but Clyde wanted the bundle that included a faster internet.  I'm glad we did it, Uverse offers me many more channels that regularly show reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as opposed to the no channels on Dish, so I'm ecstatic.

Other than that, it is the same old, same old; 57 channels and nothing's on said the poet-philosopher Bruce Springsteen.  Except that I have roughly 150 channels programmed as favorites, that would be three times the potential for entertainment, and still nothing is on.

That's an exaggeration of course, but only a small one from my perspective.  Last night I was chatting with one of my Twitter friends who was asking about the merits of Zero Hour.  Media Whore Ed, who is doing his best to move and shake in the Hollywood Fishbowl, and I both lamented the lack of good scripted television these days. We both watch a lot of reality programs, which is what brought us together, a mutual like of Survivor, but it seems that neither one of us would mind a juicy drama to dig into.

I am happy to see Survivor back, but my rule of thumb is to watch Probst at Tribal; I don't get interested until he does and so far, Probst is not.  I am actually following my very first Survivor, @MattBischoff is a cool one thus far, but if Jonathan Penner had a Twitter, I would have been on that train already.  The Amazing Race is back too, and thankfully with less obnoxious stunt casting this time around.  Thank you for that producers of the Amazing Race, you were really trying my patience.

One could argue that my standards are too high; but I will argue back that boredom is not a standard, it is a demon to be fought back into the depths of the hell from whence it came.  I'm not 'too good' for these shows, I am bored by these shows; mostly because I've seen them all before.  Usually done better.

Here's the problem with television, and every form of creative entertainment: there are too many outlets and not enough product.  If this seems reminiscent of one of my earlier blog posts, it's because the message is the same.

If you don't have anything of interest to say, please shut up.

Too many dogs are fighting for the same meager scraps and no one is getting a full belly as a result.  That is why there are so many stupid new reality shows about white trash families, Bigfoot hunters, small town security inbreds and that major idiot who humps trees every time he digs up a 12 year old coin.  No, I'm not watching any of that; I watch The Soup every Wednesday night for the digest version.

There are too many news outlets, so they have to create news; there are too many sports outlets, so they have to create sports; there are too many freaking educational channels and THEY are even making stuff up now.

And don't get uppity book people, snubbing your nose at the masses while pontificating about the sanctity of the written word.  Snooki published a book.  A book with words.  Snooki.

If you are looking to start your own media empire, here is some advice from me:  Empires are not built on landfills, if you erect your house on garbage, the garbage will become your house.  Good shows need time and promotion to find an audience, that has not changed since the entertainment industry was founded, but the current climate of immediacy makes everyone afraid to commit.

If you don't commit, why the hell should we?

Another Buffy reference, but a very important one.  The CW allowed Joss Whedon the time and freedom to find the people that they knew where out there.  That time paid off in a big way and birthed a critical and commercial success.  Fox, on the other hand, did not allow Joss Whedon the time and freedom to develop Firefly, which could have been bigger than the X Files for them.

No, they wouldn't support Firefly, but they threw money at the piece of crap that was Dollhouse?  Shockingly shortsighted.  Fox didn't have the patience to let their calf grow up and screwed themselves out of the cow's milk.  Oh yeah, and they took that milk away from a lot of thirsty folks.

Alright TV execs, we see how desperate you are to get our attention, you are practically hyper-ventilating and nothing turns a person off like desperation.  It's the first rule of dating, no?  So calm down and think things through, think long-term and set the bar a little higher for yourselves.  Be a maverick, set the trends, don't follow them because people respond very well to mavericks.

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