Maybe it is just a sign of getting old, but there is not much on TV that interests me anymore. I spend hundreds of dollars Perry Mason The Complete Series series on hundreds of cable channels just to watch reruns of past TV shows. I flip through screen after screen of listings only to select Friends on channel one thousand and something. I guess part of it is that I am not a big fan of the fake reality shows. The newest genre of show is either a competition which focuses more on the petty back stage antics of selfish small-minded people or a completely unrealistic reality format that manufactures and even sometimes scripts antics for the equally greedy small-minded people you find there.
Past TV shows had more to do with reality than most any of the so called reality shows that are on now. Shows from back in the day were predominantly situational comedies which exaggerated real life, but at least the audience could relate to it. There were characters in the show the viewer could recognize and situations they could remember themselves being in. I can find little to relate to never having been marooned on an island with 20 strangers or dropped in a foreign country trying to beat 20 strangers to the next foreign country. How are those situations anything that can be called reality?
Part of the charm and joy of television was its connection to the ancient Greek aesthetic element of catharsis. The beauty of drama was in what the audience came away with in their view of their own lives. The audience was supposed to see the flaws in the characters on stage and either see themselves with similar flaws or be relieved from not having them. Past TV shows gave us that in both dramatic and comedic forms. The only thing the audience walks away with today is the knowledge that the world is filled Reba box set Seasons 1-6 with some pretty creepy people who will do almost anything for money.
Past TV shows also seemed to celebrate the good in people. Most of the shows were about good cops, good lawyers, good teachers who were in some way rewarded for their higher character and the bad guys were somehow punished. Todays shows seem to celebrate the sick and twisted leaving the most cunning and ruthless to walk away with fame and money. The culture seems to breed deviants who lead appalling lives just to get acceptance from the viewing strangers.
As evidence of the vacuous nature of todays aesthetic is the number of remakes in movies and on TV. Past TV shows are being made into films. Old films are being remade. Old TV stars are making cameos or taking roles on the remakes of their old shows. Melrose and 90210 are just 2 examples of this phenomenon. There is nothing new being produced for todays small screen that is compelling because the medium has lost House of Lies its ability to bring the audience any kind of cathartic value by manufacturing artifice and calling it reality.
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