March 13, 2013 by phicks2012
In the spirit of the “Take Back Wall Street” movement, it has occurred to me that just about anyone, technically speaking, can start a movement. The trick probably is to get other people involved — and enough of those to catch the attention of the mass media!
One of my recurring RANTS is the deplorable state of TV programming these days, and the fact that so many networks have sold out to bad (so called) reality programming that really has very little to do with reality, and certainly nothing to do with talent. If you can get several reasonably attractive (or unattractive but reasonably colorful) people to get in front of a camera and behave badly (or really stupidly) then you seemingly have the formula for a successful “Reality” Show. Toss in either high-fashion clothing (or camouflage and lack of teeth) and the network executives will be just ALL OVER the idea. The more conflict (or idiocy) the better for keeping the ratings high enough to avoid cancellation.
Taste, of any sort, is not usually required, nor is intelligence or talent. There are a very few non-competition reality shows that somehow have managed to be funny enough to avoid the otherwise necessary requirements for either over-the-top hystrionics or completely overblown stupidity, but there aren’t many. Now, toss in the fact that so many networks run hour-long infomercials in lieu of genuine programming, and you have a bonified recipe for CRAP.
Once upon a time it was cable that offered us viable alternatives to the major networks, but now the networks (notably NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX) are actually doing a fairly decent job of presenting quality programming — and thank GOD there are still a few other networks (aside from the Big Four and premium channels) that run good original scripted dramas/comedies, or reruns of the same. TNT, USA, and occasionally A&E do this, though A&E is also guilty of running Dog The Bounty Hunter marathons. The sports channels (mostly, at least) run sports, the Science Channel runs Science programs, PBS generally runs educational shows, and Comedy Central generally does run comedy, but the History Channel has moved mostly away from actual history, the so-called SyFy Channel seems to avoid quality science fiction or fantasy, and The (so-called) Learning Channel hasn’t had any educational content in YEARS than I’m aware of.
So here’s my proposal/manifesto for new broadcasting standards:
1) Network names should accurately reflect actual content. That way, you can have a reasonable expectation of watching something you will enjoy when you make the conscious choice to turn to a particular channel. WOW! What a concept!
2) Infomercials (except for those run on commercials-only channels that clearly identify their content) should only be run between 11:00pm and 8:00am. That way those who actually want to watch infomercials can do so, while the rest of us can avoid them!
3) The TV rating scale must include — along with TVY (All Children), TVY7 (Older Children), TVY7FV (Older Children Fantasy Violence), TVG (General Audience), TVPG (Parental Guidance Suggested), TV14 (Parents Strongly Cautioned), and TVMA (Mature Audience) — a TVMANIR (Mature Audience No intelligence Required) and a TVMANTR (Mature Audience No Taste Required) rating — noting that the program contains intense stupidity. I mean, you have to warn viewers about sex and violence! Why not warn them about stupidity?
So what do you say? Shall we “Take Back TV”