Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why the big four TV stations suck

ABC is putting out a new show this fall called Big Shots. It is, as far as I can tell, Desperate Housewives with men. It is about four executives and their problems.

So basically it is sexist, homophobic and unintelligent. There is a line at the end of the trailer shown above, where the character played by Dylan McDermit says, "Men, we are the new women." Now what is that supposed to mean? I guess it is supposed to mean that women have all the power now or that men are so stupid that women can easily play us. As a man, both of these interpretations annoy me. They are both so blatantly false that I don't understand why this is thought to be funny. I would think about getting rid of my cable if I didn't like sports so much. I love to watch football, hockey, college basketball, tennis and most any other sport. But that really isn't enough for me to have cable, it is also because there are shows once I get beyond the big four TV stations, that I do enjoy and think are worth watching. Shows on BBC America like Hex, Robin Hood and a new show I just started watching Jekyll. I like Food Network especially Alton Brown on both Good Eats and Feasting on Asphalt. At times CNN has shows worth watching. I love watching Boomerang for the classic cartoons like Johnny Quest, Loony Tunes and the multitude of '70s and'80s cartoons that were all basically the same, but still so entertaining (Smurfs and Snorks or Jabber Jaw as a take off on Scooby Doo). There are others shows and sometimes you can catch a good movie on TV such as Karate Kid which was on this morning.

So why do the basic four cable stations suck so badly? It is simple, they are all trying to copy each other rather than trying to find new and interesting programming. They also take the same stupid concept and beat it into the ground sometimes even copying the same idea that they have on their own network for example Desperate Housewives and Big Shots. I never watched Desperate Housewives, but shows like Dallas and other night time soap operas have always had a bit of a place on prime time TV, so the initial concept may not have been totally a bad idea, but just taking the same storylines and using men instead just seems lazy and pointless to me. I would guess that the success of shows like the Sopranos, Sex in the City and Entourage are fodder for the big four as well. They are trying to compete with networks that can truly push the envelope and use sex and swearing and show an idealized reality, but a version of reality nonetheless. ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox cannot get away with the same things due to the censors, so they have to try and push the envelope in tamer ways while still trying to titillate those same interests.

There is also a move toward mediocrity as there are more channels for people to choose to watch. It is almost as though the big four are trying to catch lightning in a jar, they find one show that sort of works and than hope that the fans that watch that show will follow the network to other shows just like it. The move toward mediocrity as encompassed Fox. Fox used to be at least somewhat cutting edge, when they had shows like In Living Color, the Simpsons, Married with Children and Greg the Bunny. These shows pushed the bounds of what was acceptable on TV and so Fox got this bad boy image, but they too have now become just like everybody else. If I could get a TV package that got rid of the big four and maybe substituted HBO and Showtime, I think I would do it.


Mathman6293 said...

You right about the networks. Dcup and I don't watch many new shows but we do watch Entourage and Jekyll.

Tengrain said...

I realized a few years back that I was spending $600+/year to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy's good, but that realization made me shut off the spigot.

I dunno, I think broadcast TV is about the common denomimator -- offending the fewest people rather than entertaining the most. It is the only explanation I have ever been able to come up with for "Full House."



Whiskeymarie said...

I was fine with Fox until they canceled the best. show. ever.

Arrested Development.
I will still visit for the Simpsons, but otherwise our relationship is over.

Other than a few great shows present and past (The Wire, Deadwood, The Office, Firefly, Strangers with candy, The Shield, Bill Moyers, Frontline, and everything else I'm forgetting right now) T.V. pretty much sucks these days.

Distributorcap said...

television programs are not about the viewers or entertaining

it is about selling ad time to advertisers that want to be in non-offensive programming. the viewers --- a mere bag of shells on the radar screen of the programmers

Comrade Kevin said...

I'm reminded of what Bill Hicks said about television programming.

He started off presuming that he had been given control as a producer of a TV show and was asked only one question: "Will there be titty?"

He says, "Ummm, sure."

And a check falls in his lap.

The producer continues: "What will these titties do?"

He says, "Jiggle?"

The producer says, "Jiggling titties! Who-da thunk of it?"

"I just can't write enough checks for you!"

Boxer rebel said...

Mathman-Those are two great show, I don't have HBO but when i did I really liked Entourage.

Ten- I remeber you making that comment about Buffy somewhere else and I am sure it is probably the case for many people. I agree with you about Full House.

Whiskey- I agree with all of your TV choices and would add Family Guy to another reason that I watch Fox

D-cap- How very true and yet we as the viewers stand for this.

Kevin- I had never heard that, but how funny and true.

FranIAm said...

I am a bit late to the party here, but I must add my two cents as I work in a "related field". Don't out me Distributorcap!

Some eyes- even dull, tired, listless eyes of the American public are counted as Dcap says and the more bland the pablum the better it is. Money is made and a lot of it on all ends.

Whiskey Marie is right- ever since Arrested Development was cancelled, things have just not been the same.