If you’re of a certain age, as I am, we’ve seen an incredible change in the way television is presented and viewed, right?
I hope you’re enjoying the changed world of TV, but as for me, I often feel that I’ve got 200 channels but there’s nothing worth seeing on the tube.
My thoughts go back some decades, when Baton Rouge had three channels and it seemed there were several good shows on every night. We also had what was then called educational TV, but nobody watched it. That, of course, evolved into PBS, one of the few networks that I do really enjoy today.
I remember the TV westerns. Every night featured at least a few examples of the genre on ABC, CBS and NBC. What great stories there were on Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel; Rawhide, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Maverick and many others.
Then we had the variety shows, on which various forms of live entertainment were presented, ranging from famous singers to jugglers and acrobats. The Ed Sullivan Show was the best of these. Remember how Ed would begin each program saying, “We have a RILLY big SHEW tonight.”
The sitcoms were very popular too with none of the edgy humor that we see so much of today. Such shows as Father Knows Best and the Ozzie and Harriet Show are often criticized today as being bland examples of 1950s conformity but at least you could watch them with Grandma in the room and not be embarrassed.
The police shows were good, too. Dragnet, Highway Patrol, the Naked City — all had good stories with good plots.
Now, what’s on TV today? Quite different stuff.
You may well enjoy the so called reality shows. I think they’re all massive bores. First of all, what’s real about several people being stranded in a jungle and forced to survive on their wits. When’s the last time you were stranded in a jungle?
To me most of today’s sitcoms just don’t strike my funny bone. Their humor is childish for the most part and I wonder where they get some of their writers from. The Big Bang Theory is funny, but not as humorous as it used to be. I think their writers are getting tired.
Today’s crime shows can be interesting. In fact my favorite network show is Bluebloods, the story of a New York police family, their work and their personal problems. But lots of today’s crime shows, led by the CSI series, seem to simply compete to see who can show the most rotten corpses. Believe it or not, they didn’t used to show dead victims up close.
Now people who know me, know I’m not a prude. Violence and sex can have a place in TV dramas if they’re part of the story. The series on The Tudors or the Western drama Hell on Wheels, for example, have plenty of both, but the story lines and the acting were so superb, that the gritty parts on the show just seemed to be a necessary aspect of the tale.
There are some good aspects of today’s television. Netflix is worthwhile because you can choose from hundreds of movies and/or TV series and control what you watch.
It’s also nice to be able to watch on TV almost any sporting event that’s being played. Years ago, you’d never see an LSU baseball game on television, for example.
So, I guess I’ll continue to pay big bucks for my 200 channels and enjoy what I like and ignore the rest. And when there’s nothing on, I’ve always got my books. Happy viewing, friends.