I vote network tv off the island

The last time a television show surprised me was when Boomer shot Adama. (I’ve had issues with Galactica, namely complaining in advance that saving the president’s life was going to be a terrific cheat. Turns out it made enough sense that I could believe it, because it wasn’t just convenient, it was complicating.) It will be awhile until I see more episodes, since we are watching it via Netflix instead of in “real” commercially-laden time, but I am convinced it will be worth the wait. For one thing, it isn’t on regular network tv.

The new Battlestar Galactica wouldn’t make it on network tv, because near as I can tell, there are only three shows on network television:

  • The crime show
  • The medical show
  • The reality show

I wonder sometimes why there are only three shows on network tv. What do these kinds of stories tell us, over and over again?

As the Law & Order noise has chung-chunged its way into every brain in America, we know that crime is everywhere, yet somehow it only happens to other people in New York City. From the bits I’ve seen of shows like ER and House and whatever that McCutesypie show is called, part of the attraction must be that you can’t spend longer than five or ten minutes with doctors any other way. Yeah, it’s nice to know that if you have a really exotic freaky problem, an asshole genius and his troubled minions will probably save your life. Not so nice to think about how hospital staff are always screwing each other literally or figuratively, but hey what do you expect from people who are forced to work 80+ hours a week? As for the wife-swapping, supernanny-needing, how-far-down-the-alphabet-can-you-go and still be a celebrity anyway z-listers and vote-for-me / don’t vote for me types, this much is clear: other people’s lives are a freak show, and we the audience control their destinies. Or control their destinies by proxy, via the hosts/judges. Obviously, their destinies are out of their own hands, or they wouldn’t subject themselves to prying cameras, would they? No. Of course not.

We’ve got the remote, so we’ve got the power. In fact, the remote even has a POWER button on it.

3 thoughts on “I vote network tv off the island

  1. I can’t think of any network TV show I actually watch. I don’t even watch The Simpsons anymore. I catch Psych and Monk on USA. Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, Survivorman on Discovery (and other history/information shows like Modern Marvels and How Its Made). Various cartoons – Avatar and such. Food Network shows like Challenge and Good Eats.

    I can’t stand reality shows, CSI, medical dramas. Never watched any of them.

    Oh wait… I do watch Lost… on DVD.

  2. I rarely watch live tv anymore – I love that tivo gives me the neflix-like experience without as long of a wait, and it is smart enough to scour the tv for shows we might like (though the hubby monopolizes with Discovery & History channel shows). I can think of many nights when we are sitting at home flipping through our 300+ channel listing and end up saying “let’s check what’s on the tivo”.

    I haven’t been a bit network tv watcher until recently – the shows Heroes, Friday Night Lights, and Ugly Betty have brought me back (and yes I admit it – I watch McGrey’s!). Excluding Grey’s, the other 3 don’t feel like they fit the formulaic mold of crime-medical-reality and actually make me care about the characters and want to see what happens next week!

  3. Sometimes I get the feeling that network TV would rather produce lame knockoffs or continue to produce formula sitcoms/dramas than actually contend with the best available show in any slot on the other networks–meaning if American Idol is the most popular show on TV on Wednesday, don’t expect anything good on any other (network) channel in the same slot.

    It seems to me that TV is ripe for a crime-lab parody show–then again, maybe CSI:Miami *is* the crime-lab parody show (take off sunglasses, cue commercial)

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