TV Is most on TV really crap?

Discussion in 'Movies & TV' started by Sim, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    A while ago, I came across a rather harsh critique of the state of television in general, public tv in Germany in particular (but I assume the problems described are the same, or even worse in America).

    I translated some passages from the article, but it's still pretty long. You don't need to read it all to get an idea where the author is coming from. Here it is:

    Helpful background information: In Germany, there had been only public channels until 1984, when private TV was legalized. Today, ca. 60% of the free tv market consists of private channels, 40% of public channels. The author of this article does not even mention private channels (because considering what he has to say about public tv makes obvious he doesn't even think it's worth pointing out private TV is the worst crap under that exists), but complains about the declining quality of public tv, which now starts competing with the private channels and thus dumbs down its quality.

    What do you think? Is the author too harsh? Has he good points? Do you fully agree, or with some points, or not at all?

    In my opinion, I think he is a bit too harsh. I agree with him that a lot you see on TV these days is really crap: "Scripted reality" shows, stupid game shows, extremely superficial shows celebrating superficiality and propagating questionable role models (does really every girl has to look like a model, and deserves ridicule if she has a few pounds too much?), or horrible talk shows where some people from the street are given a hundred bugs to shout at each other -- so far I agree, these cheap productions are indeed tasteless and mindless.

    But on the other side, there have been real quality productions so far, when it comes to TV shows, especially in private pay tv: Shows like "Sopranos", "Six Feet Under", "Mad Men", "Dexter" and so on have set a new standard for quality in tv series, not just in terms of production values, but also in terms of content. They may be controversial, but they often aim at making you think instead of just mindlessly entertaining you, and thus are more demanding that most what you could see before in free tv. The 21st century has brought an increase of quality for tv shows, IMHO.

    What do you think?

    EDIT: Here the link to the original article in German language -- Öffentlich-Rechtliche Sender: Vom Volk bezahlte Verblödung | Gesellschaft | ZEIT ONLINE
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010

  2. HalfEatenSurprise

    HalfEatenSurprise Registered Member

    I believe that most TV is not rubbish.

    The worst of TV, or perhaps the least imaginative is thrust in the faces of the general public, on the terrestrial channels. Hence, the general cry is that most TV is utter garbage. Yet, if you look around and scope out a broader range of channels I dare say that the is something that you like on one of those channels. --- At most times, give or take.

    In general, TV is in the eye of the beholder. A lot of people like the stuff that others think is utter crap. Yet, most of the time those people are either too picky, or just not easily amused or haven't look around as extrensively as they could. --- Like me actually. -- I've considered TV to be full of crap for years, yet there are numerous shows on TV that are excellent and well worth a look... It may appear that TV is just utter crap... But I reckon that is not so.

    It just isn't. It can't be. Can it?

    EDIT: Although, this seems to affect Germany, and I have no idea what German television is like. If public TV is like our channels 1 to 5 then you may be right. Although, if not and it accepts Freeview, and Sky too etc... Then the answer to your wonderment remains as I have stated it. In my opinion of course.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  3. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    I agree: Maybe much is crap, but when you search carefully, you can easily find some gems between all the waste. And by "gems", I don't just mean things you necessarily like, but those programs which are really objectively of higher quality than other stuff.

    That's true. Of course there is nobody who likes absolutely everything that's on tv. But I think there is at least party an objective standards when it comes to quality, regardless if you like the program in question or not.

    For example, you may easily be entertained by a particular program and like it, yet you know it's objectively not very good -- because it doesn't make you think, it has very cheap production values, there was only few effort put in the production of both concept, script and realization, and because it only aims at causing maximum effect with a minimum of effort. At least that is what sometimes happens to me: I know a particular program is really bad, is neither original nor demanding, yet it entertains me. Like certain stupid comedies.

    On the other side, there are programs you realize are objectively pretty good, yet they don't captivate you, maybe bore you, or simply are not your cup of tea. For example, certain documentaries or "artsy" movies: You can see those who wrote the script put lots of efforts in terms of thought and concept into it, the way it's filmed is original and different than most you see, and the topics are maybe very thought provoking. Sometimes, these programs require a lot of patience: You have to carefully watch for a while, before you have an idea what it's really about, which maybe alienates many viewers who are used to quick and shrill stimulation, for whom a few minutes of silence to get a point across is too much to take. It takes some time and effort to get into it, to understand the message, or to realize the questions the makers want you to consider -- often without giving clear answers. You have to do the thinking, not everything is presented on the screen for even the last viewer to get it.

    In those cases, I think you can say the quality is objectively higher than in "fast food for the brain"-productions which don't leave any open questions, don't deal with thought provoking topics, and often over-use unoriginal standard techniques.

    Often, I really like that. When a TV show, for example, makes me think about a certain question or problem even for a while longer, that has a certain appeal. But sometimes, I just want mindless entertainment. I just don't feel like thinking or educating myself whenever I switch on the TV. And I think that's a fair and legitimate attitude to have. That's what the author of the article fails to see, IMHO.
    Where do you live, if I may ask?

    Public tv in Germany spans two mainstream channels ("The First" and "Second German Television"), which are still among the 4 most watched free tv channels, as well as seven regional channels and several special interest channels (a German-Austrian-Swiss culture channel called "3sat", a French-German channel called "arte", a documentary and politics channel called "Phoenix" with live broadcasting of parliamentary debates, speeches and high quality political talkshows).

    Especially the two mainstream channels and the regional channels are under criticism for dumbing down their programs in order to compete with the privates (which, in most cases, don't have the slightest inclination to respect a minimum threshold for taste and quality) and often show cheap soaps, harmless talkshows, family game shows and horrible folk music programs for old people. But the public special interest "niche" channels are really good, IMHO -- but also only have a small market share.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  4. generalblue

    generalblue Where is my Queen?

    TV shows now for the most part is garbage. I remember the TV show Jericho which was very good, everybody that I knew watched that show and they took off the air at the beginning of the second season. Also MTV used to be nothing but music, now it is tainted with reality bullshit that nobody watches. MTV stands to Music Television, not 15 minutes of fame. VH1 also followed suit shortly after. Also what happened to all the raunchy shows like Roseane and Married With Children, you don't have those shows on your local stations anymore, you have to watch those type of shows on FX which in my area requires you to purchase the highest tier of programming. I rarely watch TV now anymore, I usually watch all the shows that I want to watch on my computer so that way I don't have to deal with all the bullshit commercials and channel surfing.
    Sim likes this.
  5. Bubbles

    Bubbles I ♥ Haters

    I'm gonna go ahead and echo what generalblue just said. MTV, VH1 and FUSE is just full of reality garbage. They have crap like 16 & Pregnant, 16 & Engaged etc. It just promotes underage failure. And lets not forget the gems like Flava of Love, and I Love New York or I Love Money. This makes me sound like hypocrite since I usually tune in to watch some of the bitch fits on these reality shows. But anyways, not everything on TV is crap. Nick @ Nite, TVLand, TBS and CMT are keeping some of the awesome sitcoms on TV through re-runs.
    Sim likes this.
  6. Daemonic

    Daemonic Registered Member

    I don't even have cable....

    It is a waste of money in my opinion, I use netflix if I want to check out movies....

    Other than that I am happier curling up with a book that wasting my time with TV.
    Sim likes this.

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