I am a massive fan of television. As I think I have said before, I do not watch a lot of broadcast television, as, in Britain, a lot of broadcast television consists of auction shows, DIY shows and other ‘reality’ type shows. Oh, and ‘talent shows’ too, with a huge block of coarse sea-salt slammed down onto the word ‘talent’. Basically, television for the masses. The very worst of low art.
And that is what television is seen as. As a form of entertainment that still is looked down upon, by intellectuals and the like. I assume this is because it is still, relatively speaking, a new form of media. We are now just getting to the point where films can be seen as art. But television is viewed as the low-brow cousin.
I think this is very unfair. Particularly with the way television has progressed in the last 20 years or so, if we put aside the types of shows I mentioned above. I’m talking about the wave of brilliantly crafted drama and comedy that has been crashing over us, I think pretty much since the world-wide recession started. When we all got dramatically poorer, or the rate of inflation as so high that none of us could really afford to do nice things like go out a lot, we started delving into box-sets of TV shows (me, I started this a few years before that because I’ve always been quite poor. I mean, because I’m a path-finding trend-setter). I started on shows like House and How I Met Your Mother, Fringe, Peep Show, Red Dwarf over and over, Dexter, Pushing Daisies. The list is endless.
Then, off the back of this phenomenon of binge-watching TV, streaming services like Netflix started, buying the rights to shows and films and charging a certain amount a month to access it. You know how it works.
Because we were investing more time and revenue in these shows, the production companies started doing the same and the quality increased. This is the way I see it anyway. Now we live in a post-Breaking-Bad world where every show is trying to live up to the very high bar that it set. And that is not a bad thing. Breaking Bad, on every single level – production, writing, acting, philosophy, sheer jaw-droppingly awesome moments – was so far ahead of everything else. It has now become ‘that’ show that we all must see. To the point where people will not stop going on about it. It has become something of a cursed chalice.
I’m fully are that these are probably only my thoughts but when something becomes that popular, it somehow gets devalued. There is a certain prestige in something being only accessible by a few and shunned by the rest. Firefly s a perfect example of that. I started watching Breaking Bad when it first started itself. I would usually sit and go through all the premières of new shows and decide which ones I would stick with (I did not have a lot going on in my life for quite a while). When I watched the first few episodes of Breaking Bad, I obviously began recommending it to my friends. I explained the outline of the show and they thought it sounded like complete b***ocks. Then, when it become the ‘trendy’ thing to like around season four, they started recommending it to my. The very same friends. A**eholes.
There was a point to what I was saying but I seem to have taken a few tangents. A lot of these entries may be like this, just to warn you. A lot of half-completed thoughts with the illusion of some grand plan behind them. Ah yes, it’s coming back to me now.
Television has become an art-form in itself. I can do things that film cannot. Film only has a limited and contracted time-span in which to tell its story, develop characters, explore ideas and themes and often, but my no means always, they can fall short. A television show can work story arcs and delve deep into the past of the characters. A show like Fringe, which I actually think is better than Breaking Bad, can develop a whole mythology around itself and really explore the nature of our world and reality. Plus, John Noble is absolutely superb in it.
Television, in my opinion, when it is does properly, can be equally as edifying as a book. Television though, does not have the luxury of having centuries of distinguished history to back it up. Which is a shame. I actually think the ancient Mayans had television but ‘the man’ covered it up and kept it to himself until the technology became sentient and revealed itself to us, using Logie Baird as its puppet so as not to reveal that it was actually sentient. Now it has become the dominant form of media and is brainwashing us with a mix of I.Q-dropping reality TV and gripping narratives to keep our will to fight in the oncoming War Against Technology subdued. Eventually, we will be wired into various devices capable of transmitting huge amounts of televisual data via nodes inserted into the base of our skull while our physical bodies are drained of all sustenance to keep our silicone overlords powered until such time that our bodies wither away through entropy and liquidated to feed the living.
Did I mention I think the matrix is real too? Here is a poem.
in deeply. A
swirl of smoke surrounds him.
The knot of tension twists his heart,
his pulse racing through his fingers, temples,
building beats behind blurring eyes.
The burning heat in his
lungs pushes down,
up bile towards his throat.
He takes another drag, breathes in
deeply, the knot of tension subsiding.
Blurry eyed, he starts to believe he can make it
through another day, last til tomorrow.
That is all he now has to do
Make it to tomorrow.
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