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RANT: Television


I know a lot of very intelligent people who are, for the most part, fairly in touch with what's going on. One of the common traits I seem to run into is a disdain for television.

I don't quite get it.

I mean, I understand some people's point of view that television has usurped religion as the new opium for the masses. At best, that argument is weak though. They spout that it's all mindless sitcoms, action/cop shows and soap operas. Appealing to the lowest common denominator, if you will.

First of all, that's bullshit. I've got digital cable. That means that I've got more channels than God†. Among those, I have a plethora of movie channels and the Discovery network. The Discovery network is the best thing on television, hands down. You've got the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, the History Channel and Animal Planet. Hardly mindless drivel.

Not all the noteworthy content necessarily comes from the 'high-brow' channels, though. HBO's The Sopranos is an excellent modern mafia drama. Really some of the best writing and acting I've seen in a long time. Oz, also an HBO production, is a winner too . It's a prison drama with very compelling stories, plots and subplots featuring a plethora of characters. My favorite action/drama, however, is Showtime's Stargate SG-1. It's basically a continuation of the Stargate movie, which was entertaining... though not exactly my favorite flick. Richard Dean Anderson (That's right, MACGUYVER!) stars as O'Neil (previously Kurt Russell's character), and he's awesome. The storylines are complex and interesting. They play a great deal on old myths and modern fringe theories. Very cool.

Now, a word or two about sitcoms. Sure, they're mostly pointless. They're supposed to be. The best comedies are. I really don't want a 'message' stuffed down my throat when I'm trying to get a healthy dose of laughter anyhow. This does not mean that all sitcoms are mindless, however. Far from it.

There are quite a few of these much maligned shows with superb writing and more than decent acting. It may be uncool to like mainstream stuff, in some circles, but Friends is a damn funny show. That 70's Show is freaking brilliant. Malcom in The Middle is clever and creative. The Family Guy is hysterical. My new favorite show, however, is Titus. Titus is fucking classic. (If you've seen Titus more than once, and you don't think it's funny, you should probably get off my website.)

Anyhow, it's fine to not like television, I suppose. You're free to do and feel what you want. Just don't think yer better than me because I watch TV. That's ludicrous. If you cut out an entire medium containing some quality stuff (see above) because you don't like Springer†† and Days of Our Lives... you're the one losing out. Get off yer f'n high horse.

PS: MTV-X is awesome.

† Er, technically speaking... I am an atheist. So, it's pretty easy to have better cable access.

††: Low-brow, trash TV like Springer is fine too, if that's your bag. I suggest small doses, however.

Original date: 11/19/00