Thursday, November 10, 2011

TV is better, yes, but it still has a fatal flaw

The linked Slate article discusses how HBO revolutionized the quality of television shows. As someone who pretty much quit watching TV in 1980, it took me a while to notice that TV was actually getting better. To that extent I agree with the article. Commercial TV c. 1980 was simply un-watchable. It has improved since then.

But, there is a point that all television Criticism seems to miss. There is a fatal flaw that is fundamental to the species. It's a small thing, but it always kills within a few years. The problem? The need to keep the viewer "hooked", and the unwillingness to "leave money on the table" (retire something before it starts to stink), distort any natural dramatic arc, and quickly render the vehicle unsatisfying.

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