• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Re-viewing the reruns

Food For Thought

For anyone who is not a dedicated spectator-sports fan, weekend television is rapidly becoming a numbing ordeal. There is little to choose from unless you’re an avid football fan and not necessarily fussy about what teams, college or professional, are being broadcast on any particular Saturday or Sunday. Some weekend days, we are offered golf tournaments, ice skating competitions or those “outdoorsman” programs where you are forced to wait while two guys sit in a boat talking about the fish they caught in the past while you hope they get a nibble pretty soon or you’re going to fall asleep and miss it.
I find myself wishing for some of the classic television shows of the past. Whatever became of the wonderful variety shows, like the Garry Moore Show or Carol Burnett, involving lots of guest stars, comedy skits and good musical performances, in short—entertainment? What has become of all those absorbing detective programs; Peter Gunn, Quincy M.E., The Rockford Files, and the great old westerns; Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel, Bonanza?
Oh, I know, we can see some of those on reruns, if we channel-surf long enough, but they are all resurrected reruns that have been aired so many times we have them memorized. Why can’t somebody come up with some new programs of the same nature? Don’t tell me all the plots have been used up or no actors want to play those kinds of roles these days. New writers with fresh ideas are surely out there hoping to be given the chance, and I don’t believe there are no actors interested in starring in a good program that might run for eight or 10 years.
There are still a couple good game shows and quiz shows that have survived, but they are the ones without gimmicks such as suitcases which may or may not be full of money, or polling the audience for help with difficult questions. I can’t believe the producers of those gimmicky ones haven’t gotten the message after all this time and settled on a straightforward contest of knowledge or skill. As for the reality shows; I’d like to know just whose reality they think they’re showing us. None of the people I know, in the real world, spend their time roaming around in the jungle, eating spiders, wallowing in mud or building makeshift shelters out of flotsam on a beach somewhere. And, I’m really not interested in the petty quarrels and jealousies apparently intended to add drama and suspense to their unreal existence in an artificial situation.
Once in a great while, I’ll happen upon a rerun of a really good series, such as M*A*S*H or Black Sheep Squadron, with enough good acting and a meaningful plot to make it worth the search, but even those have been rebroadcast so many times we fervently wish they’d filmed a lot more episodes. Why can’t somebody come up with something that good now?
I might say the same about what I tend to think of as “those young adult programs,” such as Friends, from the past, and Big Bang Theory, from the present. Such programs seem to run their course and die a natural death after a certain length of time, but I’m pretty certain there are enough young actors and aspiring writers out there to come up with a winner every three or four years to take their place, rather than viewers having to settle for fifth and sixth-time reruns. A person can’t help but wonder if it’s a plot to squeeze every last drop of revenue and television programming out of each and every program before finally giving in and allowing us, the viewers, to enjoy being truly entertained by something at least slightly new and different.
I often turn to public television out of sheer desperation, but that alternative is becoming almost as disappointing as commercial television with more and more reruns and additional hours spent rehashing the “festival”– that tediously repetitive harangue, urging us to part with increasingly more funds so they can continue to provide us with programming which seems to change or improve little from year to year.
I seem to remember when television first invaded our lives, there were promises it was destined to bring information and entertainment right into our living rooms. I’d give the industry a B-minus on the information issue, but I’m afraid a lot of things will have to get a lot better in the entertainment department before I’d dish out a passing grade. Sorry, if this were school, the industry would have to repeat that class. In other words—a rerun.