I have a pet peeve.
I know what you’re going to say, you’re going to say, you?! A pet peeve?! But you don’t even like pets! I know. I know. I know.
But I do. And it’s this — people who constantly talk about how bad TV is.
To hate TV has become hip. To talk about how awful it is has become a way to brag about ones intelligence — “I don’t watch TV, I’m far too smart for that.” And to badmouth TV is a way to champion things like, say, the glory of the web series.
And, like many things that become so hip that they roll over into rehashed, uneducated rhetoric, these opinions are all really, really wrong. You know how they teach you in school that an opinion can’t be wrong? Well, they’re wrong — and this opinion happens to be completely wrong also.
Let me first say that I’m not, in fact, talking about reality shows. I think reality shows are fairly awful — though I think the talent competition ones are actually a blast and give people a platform to compete and be impressive in front of a large audience. So, hell, why not? They’re entertaining for all involved.
But, you know, that show about octoplets, and raising octoplets, and then cheating on your significant other because, frankly, after having octoplets, sleeping with her just seems like a moot point — that’s bad television.
But I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about actual, narrative TV shows. Let me, off the top of my head, name some great television for you:
Glee, Californication, Rescue Me (though not so much this season), 30 Rock, The Office, House, Dexter, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Monk, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report… and that’s just what’s on TV now and that I’ve watched. Don’t get me started on Arrested Development, West Wing, Sopranos, Dead Like Me, Six Feet Under, Pushing Daisies, Battlestar Galactica and so on.
These shows are phenomenal. They’re intelligent, well-made, well-acted, sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, sometimes (often) sheer brilliance. Watching a good TV show is like reading a good novel. I love movies, but there’s just something about committing yourself to a world, watching its characters change and grow and live that makes television a unique medium.
TV has changed dramatically over the years. Creators are experimenting, doing new things, and trying different styles — but it’s often ignored. Are there terrible shows? Of course there are. Are there a whole lot of brilliant ones also? You bet.
And, as far as the web series is concerned — we’d be lucky, as a medium, to have anything even close to the quality of some of TVs best shows. Not just visual quality but writing, acting and so on. Like I said before — there is no West Wing of the Internet and until anything we have comes even close to being as sharp as it or any of the shows I mentioned above, we cannot seriously claim to be the saviors of entertainment.
So, in short — shut up, TV is fantastic!