A couple months ago, after much debate, I made the decision to phone in a cancellation order on my cable TV service. That cancellation took effect a few weeks ago, so I am now without TV reception whatsoever. Fact is, I haven't liked what TV has offered for many years now, so I really couldn't justify paying the exorbitant monthly fee for it anymore. There are numerous reasons as to why I no longer enjoy TV, but for now I'm just going to specify one of them. (With more rants to undoubtedly follow!)
Take a look at the DVD cover shots I've posted above of a cross sampling of several current TV dramas. In my opinion, based on these cast pics, they might as well all be from the same show. Note the similarities throughout:
- The cast members are all rather stand-offish from each other, with no interaction among themselves. The poses are pretty stiff, straight up and down (with a few exceptions). They all seem very self aware, caught up in their own presumed self-importance, hands on the hips and crossed arms all geared to intimidate. These cast shots all remind me of the way contemporary rock bands pose in their publicity shots. Ugh!
- Aside from a central figure who may be an older character actor, the ensemble casts are all blandly attractive young hipsters, all obsessed with looking cool and aloof, the young men usually sporting several days of facial hair, the gals all trying to be as badass in attitude as their male counterparts. They all seem so devoid of individual personalities and mannerisms that they are pretty much indistinguishable from each other!
- None of these shows feature real colour. I've posted about this ugly trend of desaturation before, but it's become the default look for all television dramas as well as most dramatic films these days. They all use their silly computers to remove all the natural colour and give everything a blue-grey tinge or tamper with it in various other ways. Additionally, all these shows are as dark visually as they are in tone, with foreground characters kept mostly in shadow, yet being backlit with unpleasant florescent light or strong blue-grey window light. Despite some of these shows taking place in hot, sunny climes, the warm colours of a hot sunny day are never evident.
To be fair, the only one of these shows I've actually seen is Criminal Minds (and a bit of one episode of Warehouse 13, which was wretched), but I'm certain that I've probably witnessed bits and pieces of most of these and numerous other likeminded shows, so I really don't think I'm off-base with my overall assessments. In the case of these contemporary crime dramas like Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, etc, they all seem to feature ever more grisly criminal acts shown in nauseating detail. The main characters are all just ciphers, not really personalities at all, every last one of them acting in the exact same manner in every episode, one by one putting in their two cents worth of analytical deduction in those roundtable scenes. And the overall tone of every episode seems to be one of unrelenting grimness!
In contrast, the crime dramas of the 60s and 70s that I grew up with, kept the violent imagery to a minimum, instead building the shows around the charismatic personalities of the detectives, and allowing some light, joyful moments to break up any chance of slipping into grim monotony. Detectives like Joe Mannix, Jim Rockford, and Lt. Columbo seemed far more human and likable than any of their counterparts today. And from the colour and lighting, you knew all three of these particular shows took place in sunny LA!
So, there you have it - the first of what may become several more rants about what television has deteriorated into. Sorry, but that's how this self-confessed curmudgeon feels about it.