We’ve wrapped up what is usually the busiest week of the year at casa de Tucker. Three birthdays within a week. My wife was born one day after me (I can’t say when that was since I don’t want to keep my teeth in my pocket) and Trey was born one week after my birthday.
The last week of October finds the Tucker clan trying to eat three birthday cakes along with trying to figure out where the money’s coming from to buy all of these presents.
My wife gave me the boxed-set of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, the short-lived NBC drama that aired early this year. The dvd has every episode in the series. Watching the first few episodes again this week makes me long for the days of good programming on network television with smart, well-written dialogue and thoroughly developed characters.
Even as I watched these episodes nearly a year later, I wondered where this show went wrong. I can only believe it was too smart for the people who are still showing up to watch television shows on the networks. Sometimes I think the well-educated viewers have abandoned the four networks for entertainment. Maybe they’ve seen too many inane sit-coms and forced reality shows to think there’s any reason to turn on the boob tube for quality shows.
One scene in one of those episodes illustrates this point. NBS (the network most feel represents NBC) was hoping to buy the rights of a new reality show in the mode of Temptation Island. The new entertainment chief passed on it because it was crude and inappropriate for a major network airwaves. Then, she goes after another show that one writer called “too good for a network and belongs on HBO” because it was intelligent.
Other than a few cop dramas, I find most network programming to be more like the show she passed on than like the one thought to be “too good”.
In a few years, maybe none of this matters. The viewers who’ve left network programming will continue to find their entertainment on the internet, dvds and on cable television. The networks will be left with shows only a portion of the public cares to watch.