Television is so much crap these days, and that’s by design. In the last few years I haven’t watched much TV aside from a few programs on premium cable and AMC. I tuned out during the years that reality TV was in vogue; it was just not even remotely entertaining to me. Mostly, if I watched anything at all outside of Showtime shows or Mad Men and the Walking Dead, I’ve done it on Netflix in recent years. My intolerance of stupidity and time-wasting has grown as I’ve aged, and Netflix allows for the elimination of both. There are no commercials and you can streamline your viewing to your particular tastes. For me, that’s been a lot of documentaries, foreign flicks, and old-school shows.
The problem with that is that I’ve lost touch with cultural trends that reveal themselves through the medium of TV. When my daughter brought a Smart TV into our home earlier this month, I got to see what I’d been missing. In addition to streaming Netflix directly through the TV’s wi-fi, we decided to try the free trial of Hulu. I wouldn’t recommend it because the service is very commercial heavy and the content is hugely progressively oriented. But reviewing the drawbacks of Hulu is not the point of this post.
The point of this post is to begin to dissect what the masses are being exposed to, the culture that’s being stitched into their lives via what’s popular on television. Somewhere along the way while I was tuned out, a sort of cultural Bible-thumpin’ has developed on TV and is being beamed directly into the living rooms, dens, and bedrooms of America. I have no idea when or where it started (though I suspect it may have begun with the popular show X Files), but supernatural and conspiratorial narratives have dominated dramas in recent years. Medium, Lost, Heroes, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and the new 666 Park Avenue are some examples. Continue reading