T.V., Cinema and the American Public

Posted: February 11, 2010 by ultimoangel in movies, Psychology, TV
Tags: , , , , , ,

As this is my very first post on this blog, I’ve decided to make it about something I really care about. As in, something that I hear about often and it never fails to grind my beans. It has to do with the T.V. shows we watch, the movies we go to see, and why we see them.

Let’s start with T.V. Shows. Earlier today, before heading off to class, a friend of mine informed me that “Supernatural”, a personal favorite T.V. show of mine, was in danger of being canceled at the end of this Spring. Not wanting to give any validity to what she was saying, I quickly looked online and found articles from late 2009, which all stated that the show had not yet been picked up for a 6th season. Why? Presumably low ratings and a high cost to produce the show.

This ties into my main point. T.V. Shows are not saved because they are good. They are saved because they get high ratings and bring in money for the company who sponsors it. Take the new hit T.V. Show on Fox, “Glee”. This show costs $3,000,000 an episode to produce, and is filmed over the course of 11-14 days. However, Fox has given the show another 8 episodes to complete it’s first season and another full-term 22 episode second season, with high hopes for a third. If my math is right, the producers of “Glee” have the chance to spend another $90,000,000 between now and early 2011 to continue it’s show, and they can do this because Fox is counting on an equal return in ratings due to the success of the first 13 episodes of Season 1.

Then I looked at some T.V. Shows that have been around for many years. Two that came to mind are “Smallville”, which has survived to it’s 9th Season, and “C.S.I. Miami”, which is, as of now, the most viewed show on T.V. Then, I compared the ratings to other shows on The C.W., like “Gossip Girl”, “Melrose Place” and “90210”. I found that these shows all have higher ratings than “Supernatural”, and I proceeded to lose all faith in the American people as a whole.

This is how directors like Joss Whedon get fucked over. Both “Firefly” and “Dollhouse”, two of his creations, have been canceled from T.V. due to low ratings. No matter how original the storyline or how aesthetically pleasing they were, they could not overcome challenges like poor time and day-slots and cost-effectiveness to be renewed for new seasons (“Firefly” after Season 1 and “Dollhouse” after Season 2.)

Luckily, I found another article soon after, which stated that “Supernatural” was in a good enough place to picked up for a 6th season next fall. Eric Kripke, creator of “Supernatural”, said that if it got picked up, he would continue the show, and if not, he would end with a bang at the end of Season 5 like he originally planned.

the-hurt-locker-picNow let’s move onto movies. Soon, we will be watching the Oscars to see who will win best picture, James Cameron’s “Avatar” or Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker”. In my personal opinion, “The Hurt Locker” should win over “Avatar” due to a more compelling and original story, the use of relatively unused pseudo-documentary cinematography, and the fact that no woman has ever won best director and it would be such a sight to see when James Cameron’s ex-wife wins him over.

However, there is little chance of this happening. Why? We as a public preferred the flashy style and unoriginal story of “Avatar” over the more realistic rendering of life in a war-zone, which we got in “The Hurt Locker”. If you look closely, you’ll find that “Avatar” is just a more trite, over-hyped, CG rich, Tree-Hug-ery version of “Pocahontas” and “Dances With Wolves”. We’ve seen this storyline before, and subconsciously, we recognize it. Throw in some CG and explosions and you’ve got a blockbuster, baby.

Same thing with T.V. Shows like “90210” and “Gossip Girl” getting higher ratings than “Supernatural”. We prefer seeing the drama on mind-numbing T.V. Shows over the Metaphor and Allegory-rich stories, filled with the Uncanny and the Unknown, because we can more easily place ourselves in the shoes of the characters.

Flashy, easy-to-relate-to movies and T.V. Shows sell. The more regurgitated throughout the ages, the better. Soon I will start writing my own novels and filming my own movies. I will have to subject to making movies that appeal to the public instead of the rich story I would want to film. What does this say about us as a consumer nation?

  1. Shawn Conway says:

    Great Post, however I don’t think Bigelow (or however you spell it) should win because she is a woman. I do agree that her story is probably more compelling. I’ve found the same problem with some of my favorite TV shows. “John From Cincinnati” was on to something brilliant, and it was canceled at the end of its first and only season. Damn shame..

  2. Hookedfishy says:

    Great post Angel. I too am torn with our Nation’s choices and that includes tv and cinema. It’s all about majority ruling. It feels nice going against the current, the bad thing is that you may find yourself with little to no company.

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