I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte (colubra) wrote,
I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

Observations on Television, of which I've been watching far too much of late.

So a few observations cross my mind.

1: Kindred: the Embraced is running on SyFy in a marathon right now. Full disclosure- I saw the premiere of this before it aired, as I was working as an executive assistant at White Wolf at the time. At the time I was staring at the TV just going '...everything I wanted to see is here: why is this a terrible show?'
Subjecting myself to about a half-episode today, I've pinned it down.
See, Twin Peaks was partly groundbreaking because it skewered (especially in the first season) the stereotypical TV shows of its era (the early 90s) so accurately. The 'Invitation to Love' recurring TV show that everyone in the TV show watches; the slightly overblown soundtrack which reacts in odd ways to the continuity of the show (which Lynch skewered so wonderfully by having the characters in the show put on these moody Angelo Badalamenti tracks, complain that their daughters are blasting the guests out of their hotel rooms). The way in which every moment of dialogue is delivered as if there's a MILLION LAYERS OF SIGNIFICANCE below the surface.
TV changed, dramatically, between the influences of Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure.
Kindred: the Embraced continued along nicely and neatly on the old Spelling/Buena Vista Entertainment playbook that fueled Dynasty. Note for note, letter for letter, without apology or irony. In 1995. And that is what smothered this baby in the crib. For an added ironic note: almost half the cast of K:tE wound up turning up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer doing bit parts (one of them at least 4 different episodes I can think of). Buffy, the showpiece of late-90s genre dramady (drama + comedy).
They who do not learn from history are, apparently, doomed to repeat it.

2: SyFy used to have something of this same unconscious self-spoof edge: they've lost it along with losing any spelling related to English (though apparently unaware their new name is a close relative of Polish slang for syphillis). No, now, they revel in the fact their movies are crappy, their original series are perhaps even worse, and in hurting people's brains with marathon showings of shows that are perhaps so bad they are bad for the viewer.

3: the modern preponderance of genre shows- Fringe, The Event, and others- reminds me that the last time we saw such a plethora of genre television, we were in the middle of the economic crunch of the 70s (and the last serious wave of jihadi terrorism, but that's another bit of byplay). Why's that, exactly? What about economic hardship makes genre TV look like a good bet?

4: Ancient Aliens Fought Space Jesus for Hitler's Brain: really, History Channel, there are over 6000 years of recorded human history. I would think you could have much more fun with reality than with von Daniken-esque twaddle.

5: HGTV is gay enough I'm not sure I'm supposed to watch it.
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