Free TV Shows and Public Opinion
Is watching free TV shows good or bad? Would watching free TV shows a waste of time? Is television all sensationalism and violence?
For the last 75 years or so when television grew into a huge industry that it is today, critics and pundits and just about everybody else took potshots at it. Many of the denunciations are valid, of course, but many more are simply angry rants that only add up to confuse the issues.
Self-styled critics proclaimed that all of television - the free TV shows, the advertisements, the images, and the 'street philosophy' - represents something akin to a mind-bending drug. This virtual drug was declared to lead viewers to isolation and depression, and that its programs kill creativity.
TV today, they added, has shows (the fiction series) that are obnoxious most of the time. Moreover, the news programs (the reality part) present frequent violent images and are downright sensationalistic. Experts agree that the problems are real and that some of the accusations are true.
On the other side of the tracks, the ready answer to all these accusations would be - turn your TV set off. This otherwise simplistic solution is also full of holes. The many aspects of modern TV (including the problems) are complex, and are closely connected with modern society's own difficulties.
Waste of time?
Watching free TV shows instead of doing other productive work is wasting time. However, when utilized in the right way, viewing could be a time-saver.
For instance, a whole life story can be viewed in one hour. In an imaginary story, the unnecessary details are left out, the important events highlighted in compelling dramatic scenes, and the significant story parts are sewn into one beautiful and meaningful audio-visual quilt. A book would take days or weeks to read.
On the other hand, a TV soap opera with its never-ending conflicts and no resolutions, can consume the viewer's precious time without any productive outcome. The main aim of these kinds of programs is to lock the viewer into a regular viewing habit.
Most of today's television programs have evolved into what is now generally classified as entertainment. Entertainment, per se, is considered a form of recreation which provides a respite from the usual everyday chores. This rest period is necessary for one's renewal of energy and strength.
Sensational and violent?
When news footages of the Vietnam War reached the living rooms of the average American family, TV had been accused of being sensational and that what were seen were mostly violent scenes.
The critics continue that "...[picture-rich] stories, especially emotional ones...get bigger play over stories that are hard to illustrate... [which is why TV news] are filled with bloody crime, fires and accidents, teary-eyed victims, cute kids and animals..."
Yes and no would be the answer.
TV practitioners countered that today's television news (and later configured by action-drama series) adopted the fast camera movements simply to provide exciting visuals to accompany breaking stories.
It had also been the hit style in those times, perfected no less with the success of MTV in the 80s. The rationale was to simply capture the viewers' attention, including the use of rapid cuts and movements.
There are other charges leveled on television today - too saturated with commercials, low-brow distasteful programs, too many bad programs for children, and many more.
The solutions to these problems should come from both the producers and the viewers themselves. Both parties have to work hand in hand to effect the positive changes everybody wants.
TV producers will have to review, rearrange and revise their perspectives and priorities in the business. They will have to produce the right entertainment fares that are not just commercially viable but also classy, elegant, and tasteful.
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