12 October 2006 | Jolleyism
Putting the "vision" in television.....
There was a time during what is commonly known as The Golden Age of Television when the medium was used to communicate. It was used to entertain, inspire, and evoke a connection with the people. There was time in television when the programs would challenge not only the standard, but also the viewer. It started with things like Sanford & Son and All In the Family. Then the Richard Pryor Show shook people to the bone. From these gems came further explorations of the comic genre. We were treated to things like The Simpsons, Married With Children, and Seinfeld. Shows that broke the mold of the typical sitcom formula. They found their actors and made them stars. They didn't take washed up has-been film actors and try to turn them into the affable characters that they obviously were not. They simply took fresh talent and gave them the environment to get better and eventually captivate.
Then something terrible happened in 1993. A show, on what was supposed to be a music video network, got the idea to film real people living together in a house. From the first episode of The Real World, the Golden Age of Television was over. From this little show spawned a countless number of reality TV Shows that have paved the way for mind numbing experiences of watching people acting "real" while they are being filmed. It showed us all that not only is this medium of television completely unoriginal, but that it also provided people with insight into just how far somebody will go to get themselves on the airwaves. In 1994 something else happened. A little show called "Friends" hit the desk of the execs at NBC. From that we now have an endless string of formulaic, hokey, poorly written buddy sitcoms, all focusing on the same issues that plague the "poor" yuppie world that these people all seem to inhabit. Gone was the time when you didn't really need the laugh track; gone was the time of multi-plot line programming.
And then, something truly amazing and inspiring happened. In a collaborative effort from the Hurwitz Company and Imagine Entertainment came a brilliant piece of intelligent programming; a show that had no precedent. A truly talented ensemble cast, a brilliant writing team, and an amazing staff of directors and photographers that changed the art form like never before. Gone were the days of traditional, canned laughter sitcoms. It seems that we had all been saved from another infinite line of weak programs, and by whom? The FOX Network. Who would have thunk it? But then again, it made perfect sense. FOX brought us The Simpsons, Married With Children, and Family Guy. They had been known to challenge the bar that was set by regular programming. But instead of living on with those classics, it was forced to willow away in the doldrums of cancellation alongside other brilliant yet failed shows, like Action, Titus, and Greg the Bunny. Some people like to watch clichéd, overplayed, over done formulas every week. Some people like the safe humor, the one-two camera angles, the boring sets, and the canned laughter. Some people just don't want to think. The rest of us
the rest of us watch Arrested Development.