October 3, 2013

Around the dial

Running a little behind this week, but I did want to take time to highlight a couple of interesting pieces from the week.

At the Onion A/V Club, Dennis Perkins asks whether specialty networks are beyond redemption.  I can remember when channels such as History, HGTV, A&E and other "niche" networks started up.  There was something dependable about them - the idea that you could turn to them at any time and not only know what you were getting, but have a pretty good chance of really liking what you were seeing.  (I never minded the Hitler documentaries that The History Channel had., but their series of "As It Happened" replays of original television news coverage was outstanding.)  I suppose it was inevitable that they'd run out of material (after all, how many biographies are there really worth watching?), but to look at what's happened to Bravo, Sci-Fi (or Syfy, for the stupid out there), and MTV, or to see how general cable networks like TBS and USA have turned into clearinghouses for binge police procedural watching - well, they're living and breathing advertisements for cutting the cord, aren't they?

Comfort TV takes a look at how TV shows of the past portrayed the future.  I think this is always entertaining, as these old shows never seem to get it quite right - they either dramatically overestimate or grossly underestimate the leaps and bounds that technology makes, often within the same series.  Take Star Trek for example - cheesy digital control board combined with warp speed and transporters.  It's probably a testament to the greatness of human creativity that technological advances multiply and morph exponentially, at a far greater clip than the mind can even comprehend.

Sorry for the brevity this week - sometimes it happens!  I'll make up for it on Saturday with a brand new TV Guide!


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