Sunday, November 04, 2007

Forced Evolution

Imagine you're back in 1946. The world is emerging from a big twisted mess, and Radio is the only source of constant entertainment around to divert yourself. But no - Radio writers, the people who write your favorite radio soaps, plays and shows in general, are going on strike. You're not financially savvy enough to know why, you just want some entertainment at the end of a long day. Whaddayoudo? Your turn to that new thing, the tube thing. And it's so much fun, you won't even come back to radio when they settle their petty little dispute.

Growing up in the early 80's, outside of town, there wasn't much to do. Go outside and mow the lawn, or watch TV. Shows would offer you original episodes for a few weeks, than go into last season's reruns for 10 or 12 weeks, and then come back to finish off the current one. We didn't mind, there was nothing else. Nintendo was even started yet, much less the Internet.

Cut to 2007. Networks have a new trick up their sleeves - Reality Shows and Hiatus. Your favorite show will run for 6 weeks, then go on hiatus for 12 while being replaced by a bunch of jerk-offs stuck in a house together for everyone to witness their every bitching session. And those shows cost next to nothing to produce. The result is people loosing interest in their favorite show, thus losing interest in television. Why invest yourself in Hiro Nakamura's quest for Surperhumanship for a few episodes every 3 months when you can "Facebook" the night away while downloading your favorite episodes of the hit Japanese cartoon you can't watch on TV? And when you're done with that, there's monsters to wreak havoc on in your newest video game, complete with iPod to listen to at the same time - to provide your very own homemade soundtrack. And hey, have you heard of that new thing they just got out on the market - "books"? That Potter kid really made those popular in a flash!

In their unrelenting efforts to capitalize every penny, American TV networks haven't yet noticed they've already killed the very medium they're trying so adamantly to milk out. What wisdom is there in letting a strike bring the final blow? I'm no economist, but I feel giving them an increase percentage on Internet streaming and DVD rights would probably be nothing compared to seeing Reality programming on every network all the time. Unless it's late at night - infomercials own that slot...

Imagine if some Norman Borlog had been quick enough in 1946 to come up with a scheme to have Radios provide the sound for TV shows. Turn your radio into a whole new experience - combine it to the new medium called television. Instead of letting said novelty evolve by itself and take the whole market away.

The new millennium has let the door wide open for television networks to incorporate the new technologies and mediums, and keep running the table well into the next generation of entertainment. But instead, they let the gaming and mobile industry slowly fuse with the Internet, making the "Boob Tube" more and more obsolete, and quite frankly boring. And that goes for the Motion Picture industry as well - it's not the crappy $150M borefest of a repetitive surperhero movie that caused the deepening of the Box Office slump - it's all "Halo 3"s fault. Well, if it is, maybe someone should take a cue from it...
At the end of the day, the Strike of Doom might be responsible for reverting an entire genreation back to arts & crafts and spending quality time with friends and family. Might not be a bad thing after all...

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