Smart tv. Does it exist? Can it?
We live in a time where reality television has outplayed, outwit and outlasted nearly every other type of programming. A scroll through a typical evening’s cable offerings tell us we could have a window into nearly any kind of reality we want. Want to watch people battle nature and human instinct? People decorating homes? Celebrities dancing? Hopeful young wannabes singing their hearts out? Love on the small screen? Million dollar homes, bachelors, engagements? It’s all there for your viewing pleasure.
Think back to what you watched on television when you were a kid, or what your parents watched. What did you all watch together? Yes, there were shows that featured celebrities, certainly talent, music or comedy – but these were evening offerings, hosted by beloved and talented hosts. There was programming for children, game shows, evening dramas. Yet, somehow, it has grown exponentially as we demand more and more choice, scandal and access to lifestyles we think we should be lusting after.
But where is the smart television? Where are the shows that make us think, make us laugh with lines that we will remember for days, if not weeks? Where are the shows that will move us, challenge us, make us think? Even many news outlets are depending on celebrity headlines and Hollywood happenings to liven up their newscasts. Celebrities have certainly always attracted the eye of the camera, the reporter, but the air of it has changed. People used to idolize, and if anything, assign more glamour to celebrities.
Now we want to watch them all fall from the stage, the pedestal or – even better – the limo. It is the ridiculous that makes us happy, the outlandish, the abject humiliation in a terribly human moment.
I have loved shows that have a quickness to them, something that made me sit up and take notice. Many of them have come and gone, and while not all were completely redeemable, they shared a common element – writing and storylines that made me think. They had language and emotion that inspired me or challenged something I may have previously thought. Or they had humour that was sharp or surprising.
Now every time I hear of a new show coming out, all I can think is Dear God, please make it smart. I recently heard Katie Couric speak at BlogHer ’12 in NYC and as she spoke of her new show “Katie” I kept my hopes high. I will keep my fingers crossed. Will her background in hard news give her a fresh perspective on what we want to see in daytime television? Will her appearance and insight shared in the Miss Representation documentary inform her programming? One can only wait and see.
Anderson Cooper made the move to daytime television last year. Did he achieve smart television with his newly renamed show Anderson Live? Or is his show merely another version of what we have been seeing for years? I like Anderson Cooper immensely, and again, my hopes were high considering his background. Yet, it hasn’t drawn me as a viewer. What happened?
More frightening is what our children are watching compared to what we watched as kids. Without even discussing the role of television in a young child’s development, have you wondered how reality television is affecting your preteens and teenagers?
Everyone has their own idea of what “smart TV” might look like, or used to look like. I know I have mine.
What is yours? Which shows do you miss terribly?
What shows are you watching now that you have high hopes for?