If the impending fall television season has taught me anything, it’s that people will watch ANYTHING. From The CW’s “Supergirl,” which looks like a sad attempt at meshing the popularity of superhero films with “The Devil Wears Prada,” to “Heroes Reborn,” NBC‘s attempt at recapturing the short-lived success of 2004’s Hayden Panettiere vehicle of the same name—Hollywood seems focused on staying away from the concept of ‘originality’ altogether.
Maybe the handful of shifts I worked as a Production Assistant on various Hallmark Channel sets made a cynic out of me. Standing off camera, making sure passerby wouldn’t walk into the shot of two cookie-cutter love interests finally embracing after 90 minutes of horse-wrangling and American pie makin’, I went home everyday with a sour taste in my mouth.
No matter how you spin it: producers have become increasingly unimaginative, using nothing more than search engine and focus group data to fill air-time.
“My 11-year-old son tells me the youths really like superheroes. Why don’t we make a teen drama about that fast guy?”
Enter: The Flash.
“My research suggests vampires are popular. Also, abs.”
Enter: The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, The Originals, and Penny Dreadful.
“Apparently stay-at-home-moms really love watching rich bitches duke it out.”
Enter: The Housewives of Every Geographical Region and Demographic Imaginable.
I get it, a ton of people watch these shows because they contain what the masses want. I’m not saying they’re all bad; I just think those fortunate enough to sit at Hollywood’s power centre should try and inject some creativity into the programs they green light.
Granted, it’s tougher to pitch an original script than to convince Mr. Moneybags that reviving a tried-and-tested franchise won’t reap X amount of viewers on a nightly basis.
Keep in mind, my favourite shows are Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and an army of comedy gems that wreak of sarcasm and references. Not everyone gets that, and that’s okay.
I understand that most people work their 8-10 hours a day, tend to their litter of children, and sit down for 1-2 hours a night and watch shows that are pretty clear about what they offer. Pretty easy to see why sports are SO DAMN POPULAR.
You’re not likely to see anything new, but that’s part of the appeal—isn’t it?
Maybe that’s Hollywood’s current motto: give the people what they expect. In an era where originality is always put through the shredder, maybe the writing’s on the wall that film is as good as it’ll ever get.
TV’s recent ‘golden era’ might suggest otherwise. While networks like HBO and Netflix allow writers to flesh out their characters in greater detail than any type of media (forget books…gross) has ever been able to accomplish, there’s 10 recycled pieces of garbage for every attempt at something worth watching.
Excuse me—forgot to record The Big Bang Theory. I hear the laugh track is 12 times more infectious this season.
Gotta love technology.
(Insert witty and equally thought-provoking sign off here)