Cool Beans

With the writers’ strike going strong for more than three straight months now, TV has gotten pretty boring. Because the majority of my favorite primetime shows are off-air, most nights are spent stuck in a never-ending state of channel surfing, hoping that just one channel holds something worthwhile.

And what have networks done to keep ratings up with no new scripted series? They’ve looked toward the unscripted: game shows, reality shows and cookie-cutter entertainment news shows. These things will only keep the ratings for a short while.

Before long, more and more people will come to the realization that nobody will ever choose the million-dollar-case on Deal or No Deal, nobody cares about the drunk-in-public "celebrity" reported on by Entertainment Tonight, The Biggest Loser will put that weight back on once the show is over, and you don’t have what it takes to be an American Idol or Gladiator.

We’re being spoon-fed crap in the form of primetime television, and there is little refuge from it in the midst of all those airwaves – so thank heaven for Conan O’Brien, and shows like his that have the stones to return to the air with or without writers or big name guests. If he didn’t, there wouldn’t be a nightly hiding spot from the insultingly bad substitutions for quality programming.

Luckily, we’ve just entered a great two-month period where we’re all very fortunate to get new episodes of a few shows; Lost has finally returned to ABC with the premier of its fourth season, and Fox’s risky chance on bringing The Terminator to television (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) has had quite a successful introduction. Both shows will come to premature endings around the beginning of April, unless the strike ends before then.

So, what can we do to end this thing? Nothing. But what I’m not going to do is waste away my evenings supporting the lame programs that have replaced the ones I used to love.

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