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Old 01-23-2019, 08:18 PM
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Why is everything so dark?

Why is everything so dark? Through circumstances I have been available to watch a lot of TV lately. Looking for binge watching opportunities. There are so many well received series out there right now thereís a lot to pick from. But most of it seems to be depressing and dreary. Characters you like getting shit on by the world episode after episode and possibly coming out on top if you slog through to the end. Where is the non-comedic light entertainment? Something that gives a balance of light and dark and doesnít suck. After watching daredevil get the shit kicked out of him for the 20th time in five episodes I could use a break.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:28 PM
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No kidding... I was trying to find something to lighten things up a bit and haven't found a comedy I like. Supergirl and The Flash are fairly light, as these things go, but they're not comedies.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:29 PM
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Turn up the brightness in your TV settings...I'll see myself out.

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Old 01-23-2019, 08:43 PM
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The problem with answering this question, from my perspective, is that the shows that are dark and edgy are the ones that are critically acclaimed. I watch plenty of television that I find interesting without being too dark, but the shows tend to be more conventional and maybe old-fashioned.

Here's a few I recommend:

The Orville
God Friended Me
Madam Secretary
MacGyver
9-1-1 (obviously the guest characters have horrible problems, but the tone is mostly lighthearted)
The Bold Type (if you don't mind a show about female empowerment)

If you just want something to watch, there are also plenty of enjoyable reality shows that are light and fun.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:44 PM
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I recommend Dark on Netflix. Oh wait...
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:55 PM
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If you want a low-key, feel good comedy, I highly recommend Detectorists.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:10 PM
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I've been of the persuasion for years that this is a major reason why MLP: Friendship is Magic acquired such a large following of adult males; it was something that wasn't dark and depressing.

As for why; too many people in the creative arts think that only dark and depressing is "True Art". And they are so caught up on the idea of avoiding "cliches" about noble heroes and happy endings that they don't seem able to realize that failure, darkness and cripplingly flawed protagonists are the cliche now.

And TV shows are usually written by multiple people which makes it worse; I recall a comment from an author years ago that whenever enough writers collaborate on something there's always going to be at least one who thinks everything has to be dark and depressing, and they'll drag everyone else down with them. Once somebody writes an episode where awful things happen, the other writers will have to deal with the aftermath rather than write something cheery.

Last edited by Der Trihs; 01-23-2019 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
No kidding... I was trying to find something to lighten things up a bit and haven't found a comedy I like. Supergirl and The Flash are fairly light, as these things go, but they're not comedies.
I do watch both of them but Iím caught up on Netflix.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:17 PM
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No kidding... I was trying to find something to lighten things up a bit and haven't found a comedy I like. Supergirl and The Flash are fairly light, as these things go, but they're not comedies.
After season 1, Legends of Tomorrow is a straight up comedy.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:19 PM
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I've been of the persuasion for years that this is a major reason why MLP: Friendship is Magic acquired such a large following of adult males; it was something that wasn't dark and depressing.

<<snip>>.
On that note, I recommend She-Ra and the Princesses of Power on Netflix. I never saw any of the original, but this reboot is just funny, and charming - but not so kidsy that this 52 year old white male can't enjoy it.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:30 PM
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If you watched Boy Meets World back in the 90s, check out the follow up Girl Meets World. It's the tv version of the warm fuzzies.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:20 AM
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If you watched Boy Meets World back in the 90s, check out the follow up Girl Meets World. It's the tv version of the warm fuzzies.
I was about 10 years too old for that show
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:40 AM
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I agree that a lot of shows out there right now are depressing as hell. Everyone dies, including the dog, civilization collapses, and did I mention the vampires/zombies/plague? We watch a fair amount of it. My husband says it helps him keep his problems in perspective. I'd probably never watch the stuff again if he weren't the one with the remote.

I'll second The Orville as something more light-hearted.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:46 AM
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Jane The Virgin is warm, funny, sweet and has a whole bunch of telenovela tropes that get played around with for maximum effect. And the color palette is lovely and light and saturated. Plus there's like six seasons available!
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:49 AM
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I agree that a lot of shows out there right now are depressing as hell. Everyone dies, including the dog, civilization collapses, and did I mention the vampires/zombies/plague? We watch a fair amount of it. My husband says it helps him keep his problems in perspective. I'd probably never watch the stuff again if he weren't the one with the remote.

I'll second The Orville as something more light-hearted.
I do watch Orville.

Did I mention I have a lot of time to watch TV?
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:13 AM
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It's a big reason why I don't enjoy a lot of the recent popular / acclaimed shows. People who know me are stunned to learn that I don't like Game of Thrones (which they think I'd love because I play D&D and am a Tolkien geek) or Mad Men (which they they think I'd love because I work in advertising). I've found that I just don't enjoy shows or movies in which everyone is a terrible person, and / or in which horrible things just keep happening to people.
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:22 AM
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I agree with you. The never-ending post-apocalypse gets exhausting after a while. Even Star Trek is grimdark desperation these days.

Some good, wholesome light-hearted stuff in addition to those already mentioned:

The Good Place
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:43 AM
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I know it doesn't sound like it, but iZombie is quite light and comedic. It does indeed have a zombie invasion as its main thrust, and there is some soapy drama, but it's not at all dark.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is bubbly and funny as all get out.

The Durrells is quite light, if you can find it. A British show based on Gerald Durrell's book "My Family And Other Animals".

Also British are light and frothy murder mysteries Death In Paradise, Father Brown, Shakespeare and Hathaway, and Agatha Raisin.
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:44 AM
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I don't think I have seen a show in the last 20 years pushed as hard as this Orville show. I am just waiting for 'my shows' to come back after the big fat holly jolly holiday break. There is literally nothing on that I'm interested in right now, I want 'Poldark', 'Baskets', 'American Horror Story', and 'The Walking Dead' back on. Probably a couple other dark, gloomy, horrific, and depressing things I forgot.

That said, I fall asleep to the endless reruns of comedies, and I currently love 'Mom' - quite often hilarious, and generally uplifting despite some sad storylines.

Last edited by salinqmind; 01-24-2019 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:21 AM
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Ooh, The Magicians started up again tonight with season four. You've probably watched this one but if you haven't--well, I envy you that you have quite a treat in store.
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:01 AM
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Ooh, The Magicians started up again tonight with season four. You've probably watched this one but if you haven't--well, I envy you that you have quite a treat in store.
...the Magicians is light? I had to stop watching because everything was getting way-too-dark. There were scenes that made my skin crawl in the very first episode, and I didn't even make it
SPOILER:
to the episode with the rape scene.
I've seen snippets from later series and it looks lighter in tone: but it really isn't the first thing I would think of which would be the "opposite of dark."

My pick: The Leftovers. Mild open spoiler warning: it starts dark. Really dark. As in DARK. The logline should explain why it is dark:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Leftovers overview
Based on Perrotta's novel of the same name, the series begins three years after the "Sudden Departure", a global event that resulted in 2% of the world's population disappearing, and follows the lives of those who were left behind.
The first season is dark and rough to get through: because its dealing with grief and depression (something that the showrunner, Lost's Damon Lindelof, was dealing with at the time) . But after the first season the tone changes considerably and turns into one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced.
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Old 01-24-2019, 05:41 AM
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If you like sitcoms I suggest Black-ish, The Goldbergs, Brooklyn 99, and Speechless.

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  #23  
Old 01-24-2019, 05:59 AM
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Norsemen on Netflix. It's not exactly 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' light, there's an occasional beheading, but it's done in a really lighthearted way.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:53 AM
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Norsemen on Netflix. It's not exactly 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' light, there's an occasional beheading, but it's done in a really lighthearted way.
Oh hell no. I mean, it's very funny, but it's some of the darkest humor I've ever seen, and after two episodes decided it wasn't for me. Too much body horror mixed into the humor.

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Some good, wholesome light-hearted stuff in addition to those already mentioned:

The Good Place
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
These, however, are all solid light comedies. I like the first two best, and strongly, strongly recommend them.

One that hasn't been mentioned: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I was put off by the name for awhile, but it's by the genius behind Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, and it's witty and hilarious.

And one final recommendation: Galavant, a medieval musical comedy. Super goofy, super hilarious.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:56 AM
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The Good Place is not only upbeat, but it also deals with serious philosophical issues in a light-hearted manner: most importantly, how we can become better people.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:17 AM
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I've found that I just don't enjoy shows or movies in which everyone is a terrible person, and / or in which horrible things just keep happening to people.
Quote:
As for why; too many people in the creative arts think that only dark and depressing is "True Art". And they are so caught up on the idea of avoiding "cliches" about noble heroes and happy endings that they don't seem able to realize that failure, darkness and cripplingly flawed protagonists are the cliche now.
So much both of these for me. Shows automatically get shit on if the good guy almost always wins without terrible loss of life or treating all their supporting characters poorly (controlling of their kids, etc.) and don't torture their enemies.

I'm not looking for sitcoms, either, which makes it more difficult. I want a show that takes itself seriously, but still has humor and has awesome heroes who save the day. Not so much a thing, it seems.

Didn't know there was a new She-Ra - nostalgia might make me check it out. I'm the right bracket to have loved the first and even liked He-Man 2002 series (never been afraid to watch a cartoon, what can I say). Just so long as it is not a parody and doens't make the supporting characters buffoons (a problem with comedy relief characters in older children's programming when rewatching as an adult).
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:44 AM
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The Good Place is not only upbeat, but it also deals with serious philosophical issues in a light-hearted manner: most importantly, how we can become better people.
Yeah, I gotta back this up. The Good Place might well be in the top 10 of sitcoms of all time. In terms of writing and execution it's up there with The Dick van Dyke show and All in the Family. It deals with heavy issues with a serious but light-hearted touch and throws in small moments of real humor.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:53 AM
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I'll throw in a recommend for Death in Paradise as well. Standard murder mystery fare, but it's set on a fictional caribbean island, and the whole vibe of the show is governed by that. By the end of a show, the mystery is solved, they're at the local bar for a few cold ones, and it's not because they're all sad alcoholics trying to drown their sorrows.

I also just started watching Dead Like Me. It's not a comedy, but has comedic moments. It's about death, surprisingly enough, but it's not really grim about it.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:57 AM
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I find it interesting to look at the list of top movies. Plenty of escapism, but few light movies and absolutely no romance.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:01 AM
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Yeah, I gotta back this up. The Good Place might well be in the top 10 of sitcoms of all time. In terms of writing and execution it's up there with The Dick van Dyke show and All in the Family. It deals with heavy issues with a serious but light-hearted touch and throws in small moments of real humor.
I love The Good Place. Iím not talking about comedies. I would expect at least some lightness in comedies.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:04 AM
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Mad Men (which they they think I'd love because I work in advertising). I've found that I just don't enjoy shows or movies in which everyone is a terrible person, and / or in which horrible things just keep happening to people.
I really wouldn't put Mad Men in that category. Its characters are human, imperfect but still relatable. There's also ample comic relief and brightly-lit, colorful, creatively designed mid-century period sets. (The way a show is lit is very important to whether or not I will be willing to spend my time watching it - I come from a background of still photography and I cannot abide overly dark, or egregiously unrealistic, lighting. The last season of Handmaid's Tale was misery for me because of the unrelenting black void that was every single scene. At least Black Mirror, for all its bleakness, has good lighting design.)
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:06 AM
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You guys are terrible at this.

The good place? The show about dead souls trying to escape some weird afterlife? Brooklyn Nine- Nine? The sitcom about homicide detectives joking around corpses all day and suffering from corrupt and useless higher ups? Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? You all realize it's about a girl who tries to overcome having been kidnapped and sexually abused for years, do you?

You couldn't have picked darker stuff if you tried to. What's next? "Hey, have you tried True Detective? It's a great Whodunit!" "How about Breaking Bad? It's about a man overcoming difficulties and becoming highly successful in his chosen field!" Jesus.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:17 AM
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I do watch Orville.
"The Orville" and its flat, bright lighting are a fascinating contrast to other sci fi and adventure shows. "Star Trek Discovery" looks like someone forgot to turn on all the lights.

Obviously, the lighting choices on "The Orville" are deliberate; it is meant to look like the original and Next Generation Star Treks, and other classic sci-fi, and quite deliberately meant to NOT look like newer shows. I mean, either way is fine, depending what you like, but it's not an accident.

What occurs to me just now, though, is that if you think about it, the lighting on "The Orville" is, in a sense, more realistic. (Realism is not what they're going for, it's just a happy accident.) Let's suppose that in the future, we really do have interstellar vessels zipping around for really long periods of time in deep space, crewed by human or largely human crews. Of COURSE they would have bright interior lighting. People become depressed and their health declines if they don't get enough light when they're awake. If you are asking people to travel around in a ship, even a big ship, for a very long period of time, they need a lot of light.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:56 AM
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I love The Good Place. Iím not talking about comedies. I would expect at least some lightness in comedies.
In that case, I'd second 'Legends of Tomorrow'. Hour long superhero show...but one willing to lean in deep to how ridiculous the entire concept is. There's real cost to things and some real suspense and bad things can happen. But it's also got a lighter tone and it's surprisingly well-written.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:59 AM
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I really wouldn't put Mad Men in that category. Its characters are human, imperfect but still relatable.
YMMV, of course. I made it most of the way through the first season, and it just struck me how truly unlikable almost all of the characters were. I fully acknowledge that the writing, acting, and production of it were all top-notch; I just found it painful to continue to watch.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-24-2019 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:18 AM
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I've been of the persuasion for years that this is a major reason why MLP: Friendship is Magic acquired such a large following of adult males; it was something that wasn't dark and depressing.

As for why; too many people in the creative arts think that only dark and depressing is "True Art". And they are so caught up on the idea of avoiding "cliches" about noble heroes and happy endings that they don't seem able to realize that failure, darkness and cripplingly flawed protagonists are the cliche now.

And TV shows are usually written by multiple people which makes it worse; I recall a comment from an author years ago that whenever enough writers collaborate on something there's always going to be at least one who thinks everything has to be dark and depressing, and they'll drag everyone else down with them. Once somebody writes an episode where awful things happen, the other writers will have to deal with the aftermath rather than write something cheery.

This, and what SpoilerVirgin said as well. Too many critics these days think that dark and gloomy = "sophisticated, deep, adult and complex" while happy or upbeat = "shallow, trite, cliche, for-kids."
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:19 AM
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As for the "why" it's all so dark, it's because that makes for immediately compelling story lines. Audiences will quickly create an emotional connection when there's death, destruction, pain, conflict, etc. and be more likely to continue with the show. If instead the show has more soft plots and conflicts, the audience takes more time to build a connection and get emotionally invested. With a dark show, the audience is typically tuning in to find out what will happen in the plot. In the softer shows, the audience is tuning in because they have an emotional connection to the characters.

I also agree that too many shows are dark. While I enjoy those kinds of shows, it gets a little dreary after a while. One non-dark compelling show is Friday Night Lights. It's a serious show, but it's more about the emotional relationships of the people rather than major plot points.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:22 AM
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...the Magicians is light? I had to stop watching because everything was getting way-too-dark. There were scenes that made my skin crawl in the very first episode, and I didn't even make it
SPOILER:
to the episode with the rape scene.
I've seen snippets from later series and it looks lighter in tone: but it really isn't the first thing I would think of which would be the "opposite of dark."
Let me put it this way: The third season began with them receiving a quest from the Great Cock (and a magnificent creature he was, too). After many misadventures, the penultimate solution required them to come together to sing Under Pressure. The stakes are high and there are many Bad Things that happen, death and dismemberment and worse, but that makes the Good Things so much better and the Ridiculous Things that much more ridiculous.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:41 AM
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"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is a good mix of lighthearted and serious, I thought.

My wife and I have been amused by "The Kids are Alright", which is a sitcom set in the early 1970s about a family with 5 boys between about 7 and 18. It's definitely in the light-hearted category.

And as much as a lot of you will gag, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon definitely falls into this category w.r.t. current events and politics.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:12 AM
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In that case, I'd second 'Legends of Tomorrow'. Hour long superhero show...but one willing to lean in deep to how ridiculous the entire concept is. There's real cost to things and some real suspense and bad things can happen. But it's also got a lighter tone and it's surprisingly well-written.
I do watch The CW shows but I fell behind so I have to wait until the next seasons come out on Netflix

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As for the "why" it's all so dark, it's because that makes for immediately compelling story lines. Audiences will quickly create an emotional connection when there's death, destruction, pain, conflict, etc. and be more likely to continue with the show. If instead the show has more soft plots and conflicts, the audience takes more time to build a connection and get emotionally invested. With a dark show, the audience is typically tuning in to find out what will happen in the plot. In the softer shows, the audience is tuning in because they have an emotional connection to the characters.

I also agree that too many shows are dark. While I enjoy those kinds of shows, it gets a little dreary after a while. One non-dark compelling show is Friday Night Lights. It's a serious show, but it's more about the emotional relationships of the people rather than major plot points.
If I havenít made it clear I donít mind dark. But there has to be a balance. You have to give the good guys a win every now and then. Or maybe just inject a little humor here and there. I think Supernatural strikes that balance pretty well most seasons (didnít watch the last one). Horrific things happen to them along the way. Things often seem hopeless. But in between they would throw in a monster of the week story to step away from the dark and depressing main storyline and give them a win. Iíve also laughed with that show more than most comedies.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:17 AM
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The new Magnum, PI is overall pretty light.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:20 AM
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I do watch both of them but Iím caught up on Netflix.
Have you tried Atypical on NetFlix? I've found that show to be a feel-good masterpiece with plenty of touching moments and some light drama. It's pretty funny too.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:30 AM
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My new favorite is Derry Girls. Need to turn on the subtitles but is great fun. I'll also go with Death in Paradise, very light approach to murder. But I must admit I'm very much anticipating Westworld and American Gods return.
  #44  
Old 01-24-2019, 11:43 AM
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ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Watch The Great British Baking Show (which is the Netflix title for The Great British Bakeoff). Fucking A++ in "light and cheery" and not a comedy/sitcom.
  #45  
Old 01-24-2019, 01:59 PM
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Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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I second The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I loved watching that, and can't wait for season 3 to some out.
  #46  
Old 01-24-2019, 02:06 PM
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Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is offline
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Lucifer is fun.

The Expanse is solid sci-fi. Occasionally intense, but not post-apocalyptic dark.

Blacklist somewhat silly premise (ok, very silly premise) but James Spader makes the show.

Elementary US take on Sherlock Holmes. Murder mysteries yes, end of world no.

Life in Pieces take on a modern family in short vignettes. Funny with a strong cast.

Jack Ryan - Amazon's take on the Tom Clancy series. I liked it.

Altered Carbon - Science fiction show by Netflix

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - fun(-ish) peek into the life of a teenage witch.

Disenchanted - fantasy animated series about an unconventional princess

Dragon Prince - new fantasy animated series by the folks who did Avatar (the show, not the movie)
  #47  
Old 01-24-2019, 02:24 PM
Folacin Folacin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodalicious View Post
If you like sitcoms I suggest Black-ish, The Goldbergs, Brooklyn 99, and Speechless.

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
I would not recommend Mom - we enjoy the heck out of it, but about every third episode seems to have a death or estrangement or some other sad thing.
  #48  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:17 PM
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Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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I also liked Future Man, a Hulu Original. Yes, there is killing and some characters hail from a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it played very absurdist. The complaints of the characters are more like old men complaining about today's pampered youth, than a serious dive into life in the sewers. There's also time travel, played up in hilariously disturbing ways in season 2.
  #49  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:50 PM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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I love Life In Pieces. I'm also going to recommend-- for like the millionth time-- Frankie and Grace on Netflix.
  #50  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:55 PM
typoink typoink is offline
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To approach this from a different angle, I think Loach taking comedies out of the equation screws up the equation.

A lot of comedies have been getting more drama-y lately, with the increased move towards single-camera shows with smart writers. The role of "light drama" has dwindled, because you can get the same amount of drama WITH some jokes now. And shows like Orange is the New Black or Mrs. Maisel are splitting the difference pretty damn effectively.

"Light dramas" kinda only existed because network TV couldn't get away with anything edgy. Now that streaming services are making content (and networks have gotten a bit bolder), darker material is just popping to the forefront more.
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