What the HELL has happened to Television?!?

Here’s the lowdown, for the last 6 months or so I have either been very busy with, or very exhausted from my job as a baker at a grocery store which shall remain nameless. I recently found a new job because, frankly, I hated working at the grocery store. Because of the difference in hours between the new job (computer tech. support) and the old. I had the opportunity to watch television today. Quite a lot of it. I don’t really know why. I just sort of sat and stared at the devil box from when I woke up until now. I have come to a conclusion. I don’t like TV as much as I used to. I don’t know if this stems from TV becoming worse, or from me somehow becoming better, but I feel that after 6 or 7 hours of TV I have totaly wasted a day that I can not get back. Perhaps my 6 months away has put me behind the curve. Or perhaps poor taste has put me years behind the curve. I don’t know. So, my questions to all my new found friends/enimies/all other dopers is: When did TV start to Suck? What shows so ya’ll think don’t suck? and Which shows are even worse?

Oh, one more thing IMHO the majority of the programming on the folowing stations is an exception: TLC, Discovery and it’s affiliates, Regular PBS, and The History Channel. ** Oh how I wish I could get a cable plan JUST for Edutaiment.**

It took you 7 hours of daytime TV to realize that you’ve wasted a day? I get that feeling if I watch “The View” for more than 15 seconds.

TV officialy started to suck when Paul Lynde left “The Hollywood Squares.”

I don’t own a television, (at least not one that’s plugged in.) This isn’t for elitist reasons…there is great TV & educational TV -not always an oxymoron - I just always find something better to do. Perhaps I’m too hyper to sit in front of a screen that offers no chance for interaction. :smiley:
Hasn’t most TV always appealed to the lowest common denominator in taste? Is it getting worse? Probably. But people keep watching…


Eh, TV has always sucked. Network TV anyway. Remember Three’s Company?

I think that we have gotten more critical of TV because we have so many more choices. Used to be that if you wanted to watch TV, you chose the least objectionable thing that was being shown on one of the big 3. Where I lived, I had the additional option of watching Masterpiece Theater {yawn) or some warmed-over movie on channel 9. You just didn’t expect that there would be anything especially good on.

Nowadays, I expect to find something on at all times. I get more than 50 channels, so my expectations are quite a bit higher, and I tend to be dissapointed when I can’t find something that I actually like to watch.

TV started to suck when it was invented. One of the only things that doesn’t suck about TV is that some guys at MIT modified the technology to create the first computer monitor. And then, being guys at MIT, they created the first computer game, Spacewar. But that’s another thread.

TV officially started to suck when Bewitched replaced the original Darren. It has yet to recover from that crushing blow.


I agree with Hodge. I am only 24 however, it it wasn’t for 50’s and 60’s sitcoms, I wouldn’t watch TV. (Except for Jeopardy, Discovery Channel, and CNN.)

Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and I Love Lucy, were the best shows ever created and still haven’t lost their appeal. Bewitched is my all-time favorite. I even subscribe to a certain channel for $1.50 extra a month for that one show. Pitiful…I can’t find it on any other channel.

TV started sucking when they tried to make it more lifelike. You know, all those soaps with all those real-life plots. And how about all those ER and Cop shows? I mean, I don’t know about you but I watch TV to get away from reality, not be constantly reminded of all the horrible things that happen to people. Besides I work at a hospital, and believe me, I see too much of it already.

OneDollarWilliam - Where ya been, man? Television has been an Unspeakable Cesspool of Fith and Depravity Which Constantly Panders to the Lowest Common Denominator and Is Indicative of the Continuing Moral Decay Blah Blah Blah Etc.

I agree that with more channels, that naturally leads to more bad shows. But it also means more variety, and there’s gotta be something you like (c’mon, there’s a Golf Channel and Food Channel now). It might help to spend somewhat less than seven hours…you know, diminishing returns and all.

Cousin Oliver.

TV started to suck for me about the time I began developing some taste and intellectual and emotional discrimination

TV began to suck when F-Troop became popular.

TV started to suck when I grew up, and no longer felt that Three’s Company was half an hour well spent.

Now, I normally watch 3 hours of TV a week, and I often think that’s too much.

We get 70 here, and there’s frequently nothing worth spending time on. (There was a fantastic documentary on squids last night on public TV. They had footage from a “crittercam” attached to the back of a sperm whale that blew my frikkin’ mind. Now that’s good stuff.)

Here’s a question for all you budding mathematically-inclined folks who need a dissertation topic or otherwise want scientific stuff to study. We’ve been hearing the “500-channel” thing for years now. Those of us with digital cable (not me, not yet) have maybe a third of that.

Here’s the question: How many channels must there be to guarantee that there will be something worth watching at every hour of the day?

Obviously, “something worth watching” varies from person to person. I would say a channel made up of nothing but Nova, Frontline, and National Geographic Explorer would qualify. Somebody else might say the same about big-time wrestling, or Nascar, or a music-video channel that actually played, imagine this, music videos. (There used to be one, honest.) None of these really exists, not yet anyway. So how many channels must there be before every individual viewer’s 24-hour requirement is met?

(Actually, this sounds like sociological hell. Huxley was more correct than Orwell…)

It’s called MTV2, and is part of the basic package on DishTV. Alternately, you could hook up with the audio channels on DishTV that play music of a certain genre nonstop 24/7/365 without the encumbrance of any images. Kinda like that ancient device, the radio, without all of the advertising.

Somewhat on topic, TV has always been encumbered by the fact that it must sell in as many markets as possible. It has always been pablum, especially in the days of the Big 3 who were so competitive they had to make things as mass-marketable as possible to get as high a profit as possible. The pay-TV channels have alleviated this concern, same with cable TV, satellite TV, and more niche networks aimed at interest groups rather than localities (witness the Food Channel). The Big 3 will always be pablum because they have not changed their marketing strategy (saturation of every market) since the 1950s. There are options now, however.

When is a man watching nothing but yet still watching something?

When there’s nothing on TV

::runs away:: :smiley:

Damn. I thought this was going to be about the band. It started to suck immediately after Marquee Moon hit the record stores, but Richard Lloyd has since done some excellent work with Matthew Sweet.

I was trying to come up with an answer, and realized that a lot of what I was suggesting has already been done–networks devoted to re-running interesting old programming. (And I do love the Game Show Network. What a shock to look at all those game shows I watched as a kid and realize all kinds of things that had passed right over my head. Charles Nelson Reilly is a great big flamer! Who knew?)

A related issue has come to mind–The TV listings in the paper are so abbreviated that it is hard to even tell what is on. I think there is some good stuff out there that I don’t even know about. Example, a show last night was listed as “lingerie.” Turns out that it was a TLC show called “Bra Wars,” and it was all about the bra–history, the industry, etc. It was really interesting. (My husband found it interesting, too, but he claimed he was only interested in the engineering aspect of the brassiere. Yeah, right, Bucko.)

Anyway, maybe if listings were improved, we could make better TV choices.

I’m not sure that there was ever a time that it didn’t suck overall–sure, you get the occasional bright spot like Star Trek: TOS or Looney Tunes, but by and large it’s worthless. For one thing, the few watchable things that do come on are never on when you have time to watch. They play while you’re working, or while you’re sleeping so you can work the next day. I bought a TiVo to fix that (and because I’m drawn, ferret-like, to anything with brightly colored lights, whirring noises, and a linux OS–wait, do ferrets like linux?), but even with the gadget in place there’s nothing worth watching 95% of the time. I get just enough to occupy me while I’m exercising or engaged in some mindless task that allows for no other entertainment.

(Green Bean, the TiVo and ReplayTV listings are generally much better than those printed guides. You do have to hook them up to a phone and download the info regularly, though.)

Of course, I grew up in a TV repair shop. It’s kind of like the “lock the kid in the closet with a box of cigars” anti-smoking tactic. An overdose can drive you away for life, leaving time for more worthwhile pursuits like reading, writing, and rambling on message boards.

TV started to be very uninteresting after Monty Python and the original Saturday Night Live cast went off the air.
TV started to be a little better when TLC, Discovery and the History Channel came on to the scene in this area.
Still hard getting through a long NorthWest Indiana Winter though.

Yes I do, actually, I’m watching it right now.
[sub]…yuck yuck, it’s the one with the misunderstanding…[/sub]