The State of Modern TV

It’s been on the cards for years, but now the TV revolution is finally happening – at least, in the USA.

Television as we know it is undergoing a massive transformation as online streaming service, Netflix, makes its mark on the flailing industry.

What started out in 1997 as an online DVD rental service in California has now become a worldwide phenomenon of streaming and DVD based media nirvana.

In the past two years Netflix has progressed even from the DVD rental and online streaming market in to developing original content for its more than 36,000,000 subscribers.

It started with a US version of House of Cards, set on Capitol Hill with Kevin Spacey and Kate Mara and has continued with shows like Hemlock Grove and a fourth series of cult comedy hit Arrested Development.

It’s not just old men in suits that hold the pulling power for our TV screens any more, Netflix holds some serious sway with the content creators now, and that can only be good for people who are passionate about TV.

Take, for example, Arrested Development. The show had a huge following before its untimely cancellation six years ago at the hands of Fox bosses. Now though, we’ve got people at Netflix who are prepared to stick their money on the line and revive old shows with massive followings, purely because people will enjoy it.

That’s the problem with modern TV. Networks are far too interested in their bottom line rather than the fans of their creations. Television shows are never put to bed at the correct time, they’re either dragged out until they’re ridiculous and tired (Heroes, four series. Scrubs, nine series. Family Guy, ongoing.) or they’re cut down far too early while there is a lot more to give, (Chicago Code, one series. FlashForward, one series.)

There is a gross lack of consistency from the powers that be in television – so viewers everywhere will be pinning their hopes on the streaming giant to perhaps restore some faith in to television that has been missing for some years now.

British viewers will also hope that they can give the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 a good kick up the arse as well. I can’t be the only person in the world who is tired of silly little six episode (or in the case of Luther and Sherlock) three episode series once a year. Similarly, I can’t be the only person who is sick of stupid reality toot like The Only Way Is Essex and Made In Chelsea winning gongs at TV award shows year in, year out, purely because there is nothing else to challenge it.

The age of Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor will never be beaten back while the braindead masses gawp and stare in a deadened stupor at the ugly man from Doncaster attempt to dance with a dog, or a one-legged sex-worker from Stoke with a dead parent sing her tone-deaf little heart out only to be mercilessly cut down by the mogul that is Louis fucking Walsh.

Britain needs what the Americans have had for years and that is good quality TV dramas. Downton Abbey doesn’t count because it’s aimed at middle-aged women stuck in loveless marriages.

Simon Cowell is to blame for Britain’s obsession with TV reality shows. It all started in 2001 with Pop Idol and we’ve been brainwashed ever since then. We don’t need endless TV talent shows. We don’t need stupid people on stupid shows doing stupid things.

We need thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, arse-clenching excitement delivered through complex storylines by the most talented of writers. We need bold TV bosses who are prepared to take risks with their programming. We need at least 12 episode series so that character development can take place.

We need help. And we need it now.

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