TV Today

When did the world decide that a cheap Walmart camcorder can take the place of real television or movie cameras? This is reaching nigh epidemic levels.

I submit to you “Ghost Hunters” and its many incarnations (and other similarly styled shows). Don’t even get me started on how horrible these shows are, how stupid, how poorly executed. The entire concept of the show is a bunch of people going around in nightvision, asking, “Did you hear that?” when there was absolutely no sound, and telling the client that “We can’t confirm paranormal activity, but we certainly can’t rule it out, either.” I mean, seriously. And the quality of filming is subpar by even the lowest standards.

And it’s not limited to television, either. Nowadays, anyone with a Flip or some similar camera thinks they can make a documentary. If you want to see good-quality documentaries, watch something on the Discovery Channel or, even better, Science Channel, featuring talking-head style interviews. They actually use good HD cameras and have these things called microphones, so you can even hear the people. Crazy, right?

I have a Flip. I’m not making broadcast movies or TV shows with it.

I’m not saying that all well-filmed shows are good. Far from it. In fact, I think the aforementioned Discovery Channel (and its many subsidiaries, especially TLC) are really scraping bottom on their concepts. We don’t need a show following every single job in existence, let alone multiple shows about the same subject. How many people really care about loggers or a trillion auction and pawnshop shows and a trillion hoarding shows and exterminators and nature-survival shows and four or five versions of Police Women and a hundred shows following little people? The problem is that there are too many channels now and not enough material to fill them.

There are libraries of quality old programs that could fill these networks. Seasons and seasons of shows that are so good but no one has them on the air right now. If all we’re going to do is create imitations of imitations, why not bring these old shows out of retirement? That would be even cheaper, I’d assume, than even the next reality show would be. Because if we keep this up, soon, we’ll be seeing shows about pool-maintenance companies or people who make screwdrivers or basket weavers for the stars or jewelry makers for the stars’ dogs. Assuming these shows don’t already exist.

And, dear God, I hope that doesn’t give people any ideas.

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