ANOTHER ONE JUST LIKE THE OTHER ONE

This was originally going to be about sequels and remakes to movies and TV shows. Somewhere along the line, it changed. Now, it’s about predictable, boring, and repetitive material for what is supposed to be a new television season.

We are having trouble finding stuff to watch. It isn’t merely that the shows are trite, poorly written, badly acted, and trivial. They also give you that “Deja vu all over again” feeling. I swear they are using old scripts from other shows and just change a few names.

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How predictable are they? Garry and I always know “who done it” before anyone has done anything. We know who done it because it’s always the biggest name guest star of the week. If, by some bizarre accident, we miss the opening credits, we can guess who done it before we know what was done because he or she looks guilty. Or it’s that same actor who always plays the bad guy.

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TV shows cast the same dozen or so actors over and over again — in the same roles. There are the scary looking guys who play evil drug dealers and gang leaders (or both). The older guys who play spies gone bad. The other ones who are inevitably cops gone to the dark side. There are the women whack jobs and sultry bad girls. Regardless, you know the moment they appear on-screen that whatever happened, it was his/her/their fault. They done it.

And oh the clichés.

“No one was supposed to get hurt.”

“He was turning his life around.”

“Everybody loved her/him.”

“I had no choice.”

And the ever-popular “Stay in the car.”

This season’s “Castle” had a problem. Stana Katic, who plays Kate Beckett (love interest, now precinct captain), wasn’t available for the season opener. She was still busy making a movie.

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So they had to write around her character. According to TVLine.com, the producers and writers saw this as a creative opportunity to find a way to make the show work without her.

What did they do? What was their “creative solution?” They went back — again — to the tired, old story line of Kate and her obsession with Senator Bracken (now in prison for life). Because creativity, in TV land, means doing same thing they’ve done countless times before.

Another one. Just like the other one.

Apparently we are too stupid to understand a plot we haven’t seen at least a dozen times. We might get befuddled by all that originality.

Ratings were, unsurprisingly, significantly lower than in previous years.

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NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans also came up with tepid season openers. New Orleans was particularly bad. I actually thought the show was running longer than usual. It was that dull.

According to the powers that be who run the networks and control programming, anyone below the age of 18 or over the age of 45 doesn’t count. They do not care whether or not we watch their shows. We do not exist.

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I finally realized the actual problem. It’s not that Garry and I are too old to enjoy the newness, uniqueness, and cleverness of the new shows — or that we won’t buy the sponsor’s products. It’s that the “new” shows are not new and certainly not clever.

What is being presented as “new” are tired old stories with different people playing the same roles. Same scripts, sometimes word for word. Totally predictable plots, endlessly repeated. Of course they don’t care about our opinion. They know what we are going to say.

This stuff is crap. Boring. Stupid. Mindless. Dumb. Crap.

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It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be. Both Amazon and Netflix, as well as other cable outlets are doing some really good stuff that appeals to every age group. The trick? Good stories, good acting. Intelligent scripts.

Maybe the whiny networks should stop complaining about how the mean old competition is stealing their viewers and try giving viewers something to watch. They could steal us back!

Isn’t that a great idea? Huh? Isn’t it?



Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Reviews, Show Business, Television

Tags: , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. Geez, I rarely watched current TV shows the entire time I was (and actually still am) in that 18-45 demographic. I’ve seen far more television that was created before I was born than I have shows made during my lifetime. Some people think I’m an old fogey because I can quote and reference shows like Twilight Zone, Laugh In and Hogan’s Heroes, but know absolutely nothing about Seinfeld, The Simpsons or Big Bang Theory…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are not so unusual. I think TV got better for a while … then it started going downhill and has stayed bottomed out for at least a decade. Maybe two. The suits say they are aiming at the 18-45 year-old demographic, but I know an awful lot of people in that age group and they don’t watch the stuff they are supposed to watch. I guess no one told them they had to like it. Many don’t watch TV at all or very little. Certainly not mainstream network TV and the oldies channels are not just for oldies anymore. The focus groups are wrong. The crap they are showing isn’t what people of any age want to watch.

      Like

  2. I absolutely agree with you. Network television is airing mindless garbage with no point, especially all those stupid “reality” programs. I love Netflix and Amazon, one can find programs that feed the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mostly, what I find there are things that are at least intelligent. Often with better than average scripts and acting. I’m really not looking for anything extraordinary. Just stuff that doesn’t insult me and may actually be interesting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you can watch “The Killing” Series at Netflix. Very unusual crime series. One season deals with only one murder. It’s really good and keeps you guessing.

    I stopped watching NCIS a couple of years back, pretty much because of everything you said. I always knew that “the gardener” did it. It was the same old every week.

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    • There’s another show like that on one of the cables that Garry watches. Too byzantine for me, but he still likes it. Mostly, though, even shows we’ve followed for many seasons are obviously worn out and have nothing more to say.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Killing is good, nothing byzantine about it. Just really good writing and unusual actors who play their parts well. Kept me on the edge until the very end.

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      • I think you’re talking about “How To Get Away With Murder”. The always superb Viola Davis is my attraction. I dvr’d the season premiere and will try to watch this weekend. Meantime, I discovered an oldie western series “A Man Called Shenandoah” starring Robert “Flint McCollough” Horton on GET TV and have set a few shows to tape. Which will be more enjoyable — the new or old show?
        One guess.

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  4. I’ve always been a movie watcher, with the exception of the Law & Order episodes with Jerry Orbach… his brand of dry, sarcastic humor made me almost fall in love with the man! You could say I’ve adopted that kind of attitude since the first time I watched the show. 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerry Orbach’s loss was really the death knell for Law and Order, though I think it had been on life support for a few years before it actually went off the air. I still miss him and it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tina, “L&O” was at its best with Orbach and Adam “Make a deal” Schiff. Once upon a time, long ago,I covered a story involving first term Congressmen going through the ritual “newbie” ceremonies at Harvard Law School. One of the rookies was named Adam Schiff. I did a double take. He just gave me a look.

      Like

  5. TV Tropes site has it to a science, unfortunately. Between these shows and movies being remade/reimagined, it’s no wonder all I do is play online now.

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    • I blame producers and writers. Producers who have no imagination and won’t even try anything original — maybe they wouldn’t know something original if it bit them — and the writers who are just plain BAD. Well, I suppose there are also the actors who are no better than they have to be to get the job.

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  6. There’s a load of great brand new stuff out there. There’s… um, well, there’s definitely… um. Okay. you’re right 🙂
    I skipped over the part of your post which dealt with “Castle” – I haven’t watched to that point yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still like Castle, but I am disappointed. It has HUGE potential, but the writers are looping back again to the same plot we were tired of two seasons ago. I’ve seen so many shows go down the tubes because they can’t get out of their own way. It is frustrating, especially when it is a show we really like a lot … and we see it heading into a death spiral.

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    • Dral, I think we’ve seen the best of “Castle”. Too bad. I like the characters and their inside references to other shows and movies. We also “know” Susan Sullivan who plays Martha, Castle’s Mom. Susan was an acquaintance during our College days long, long ago.
      On another note, I think TCM was running some old Playhouse 90, Golden age TV stuff starring James Dean. I believe yesterday was the anniversary of Dean’s death in ’55. I taped a couple of shows. It’ll be interesting to see how the stuff holds up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The problem with many shows is that they run too long. They start off with a great idea, all fresh and interesting and by the sixth series they’ve just run out of ideas (but still making money for the networks I assume).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I have noticed. Law and Order ran for 20 years and wasn’t really tired and old till the last couple of years, but most shows seems to run out of steam long before they run out of seasons. I blame the lack of imagination and creativity of the writers and producers … the people who think creativity is repeating the same things they’ve beem doing for the past three seasons –because we are so dumb we won’t notice. They don’t seem to have any original ideas. I bet there are people just lining up with ideas that they are ignoring.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve watched a lot of TV in my 66 years on earth. What you’re describing has been going on for 50 years or more. There’s very little originality in Hollywood. As soon as someone comes up with an original idea for a series and it turns out to be popular the other networks copy the plot with other actors to try to grab some of the market share. They create “Chinese Copies”.

    Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby MD all happened like this. Bonanza, Big Valley, The Rifleman is another. Spinoffs from popular series are rarely as good as the original. Star Trek, Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine are examples of spinoffs that shared cast members being traded and transferred like pro sports teams. Some were better than others. All copied exact plot lines over and over.

    To me the most original networks are Fox, Sci-fi & CW . They take chances with new ideas and plot lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “To me the most original networks are Fox, Sci-fi & CW .” That was truer a few years ago than now. Netflix, Amazon and other non-broadcast channels are the ones picking up the torch now. I don’t like a lot of what they are doing, but it is at least original. Fox and CW are now just like the other networks. Another one. Just like the other one. Playing it safe and playing to “the demographic” that their PR people tell them are the right ones. That’s why A&E dropped Longmire. It was very popular, their biggest ever hit … but the viewers were too old.

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    • 66, Bob?? You’re gonna be the Probie.

      Like

  8. Tell me about it. I get so fed up with television. I hardly bother to watch new to Australia US shows because they are so similar to each other. It seems to be all about formulas. Everyone liked Law & Order when it was new and NCIS (so did we) so let’s make spin off shows set in other cities. Most of them not as good I might add. When we were young there were only four free to air television channels. We used to wish there were more so we’d have more choice. Now there are about a dozen plus we have a full package of cable channels and I still struggle to find something I want to watch most nights. If it wasn’t for the History Channel I’d hardly watch TV at all and they are often obsessed with replaying the World Wars which must have been covered from every angle by now. There are occasionally British and Australian series I enjoy but in the end I’d rather watch reruns of shows I liked in the past than bad new shows.

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    • I find it baffling. I know producers control the direction of the shows and probably dictate the stories for upcoming seasons … but surely writers are at least consulted. Characters that were funny and interesting in the beginning, by season 3 are stuck in a loop. They don’t grow, don’t develop, don’t change. Relationships get stuck. And they replay the same plot over and over until there’s no point in watching. It’s not just the procedural “cop” shows either. It’s everything. There one season of “new” and 7 seasons of repeats. Does anyone really like it? of ANY age?

      Liked by 1 person

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