The evolution or devolution of television - TV Trash
September 4, 2017
You sit transfixed in front of the screen and become completely absorbed, so much so your conscious mind becomes a willing receptor and you become part of the story. You feel immersed in the lives of the characters, their hopes, dreams, trials, and tribulations. Since its inception and commercialization in 1941, television has held a fascination with the American people; its influence, both good and bad, has had a profound effect on our lives and on the culture.
In the formative years, television was quaint and dignified. Not many American families could afford this new technology, but by the mid-to-late fifties, more than half of U.S. households had television sets. Many of these produced images in black and white; color was available but was a premium feature and more expensive. Anyway, until 1960 most broadcasts were in black and white and were delivered to families across the nation via antenna, usually of the rabbit ear variety.
In the beginning, many of the programs were taken from already established radio shows: film shorts, cartoons, variety shows. By the mid-1950’s other genres made their debut, and these programs would distinguish themselves from movies and radio - network news services, talk shows like Jack Parr, sitcoms like I Love Lucy, and the Honeymooners. We can also include westerns, soap operas, and mysteries in those earlier days.
The broadcast television signal was transmitted via the Very High Frequency (VHF) bandwidth, this included channels 2-13. In 1964 the All Channel Receiver Act was implemented and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) broadcasting became another feasible transmission medium. In the early 1980’s cable television, which required the user to subscribe, offered multiple dedicated channels, together with regular broadcast stations. This was soon followed by direct broadcast satellite TV in 1990’s, and the rest is history.
With television's evolution came many changes. Technology made tremendous strides; printed circuits replaced the vacuum tube, analogue was replaced by digital tuning that created greater pixel strength and sharper, more pronounced images, stereo, surround sound, and quadraphonic replaced monophonicsound, and larger screens created a movie theater-like atmosphere and a more personal exchange between the viewer and characters on television.
But the most significant change over the past seven decades, in my opinion, is in people - their attitudes, beliefs, ethics, and principles. I believe it had its genesis with the advent of the sexual revolution of 1960’s. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, the media, each with its cadre of writers, directors, and producers, all those entities that make up the behind-the-scenes mind-thrust of television and movies seem in many cases to have succumbed to their darker inner most demons.
Yes indeed television has come a long way, but down what path it has traveled and what its final destination will be, if ever reached, is unknown at this time. The viewer has access, with some exceptions, to a vast wasteland of violence, sexual content, vulgarity, perversion, and death. Police dramas, situation comedies, concerts, variety shows, science fiction, horror - a virtual smorgasbord of the good, bad, and ugly, is available for our viewing pleasure or disgust. Oh yes, and let us not forget, zombies running rampant, vampires who cannot get their fill, and sharks in tornados wreaking havoc and swimming in a sea of blood and gore. And for the record, I will admit here to being a fan of the voracious carnivorous flying Chondrichthyes- sharks swimming in tornados and gorging themselves on hapless helpless humans.
Of course there have been and still are programs that are educational, challenging and inspirational. But sadly the vast majority on most of the major networks and cable channels leave much to be desired. Even children watching at home, unless their parents object and say no and place blocks on specific channels, are exposed to all this questionable and possibly harmful material. And let us not forget the underage actors who play parts in programs of questionable content.
By now you may have been under the impression from what you’ve thus far read that this was to be a brief history of television. To an extent, you would be correct; however, it was also a prelude to what I believe is an example of the darker side of television and the minds that control it, and how the powers that be in the industry use the medium as a soapbox to spew their ideological deviant beliefs, leftist intolerance, and moral turpitude toward religion and traditional values, while giving due diligence to their pet causes and obsessions.
The author Steven King wrote a horror story awhile back, called the “Mist.” There followed a movie of the same title whose story line closely paralleled the book. This new television season introduced a one hour horror series on the Sci-fi channel, again with the same title the “Mist.” Although certain aspects of the original story have remained, it would seem the writer developer decided to take this series in another direction, down another path, making what appears a sharp turn to the ‘left.’
There have thus far been about five episodes. The main characters and to an extent story line have thus far been established. The Mist arrived, strange and deadly events have occurred, and the people are held up in various enclaves, a Mall, hospital, their homes, and a Catholic Church. However unlike the movie, monsters have not yet reared their ugly heads and the viewer still does not have an understanding of how or where the Mist originated and why people are dying. But it was on August fourth after eleven episodes that I believe a major turning point was reached and the storyline significantly diverted from the book and movie.
I’ll dispense with the minutiae and get to the gist of my criticism, and will do so through the use of highlights to give you an overview of this disappointing and agenda-driven excuse for entertainment.
After being physically assaulted, his religion insulted and undermined, a Catholic priest is forced into making a decision that leads to him leaving his church and being mercilessly killed by one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse who drag his bloodied body into the Mist.
Those in the church are divided by a strong-willed older woman, a disbeliever, who thinks of herself as a child of nature in sync with the Mist. She leaves with her followers, and barricades the door and sets the church on fire, while the others who remained can be heard screaming inside.
At the hospital, an interracial couple who just met is having sex in one of the rooms, while in another room two teenage boys are engaged in homosexual sex.
One of the homosexual teenagers leaves the hospital and makes his way home where his father sits alone. They argue and the father tells his son that we, your deceased mother and me, never loved him and were disgusted with him. The son in a rage shoots his father dead.
Meanwhile at the mall, the horror of the Mist and deaths that have occurred, and due to a scarcity of food, the people are at each other’s throats and begin to branch off into groups.
Still at the mall a teenage girl who at a party, before the Mist arrived, became intoxicated and was raped; she was a virgin. The boy, who has a reputation of being a school jock, was at the party and is also at the mall, and is thought to be the culprit.
We soon find out however that the gay teenager who murdered his father, and who happens to be the girl’s best friend, was the rapist. He claims to have done it to save her from having been subjected to the bodily fluids of the disgusting popular jock.
The mall manager, found out to have been hoarding food, kills the woman who threatens to inform the others.
I’ll stop here folks.
There’s much more than I can describe. Suffice it to say the minds behind this crude, disgraceful drivel appeared to have been determined to show the basest, the most contemptible and crude aspects of human nature; the innermost demons of once normal decent people are brought to the surface in all their abominable brutality. The killer instinct that supposedly lays hidden in each of us is made manifest. One can only imagine what lies ahead in coming episodes. By the way the highlights I described, discounting the commercials, occurred in a 1½ hour broadcast time frame.
Yes, I know - if you don’t like what you see, just change the channel.
Visit Bob Pascarella's website at www.ShortStoriesInVerse.com