Friday, 31 January 2014

Entertaining mediocrity

Nielsen ratings for Star Trek TNG Season 1 
These days, I find that I watch about an hour's television each day unless there is some potentially interesting documentary scheduled. The other night it was an episode of Nova. I generally like that program, and the episode was about Irish bog bodies so I was looking forward to it.

I might have to revise my opinions about Nova. It was really a sensationalist exploitation of the concept of human sacrifice with information that ran all the way from wrong right up to some half-truths. The title, Ghosts of Murdered Kings really should have tipped me off. The bit about the Gundestrup cauldron iconography was especially annoying to me -- for example, the procession plate scene was described as a human sacrifice. Of course, the footsoldiers marching toward the scene and the cavalry riding away was not mentioned at all as it did not support the idea. I got to see a couple of Celtic coins: an Ambiani and a Namnetes stater, but they were just stock photos among others showing the kind of things the Celts had made. I wondered if some of the other Nova programs were equally as annoying to specialists in their themes.

What survives or dies in television programing is governed mainly by the Nielsen ratings. As the programs make their profit through advertising, it is necessary for them to appeal to as wide an audience as is possible. This must mean people with an IQ of about 100. After signing up with Netflix, I could just choose the movies and TV shows I wanted to watch, so TV was already on its way out for me. But some of the TV series on Netflix had not lasted as long as they should have if quality had been a consideration. Two in particular, stood out for just recently. One of them was Lie to me  which was about reading faces and body language and was based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman. For some reason, I had missed it on TV. Perhaps its advertising had been aimed at the "average viewer". Being an INFJ empath, it was of special interest to me. I was curious to see how what came natural to me could be both explained and taught.  Natural empaths often do not have a good time of it earlier in life. Later, though, that can all change. It is nothing particularly mystical -- the various signs about a person are not conscious thoughts but appear at the very top of the unconscious, above the dream state, and can be experienced, if not fully understood. They also work much better if the person is not very close to one -- complete strangers being the easiest of all to peg. I found the science parts most interesting. I might even take some of  Dr. Ekman's courses to see how it impacts upon my natural abilities. The show, however had much more than that: the characters were well designed, a few exceptionally so. The leading character was properly flawed and his daughter was realistically shown to have a life quite apart from what was being revealed in the show. It was so good that it ran for only three seasons.

Two other Netflix shows were very familiar to me and I rewatch them from time to time: the science fiction Firefly (1 season) and the surreal crime drama Twin Peaks, (2 seasons). You can read the link articles for the details on what happened to them. Of all the three shows I have discussed so far, I think Twin Peaks has to be number one for me. I am very familiar with the sort of countryside where it plays out, and its cinematography is truly excellent.

Before such services at Netflix arrived on the scene, we were stuck with TV programming or what we bought on tape or disc. Now we can chose, instantly, and on a whim. We are not bothered by commercials, and we can switch to something else if our first choice turns out to be a dud. As we pay, not per view, but by the month it doesn't matter. The only downside is that a good series might not have played that long, or a good series was now unobtainable to these services. So I don't watch much TV any more, and I don't see many commercials.

I will leave you with a link to a clip from a show that we might well never see again -- apparently, the royalties for the songs it included prohibit the chances of it being re-run. It is quite an old show, and most will have never even heard of it. It was The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and was likely the world's first intelligent sitcom. I cannot get this specific video clip to play here so you will have to watch the definitive scene of The Ingrid Bergman Incident by following the link

Have a great weekend, more about holographic archaeology on Monday

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