Like many New Englanders, I seem to have taken a bit of a summer hiatus and neglected this blog. Unlike last summer, when the Big Dig ceiling panel collapsed and killed a motorist in July, this has been a relatively quiet news cycle. We've had garden variety mayhem in the news world.
Which is good, because it never stays that way for long. The Patriots have started playing pre-season ball again, the Sox lead in the AL least is now down to a few games, and the Celtics have signed a new player that has fans all excited about the team's prospects for the new season. Surely we'll have some sports stories in the offing soon, if nothing else. I don't know why we think of Jan. 1 as the start of the new year, because (at least in TV world) the cycle begins anew in September, as the kids go back to classes and the networks announce their fall lineups.
Unfortunately, none of the nets ever seem to offer much that is promising anymore. Reality TV. Dance or song competitions. I don't think it's a stretch to say that in any given season, each network only manages to come up with one "winner," which (if you think about it) is NOT a great track record for companies such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, who have thousands of employees and VERY high paid executives making big creative decisions.
I seem to recall that when I was a kid, you could turn on the TV at 7 or 8 p.m. at night and watch for three or four straight hours and there would be one great show after another. Even as a teenager, I used to stay home to watch "The Carol Burnett Show" or "The Mary Tyler Moore" show. We loved "Bewtiched", "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley" and before that, I remember shows like "Petticoat Junction," and "Green Acres" and "Colombo" and others.
My theory is that basically the "creative" people in these industries are now pretty much creatively bankrupt. Essentially, many of them have spent their childhoods watching television, which is a passive entertainment that does squat in terms of fostering creativity. The people who made all those great 1960s and 1970s TV shows were WWII generation people who grew up READING. They grew up playing make-believe games outside, with other kids, in an environment that forced you to use your imagination to entertain yourself because there weren't many other options.
That's why so many of the movies that come out are just recycled TV shows, like the Charlie's Angels movies, or "Bewitched," or all the movies made about comic-book superheroes who were invented back in the 1940s. Ever wonder why very little "new" comes out? It's worth somebody writing their dissertation about.
If any of these people really want to be inspired, they need to move out of the dissipated wasteland of L.A. and go live in the woods of anywhere for awhile, doing nothing but reading and fishing. It's amazing what your brain will come up with when you have no pre-packaged inane entertainment to anesthisize it.