Television is So, So, So…Dead

It’s odd that TV still has as much life as it does, given as close to the bottomless grave as it is. No one under age 35 or so cleaves to the cathode ray teat like in the golden era of classics like Love Boat and Mork & Mindy.

And it makes sense. TV offers set programming on a fixed schedule. If you were raised from birth with the Internet, would you want to look at a screen that stayed stuck on one page – and only when the screen itself decided to play it? That’s preposterous.

Traditional TV executives are doing their best to usher the medium to the grave, letting cable TV best them with smart stuff like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, Homeland and numerous other dramas worth watching. And House of Cards shows that little Netflix – a web site, for goodness sake – could kick the butt of deep-pocketed CBS, NBC and ABC, which churn out tired, safe stuff that quickly fades into the murky deep.

Even cable TV is being consumed by the Internet, as Hulu and Netflix grab younger viewers who aren’t willing to fit a real time schedule into their Twitter-Tumblr-Facebook lives.

I must admit I still like TV. It’s a deep vice, but I enjoy cable news, with its funky macrame of pundits; I can catch short doses and it helps me follow the news; I’m particularly fond of Howard Fineman, who’s always insightful.

Maureen Dowd writes an insightful piece about this fall’s upcoming TV schedule, its creative limitations and tired feel. “It turns out that Washington isn’t the only place where ideas go to die….”

In honor of TV’s impending demise, here’s a clip of Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1950s. TV has hardly been as exciting since.

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