TV blight prevails, but at least Luther, Sunday Night Football are tops

TV transmitter in 1930, via US Library of Congress. Original photo from Keystone View Company.

I have trouble with TV. Right now, every time I hit a new channel, it’s all about the royal wedding, crime, or psycho chefs. There’s not much I can sit through these days. I have too many books lying around and they’re a lot more interesting. That said, I do have a few shows I like to watch. Two of the features I do watch are among the most popular shows in the US and the UK. 

The two popular shows I watch or have watched include Sunday Night Football. It depends on the teams, though. I don’t watch it routinely. The other show I became addicted to is Luther. That is a UK production starring Idris Elba, one of my favorite actors.

Another show I watch regularly is The Americans on FX. The era depicted in that series is one I lived through as a young adult. There are moments when I take a dim view of some sly propaganda—Elizabeth’s condemnation of capitalism for example. Elizabeth (played by Keri Russell) once blamed everyone but her own country for the starvation that occurred amid World War II. The writers might take a look at history, starting with the rise of Stalin. But that’s another matter.

Of late, I like the series Trust. It’s about the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III in 1973. I was in college, but I remember the news coverage and of course, the severed ear. The series delves into the culture of the uber-wealthy (the Gettys and their pals) and the culture of the kidnappers (small time criminals in a village in Italy). Considering the influence the Getty patriarch had on global affairs, I think the series’ existence is justified.

As for news, I do try to catch local news. I never watch network national news, although on cable, I flip between C-SPAN, Fox, CNN, and Fox Business. I don’t watch much of the national stuff anymore. Like I said, if you want to know what your government is doing, just visit each agency website. Look for IG reports, news releases, and policy statements. Those are real eye-openers no matter who sits in the White House.

In a book I’m reading, there’s an anecdote that probably more than anything, sums up the evolution of entertainment. The anecdote relates to the film industry, but I learned the Catholic Church had a method for condemning certain films when that industry was still in its youth. For instance in 1943, the Howard Hughes film The Outlaw was condemned by The Catholic Legion of Decency. If you went to see the film, you committed a mortal sin. The church still weighs in on films.

Why did the church condemn The Outlaw? Two reasons. Jane Russell’s breasts. They were not completely covered, although by today’s standards, her cleavage was modestly depicted.

Overall, I find American TV fairly lifeless, dull, full of itself, and overloaded with lame jokes about sex likely written by people who perhaps get too little of it. Most nights, I read or listen to music. Sometimes I just like to sit out back and listen to the owls and other night creatures. It beats watching non-reality ‘reality’ shows, series about politics with a socialist bent, and cliché crime shows proliferating like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

Other than all that, I like the game show Jeopardy.

So I like one show that’s among the top ten in the US. I like another that’s highly recommended as a top show in the UK. At least I have something in common with others when it comes to entertainment, but that’s not saying much if you look at the other shows on those lists.

What’s on your screen?

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 17, 2018)


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