Dan Harmon on the Miserable State of TV

In the wake of his forced separation from his brainchild, Community, and the show’s subsequent showrunners making an underwhelming debut, it’s especially interesting to hear Dan Harmon’s rather bleak take on the state of television.

Positioning viewers as passive consumers of garbage and writers as powerless pawns of corporations, Harmon’s most fascinating commentary is on the level of censorship involved in the TV production process. Claiming that TV writers are patently “not allowed to say whatever they’re thinking” is a bold statement, especially coming from someone who seems to have been so successful in getting his vision onto the screen.

But Harmon’s comments point to a valid question, and one that has often been on my mind as someone aspiring to enter the entertainment industry: What control do writers, directors, and even showrunners really have? Is it possible to ever really see your work come to life in the way you envisioned it? What do you think?

((Apologies for the rather cynical post; I suppose I’m not in the cheeriest of places lately. –MQ))

Dan Harmon Rants About the ‘Garbage’ That Is TV
Jesse David Fox @ Vulture

130213-article-harmon

When asked why 30 Rock was able to stay on the air as a poorly rated yet very smart show, Harmon goes off, espousing a very “everything is bullshit” message. He calls all TV, regardless of quality, “a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup.”

Read More >

Are TV Watchers Distracted Viewers?

The way we watch TV has changed drastically, and will probably continue to change as we see more and more convergence between media devices. For example, I do not have cable, and instead I use a web-ready TV to stream TV shows and movies directly from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant. While I watch I always find myself either on my phone or my tablet, usually browsing reddit or playing bubble shooter games. I also often watch shows directly on my computer, but I use my second monitor to – you guessed it – browse reddit or play bubble shooter games.

When I realized that I have this compulsion to do two things at once, I was actually very surprised. Why can’t I give even my favorite TV shows my undivided attention? Am I multitasking, or do I just have a short attention span? What kinds of subtleties am I missing when I look away from the screen, even for a moment?

130201-supernaturalAccording to this study I’m not the only one with this problem – or is it even a problem? I don’t know. I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to not let myself get distracted while I continue to watch Supernatural with my husband over the next couple of days (almost done with season 4!) and see if I really notice that big of a difference. I’ll report back to you with my findings.

This article talks about the “multitasking” that many TV viewers are engaging in and comes to the conclusion that smart TV’s are the next big thing–I’m sorry, but isn’t that already a thing? Sure not everyone has a web-ready TV, but I don’t feel like it’s this huge advancement in the way we conceive of television. We’ve been using convergent devices to watch TV and movies for a while already. To me, the most interesting thing about the findings of the study in the article is that it has implications for network programmers, directors, and even TV writers, who have to adapt to the fact that viewers may not always keep their eyes on the screen.

How do you normally watch TV? On your computer or another device? Do you have cable or stream media using services like Netflix and Hulu? Do you ever find yourself distracted by other screens while watching TV? Do you think it hinders your enjoyment of what you watch?

Study: Majority of consumers watch TV and surf Web simultaneously
Dawn C. Chmielewski @ LA Times

US-IT-COMPUTER-TELECOM-INTERNET-ELECTRONICS-CES

A new study from KPMG suggests that the majority of Americans now watch TV and access the Web simultaneously. However, consumers say they still prefer to watch video on the TV — suggesting the next big disruptive technology in the living room may be the Internet-connected “smart TV,” like these on display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show.

Read More >