by Amy K. Bredemeyer
During the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, Barry Sonnenfeld (winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Director of a Comedy Series) ended his acceptance speech with the phrase, "Love TV and fear the internet."
This is a very intriguing statement, I think. I agree, of course, because of the censorship that is given to television (although the lessening of restrictions in recent years does make me sad) makes it much safer and fun to love than the treacherous peril that is affectionately termed "the webertubes."
But at the same time, in a world that embraces progression, it's difficult to determine how much longer the art of television will be relevant. Certainly it already has a longer life than the radio program (although it debuted in 1920, the radio is hardly used for storytelling and the like nowadays, it's pretty much reserved for news and music), but with podcasts, videoblogs, and YouTube keeping the tech-savvy population entertained, for how much longer will TV prevail?
Consider the problems in the television industry in the past twelve months. During the writers' strike, the variety of programs which were aired in lieu of over 3 months of striking was rather odd. First, extra episodes of The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and even The Price Is Right were ordered to fill slots left void. American Gladiators was brought back to entertain the mindless. Many shows (everything from Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, and House, M.D. to CSI and The Simpsons) were shortened when the strike was over so that they did not run into the summer season. Still others were stopped suddenly, with production halted until the Fall 2008 season began (think Entourage, Heroes, and Pushing Daisies for starters). And then, of course, there were shows that died completely because of the strike (I'm sure there are more, but The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is the one that comes to my mind). Oh, and those talk shows that ran late night were screwed up for a while. Too bad comedians don't write more material themselves...
So the American public had to base a lot of entertainment decisions on crap, yet it seems that the new television season is faring well, so not all was lost. Will more be lost in the coming seasons? God, I hope not.