When television critics deem HBO’s True Detective a masterpiece, one has to wonder if they’ve watched any other television shows in their lifetime. If they have, they’d surely understand that True Detective is inferior pretentious claptrap compared to past works of art like ABC’s Twin Peaks, HBO’s The Wire, and AMC’s Breaking Bad.
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Ken Burns’ The Address isn’t the greatest documentary ever made, but it’s an important one.
The film follows 50 boys from ages 11 to 17 as they struggle to memorize the Gettysburg Address for their peers at Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont. You’ve never heard of the boys, the school, or the small New England town in which they reside, but by the film’s end, you’ll be moved by their courage and perseverance.
The facts speak for themselves: in the ten years that an Emmy has been presented for a competitive reality series, CBS’s The Amazing Race has won eight times. (The only exception was in 2010 when the award went to Top Chef and this past year when it went to The Voice.)
The way I see it, unless the producers of The Amazing Race decide to recuse themselves sometime soon (because their mantle is already full enough), I doubt, despite the two upsets, that any other reality show will be upending The Amazing Race‘s impressive domination of this category anytime in the near future.
Now well over ten years old as a major television genre (I chart as its origin the debut of Survivor on CBS in 2000), the fact that “reality TV” is now concentrating more and more on kids should not come as any great surprise.
We have already had a decade of adults humiliating and demeaning themselves on reality TV for any number of things—for jobs, for love, for “glory”, even for food (Survivor, Big Brother). So, after all that, where else was there to go?
The recent debut of the Esquire Channel’s controversial Friday Night Tykes and Lifetime’s unfortunately enduring Dance Moms series are answering the question above.
As I work for the Library of Congress, the recent government shutdown brought with it several days of imposed “vacation”. Along with a five-pound weight gain, the furlough (as we now like to call it) also allotted me time to reacquaint myself with daytime television.
By and large, it was not a pleasant experience.
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