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TV action and drama programs today


FloydDBarber
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I have been trying to determine why today's television dramas or action programs leave me cold.

The dialogue is often delivered without emotion, in a monotone voice. The camera work is too busy and there aren't as many long takes. It's as if everyone has an attention span of 30 seconds.

 

in the older programs from the 50's and 60's the programs had continuity and great music. In some instances the music can be overbearing but it also can help to move the story along.

 

What happened to television? Has high tech taken over? It seems to be more high tech and less emotion.

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I have been trying to determine why today's television dramas or action programs leave me cold.

The dialogue is often delivered without emotion, in a monotone voice. The camera work is too busy and there aren't as many long takes. It's as if everyone has an attention span of 30 seconds.

 

in the older programs from the 50's and 60's the programs had continuity and great music. In some instances the music can be overbearing but it also can help to move the story along.

 

What happened to television? Has high tech taken over? It seems to be more high tech and less emotion.

 

 

I think you've answered all your questions.

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I have been trying to determine why today's television dramas or action programs leave me cold.

The dialogue is often delivered without emotion, in a monotone voice. The camera work is too busy and there aren't as many long takes. It's as if everyone has an attention span of 30 seconds.

 

in the older programs from the 50's and 60's the programs had continuity and great music. In some instances the music can be overbearing but it also can help to move the story along.

 

What happened to television? Has high tech taken over? It seems to be more high tech and less emotion.

 

 

Just did a blog post on that--Even before we were binge-watching on Netflix, broadcast TV was training us to be glued to a series by removing the end credits and breaks between shows, and having all the programs come at us in some kind of steady feed.

That led to almost every show following "24"'s lead in becoming season-long arcs:  They realized there was more crack-addiction in an audience hooked on a  "soap opera" than on one self-contained episode of Bones or Law & Order.  That also meant that nothing of plot consequence actually HAPPENED in an episode, all it did was spend the first half hour wrapping up the soap-opera tease from the last one, and the other half setting up the soap-opera tease for the next one.

Until the "Shocking season finale!", of course, which was obviously no finale (not as long as they wanted the audience in that fever pitch to renew the show for another season), and teased us for six months by doing something so outrageously cliffhanger-goofy we'd talk about it on social media till next fall--Like turning the good character into the bad one, or killing off a few extraneous cast members.

As we've been hearing from a few network execs lately...the novelty's worn off.  Most are ready to go back to, quote, "more closed-ended episode formats".

 

As for how TV lost every existing trace of its sense of humor, though, that's really a product of the Emmy-awards "arms race" between broadcast drama and AMC/HBO/FX drama, to see who can push the envelope farther with shocking premises and "cinematic" camera/editing/acting style.  

And no one wants to sully the Emmy-fodder dignity of either by ever cracking a smile.  That wouldn't be taking it seriously enough, you see.

 

(I'd get into the whole topic of just when and how cable and network TV literally started thinking it was "the movies", because of their inferiority complex competing with the ready availability of actual movies on cable and disk, but I was already saving that for next week.)

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I have been trying to determine why today's television dramas or action programs leave me cold.

The dialogue is often delivered without emotion, in a monotone voice. The camera work is too busy and there aren't as many long takes. It's as if everyone has an attention span of 30 seconds.

 

in the older programs from the 50's and 60's the programs had continuity and great music. In some instances the music can be overbearing but it also can help to move the story along.

 

What happened to television? Has high tech taken over? It seems to be more high tech and less emotion.

 

Hell, except for the still continuing LAW & ORDER SVU, which still follows the L&O formula, police dramas seem to have become more about WAY over the top villians, complicated cops and "fashion statements" than any real drama and compelling story lines.  And they also seem to be more of a showcase about the WEAPONS than the solving of crime,  Any "drama" that doesn't involve some "cops and crime" format usually beat long dead horses of stories involving adultery or otherwise strained marriages and relationships.  Or political figures that seem to spend more time trying to stay OUT of trouble than doing their jobs.  THAT concept may ring true for some, but not to the degree the shows portray and to the extent in the steps they take to avoid such trouble.  

 

And +1,000 on the high tech issue!

 

 

Sepiatone

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I have been trying to determine why today's television dramas or action programs leave me cold.

The dialogue is often delivered without emotion, in a monotone voice. The camera work is too busy and there aren't as many long takes. It's as if everyone has an attention span of 30 seconds.

 

in the older programs from the 50's and 60's the programs had continuity and great music. In some instances the music can be overbearing but it also can help to move the story along.

 

What happened to television? Has high tech taken over? It seems to be more high tech and less emotion.

 

I believe that attention span is more like 5-8 seconds - just enough time for your eyes and brain to focus on the new scene and then switch!

 

I often imagine myself behind the camera"person" with a long bamboo pole held up to the back of their head. Every 5 seconds, when the camera shakes or moves, I pop the back of their head with it as I repeat "stop.. stop.. stop.. stop.."

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When we were about to debut the new Hawaii Five-O, I decided to go back and revisit the original series.  In a first season episode, there was a serial killer (though I don't think they used that term) at large.  At one point, Milton Selzer played a schlub of a man who confesses to the crimes.  He is brought to McGarret's office and there ensues an 8 minute scene during which it is revealed he is not the killer, just a pitiful nobody looking for someone to notice him.  McGarret even got teary-eyed at one point.  It was an amazing scene.  And it did nothing to further the resolution of the crime.  But it was very strong DRAMA.  And, of course, it lasted 8 minutes.  Can you imagine a single scene lasting 8 minutes today?

 

Nevertheless, I think there is actually quite a bit of fine, mature drama on television today.

 

 

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I watch very few series on TV or movies for that matter. Will watch old series or movies.

Too many long commercials.  Actors can no longer speak distinctively, but dialogue requires them to ramble on pointlessly.  Too much action and special effects just to have action and special effects.

While scenes do jump around a lot, some scenes stretch on forever with actors giving speeches longer than a politicians - and with no point.

Also have sequences that go on and on and on.  Car chases, foot chases, and other scenarios that are supposed to build tension or suspense, but leave me wanting relief - or changing the channel.

Been ruined by TCM and the old Hollywood.  They could do a very good Western or Film Noir or Mystery or even comedy in 60-75 minutes.   Could also do other very good comedy and drama movies in 120 minutes or less.

Now, I look and if the movies is over 120 minutes, I probably won't watch it.  Or watch it On Demand so I can fast forward through the long, boring scenes.  Sometimes I will record them with the same purpose.

Example:  watched The Equalizer (Denzell Washington) On Demand last night.  Would have quit after 15 minutes if hadn't been able to fast forward.

Same problems with TV series now.

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My favorite part of this thread is that some people are saying TV today is made for hyper-active people with ADD and no attention spans, so it's all quick-cut, fast fast fast.

 

And there's other people who say shows nowadays are too slow and boring, and must be watched with the fast forward button handy.  :lol:

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My mother is 86 and she watches commercial television every day.

The program I am trying to think of is an action series with George Clooney, its a perfect example of what I am referring to.

The actors speak in a blunt, monotone style and rarely change their facial expressions.

Not sure if this is the series, but there was one that mom liked where these brainy people would try to solve crimes via a computer.

Each character appeared to have a different field of expertise.

And these were the top rated shows and I don't even know the name(s) of the series.

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My mother is 86 and she watches commercial television every day.

The program I am trying to think of is an action series with George Clooney, its a perfect example of what I am referring to.

The actors speak in a blunt, monotone style and rarely change their facial expressions.

Not sure if this is the series, but there was one that mom liked where these brainy people would try to solve crimes via a computer.

Each character appeared to have a different field of expertise.

And these were the top rated shows and I don't even know the name(s) of the series.

 

A current TV series with Clooney?   The last T.V. series he was in before becoming a movie star was E.R. and he left that show in 1999.

 

The comment "Each character appeared to have a different field of expertise' sounds like the movies series, Ocean 11 and the follow up Ocean 12.    Ocean 11 is of course a remake of the Rat Pack 60s film.

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George Clooney hasn't been in a TV show for about 20 years.

 

Those ensemble procedurals you are describing have been ubiquitous for the past 15 years or so: CSI and the assorted spin-offs, ​NCIS, Criminal Minds, Scorpion, etc, etc ,etc.

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I don't know that it's all terrible, but most of it is. For sure.

 

It's even worse when you're in the industry, trying to make something different. It's near-impossible. Studios/Networks don't have faith in the intelligence of their audience. Especially now that so many have phones. Which is why you see the ADD-like editing, stunt casting, needless 'cliffhangers', and the worst of all -- constant re-explanation (which takes up most of the running time of these kinds of shows).

 

That being said, I'm in my twenties, so I wasn't raised on classic film or TV and have no idea how good things really were back then. I just discovered it in high school and enjoyed it hugely. So I'm not in any way biased for either side (I don't watch TV much, honestly, I do think it's pretty awful), I just think there's SOME good in the modern Film/TV Industry that's being ignored by Studios and Networks in favor of shock value and weak, 'modern' rehashes of old stories.

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Not only that, try to find a show that doesn't revolve around mangled corpses or without graphic violence and close ups on dead bodies. it's either the morgue soap operas, the courtroom drama or the hospitalfest.

 

I have felt sorry for kids since ER started and TV went down the tubes along with it. I mean who wants to watch TV shows about such depressing sets & topics? Then you have silly sci-fi for teens with cinematography so dark you can't make out anybody's faces during 60%+ of the show. (Arrow)

 

there might be a couple that escape the above, however I find the actors boring, uncharismatic and the characters they portray dull or not compelling enough for me to come back once I flip the channel. overall, very poor production values.

 

My wife thought it was gonna be great when BONES came around.  A long time fan of ANGEL and DAVID BOREANAZ, she had high hopes for it.

 

She shortly gave up on it due to that "gross factor".  That, and the EMILY DESCHANEL character's stupidly taking innocuous figures of speech too literal.

 

There HAVE been some good(at least to US) dramas on TV in the last 10 years or so, and they're gone now, and some not even in reruns.  But it does seem that many formulas have plateaued(sic), but too many writers have still taken them too far past the limit to be acceptable to many long time tube gazers.  I mean, how many zombies CAN there be?  And there HAS to be SOME limit to paranormal activity!

 

 

Sepiatone

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When we were about to debut the new Hawaii Five-O, I decided to go back and revisit the original series.  In a first season episode, there was a serial killer (though I don't think they used that term) at large.  At one point, Milton Selzer played a schlub of a man who confesses to the crimes.  He is brought to McGarret's office and there ensues an 8 minute scene during which it is revealed he is not the killer, just a pitiful nobody looking for someone to notice him.  McGarret even got teary-eyed at one point.  It was an amazing scene.  And it did nothing to further the resolution of the crime.  But it was very strong DRAMA.  

 

"Hawaii Five-O" is a blur of episodes to me, but I definitely remember that one scene!   Very emotional, with terrific acting.

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There is nothing on current TV for me either...so I watch ME-TV and laugh at the 70-90's clothes and hair styles (then go...wait that was me too!!) or I watch GET-TV for really old Westerns on Saturday and Law and Order when it's on. For awhile ME-TV had Hawaii 5-0 on and I loved it...McGarrett was so cool.  So I don't kvetch too much as I have plenty of opportunities to retreat to the 1950's thru the late 80's and don't have to go any further.  Then I also binge TCM as well. 

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A current TV series with Clooney?   The last T.V. series he was in before becoming a movie star was E.R. and he left that show in 1999.

 

The comment "Each character appeared to have a different field of expertise' sounds like the movies series, Ocean 11 and the follow up Ocean 12.    Ocean 11 is of course a remake of the Rat Pack 60s film.

I think it proves that television has been like this for at least 15 years. I never watch commercial television and was only writing this thread based on what my mother was watching. Could have been reruns for all I know.

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I don't watch anything new that involved court, police or prison. So that knocks out 80% of current programming. I don't care for fake "reality" shows nor sit coms using the same old gags that Jackie Gleason and Lucy used eons ago. Nor do I care for singing contests that basically result in screaming sessions.

 

So as you can see, my viewing of anything new is quite limited :lol: .  

 

The TCM has the nerve to show real drama, acting, timing , shadow and light etc... I guess I'm spoiled now. Now, these new channels showing the old programs show how its done ! Peter Gunn had some really great music. You can watch a program and hear an actor actually finish a sentence without being cut off or people talking over each other.

 

 

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I feel like an idiot (please don't answer that). Hope you accept my apology, the show is NCIS and the actor is Mark Harmon. To me he is just like George Clooney since I rarely watch commercial television. They seem to be similar "types." So everything I said in my original post would reflect NCIS, Mark Harmon and the other actors in the series that show little or no emotion.

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I don't watch anything new that involved court, police or prison. So that knocks out 80% of current programming. I don't care for fake "reality" shows nor sit coms using the same old gags that Jackie Gleason and Lucy used eons ago. Nor do I care for singing contests that basically result in screaming sessions.

 

So as you can see, my viewing of anything new is quite limited :lol: .  

 

The TCM has the nerve to show real drama, acting, timing , shadow and light etc... I guess I'm spoiled now. Now, these new channels showing the old programs show how its done ! Peter Gunn had some really great music. You can watch a program and hear an actor actually finish a sentence without being cut off or people talking over each other.

today's cr ap is only for millennials and bleep everybody else.

 

that's their attitude and they're liberals of course.

 

today's millennials will never know the thrill of seeing the submarine seaview broach the surface because that level of imagination is now extinct in hollywood. helluva shame too.

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I don't watch anything new that involved court, police or prison. So that knocks out 80% of current programming. I don't care for fake "reality" shows nor sit coms using the same old gags that Jackie Gleason and Lucy used eons ago. Nor do I care for singing contests that basically result in screaming sessions.

 

So as you can see, my viewing of anything new is quite limited :lol: .  

 

The TCM has the nerve to show real drama, acting, timing , shadow and light etc... I guess I'm spoiled now. Now, these new channels showing the old programs show how its done ! Peter Gunn had some really great music. You can watch a program and hear an actor actually finish a sentence without being cut off or people talking over each other.

 

Decades had a Peter Gunn marathon and yea,  that was the best music I have ever heard on a T.V. shown (from any era).

 

Just a fantastic jazz score as well as many small combo jazz performances.   But it did make me wish I was sitting in one of those nightclubs back in the early 60s.     (or maybe even playing in the band!).

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Decades had a Peter Gunn marathon and yea,  that was the best music I have ever heard on a T.V. shown (from any era).

 

Just a fantastic jazz score as well as many small combo jazz performances.   But it did make me wish I was sitting in one of those nightclubs back in the early 60s.     (or maybe even playing in the band!).

 

Isn't that what T.V. is supposed to be ? Or used to be ? Most those old shows , I watch them for the cool nightclubs, cool clothes, atmosphere etc... You're supposed to want to be where they are , living that cool carefree life. Or a cowboy on the range. Or a pirate at sea etc... Or even some cool new technology.

 

I have never fantasized being in court, prison or getting arrested. No reason to spend an hour of my life watching that. :mellow: Nor cooped up in some house with D celebrities. How many times do have to watch the white house blow up on cgi ?

 

Peter Gunn, Untouchables marathons I try not to miss. They almost seem like the t.v. version of Noir which I certainly don't mind.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think it was Decades showing a Man From Uncle Marathon last night. I was glued to my television set for over 4 hours. And compared to MeTV, Decades shows fewer commercials, having mostly 2 minute commercial breaks. And for the most part, the network would take a station break based on the breaks in the program. I hope Decades can stay this good and not resort to those 5 and 6 minute breaks like AMC and TV Land. The local channel also inserts commercials which affects the continuity of the program.

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I think it was Decades showing a Man From Uncle Marathon last night. I was glued to my television set for over 4 hours. And compared to MeTV, Decades shows fewer commercials, having mostly 2 minute commercial breaks. And for the most part, the network would take a station break based on the breaks in the program. I hope Decades can stay this good and not resort to those 5 and 6 minute breaks like AMC and TV Land. The local channel also inserts commercials which affects the continuity of the program.

 

Yea,  I also watched a lot of the Man From Uncle marathon (in between NFL football).    Decades is a nice new network to have so I hope it stays true to it's current format.   

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I wish I got this Decades channel.  It looks like it is only on cable or over the antenna.  I have satellite and it doesn't appear that it's available in the Portland, OR area :( I don't get ME-TV either.  I guess it's the disadvantage of having satellite.

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