What we watch on television (and also movies, video games,etc.) has been on my mind recently. I think everyone's heard of the controversy surrounding NBC's "Book of Daniel" and it's cancellation. No, I didn't watch it - NUMB3RS on CBS which aired opposite it is one of my very favorite current shows and I just couldn't miss THAT!
But it did lead me to think about what I watch, and about what is on television these days. The other week I had on "Law and Order - Criminal Intent" - the episode with guest star Michael York. This episode had a graphic scene where Michael York's character dispassionately had one of his proteges (who seems to finally revel in it) murder someone. Then, in a recent episode of "CSI: Miami" the story centered around a serial killer who of course, did his deeds with relish. The show also had some pretty bloody scenes.
Those scenes really got me upset. I didn't really change channels as there was nothing much better on at the time (yes, I know, I really should get cable), but those shows really left me with a bad feeling. Of course whodunits have been around forever - but the kind of violence now seems different. The villains are too dispassionate, too many characters are really amoral, few ever show any type of real remorse. I really have to believe that constant exposure to this type of entertainment has to affect people. (The American Psychological Association is concerned about the effect of violent images and lyrics on youth, and has called for a reduction of violence in video games.)
I wonder why we take shows like those I've mentioned above in stride - but things like "Book of Daniel" seem to get right-wing groups upset. I wonder why they aren't protesting shows that are excessively violent and graphic. I wonder why writers don't come up with something better; I know they can! I wonder why we don't demand better programming.
Maybe we should all think more deeply about what's playing - and demand and look for better choices.