...season finale blew my fricking mind, man. What a great setup for this season and payoff. The shit hits the fan every single episode, but this last one was really the point of no return. Badass. I watched the last two episodes last night and was blown away. I can't wait for the new season in December and I have no idea how they're going to resolve it, but I know it's not going to be pretty.
Now, I've just gotta catch up on the new Sopranos episodes and I've gotta BitTorrent the new Doctor Who because our homemade Tivo didn't work on Friday night, and then, I'm mostly caught up (besides Carnivale and Deadwood's second seasons, but that's okay, I'll get there.) It's an awesome as well as awful time for the medium. Sure, most TV is still crap and there's more of it than ever (The Inferno, anyone? Deal or No Deal?), but the good stuff is the best it's ever been.
And that got me to thinking, there's more programming than ever, people are creating constantly, and that's a good and bad thing. SXSW had over 1400 bands playing that week. That's a lot of wallet chains and dyed hair in one place. There's so much music and programming out there now because everyone can do it. But now with so many distribution channels for media- it's really easy to get lost in the shuffle. Some people think we need gatekeepers to let people know what to like, or else the masses will always like crap. That view isn't completely without merit.
But there's always going to be a market for intelligent music and programming out there, chances are it's just not going to be mainstream. The biggest market for music is tweens and teenagers because #1- they're the most excited about new music and #2- parents will buy stuff for their kids before they'll buy stuff for themselves. The problem comes when the gatekeepers are thinking with their pocketbooks instead with any eye for quality (or something which will sell and has artistic value- which is possible) and we end up with Ashlee Simpson. Okay, that's the way it's going to be, because these gigantic music conglomerates are completely interested in the immediate bottom line. Sure, it's cool to hate on Clear Channel (they turned the alternative station in Madison into a country channel. Fuckin' weak. WORT and WSUM have great rock shows, and that's cool, but you can't get those everywhere here.) They're only feeding us what they think we want to buy, and they do plenty of research to make sure their stations are successful. The only way to get more of what we want is to support it with our wallets.
The Shield is a show about violent and corrupt cops, who are the kind of people that good guys in other shows try to bring down. The stories almost always have adult themes and nearly every character makes the wrong decision at some point and does things that would make them villians in another kind of program. It plays on F/X and not network television, so it garners maybe a fifth of the audience that CSI does (even though that show gets mad Mukwonago props from me!) But it's still F/X's most popular show even though that it hasn't made a superstar or pop culture phenomenon out of any of the actors. Point being, there's a market for non-bubblegum out there, we just need to keep giving media companies a reason to get behind it. If we demand quality and don't settle for bullshit (is there even that many reasons to go to a mainstream movie theater, lately?) then they'll give us what we want.
Remember, The Godfather was mainstream. Fuck, even Rush had a Top 40 hit.
It doesn't have to be all crap if we don't want it to be.