I swear in the “olden days” before cable tv (which was portrayed in “PSAs” shown in movie theatres as a “monster in your living room”) when there were only 7 broadcast channels to choose from (for me 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13) there were more varied choices than there are today with 200 channels - and I never had any trouble finind something entertaining to watch! I often find myself singing a revision of the Bruce Springsteen song, now “200 Channels and Nothin’ On!”
While the remaining broadcast channels do often come up with some good shows, their schedules continue to be chock-a-block with the steaming piles of excrement called “reality tv”, brain-dead game shows and cloned talent contests, as do the various cable stations.
MTV, VH-1 and E are full of unwatchable soft-core porn reality shows – with absolutely no socially redeeming value and also no entertainment value. E’s only saving grace is THE SOUP.
TLC (The Learning Channel) should be called the “Circus Side-Show Channel”. With the exception of WHAT NOT TO WEAR and reruns of WHILE YOU WERE OUT (two shows which actually are excellent for what they are) this station is all about freaks and geeks – from the “tree-man” to the “man without a face” to the “tattooed lady” (HOLLYWOOD INK).
BRAVO, TNT and A+E run constant reruns of the LAW AND ORDER and CSI franchises – how many times can you watch the same episode?
BBC America does have PRIMEVAL, TORCHWOOD, occasional mystery series like WIRE IN THE BLOOD, GAVIN AND STACEY, and GRAHAM NORTON - but its schedule is mostly made up of reality shows – which are more outlandish than the copied American versions. When I first got Digital Cable BBC America had daily reruns of the old SAINT and AVENGERS series, but they disappeared within a month.
The Hallmark Channel’s series of original mysteries (somewhat reminiscent of the days of McMILLAN AND WIFE, McCLOUD, BANACEK, etc – although certainly not as good) have original entries only very rarely. And, like TNT, BRAVO and A+E with L+O and CSI, how many times can you watch the same Perry Mason movies and Murder She Wrote and Matlock episodes?
The Travel Channel still has an hour of new Samantha Brown (now doing week-end getaways) almost every week, but fills much of its prime-time schedule with a show about a fat guy eating fried bugs and cooked animal testicles in exotic places, someone who makes “No Reservations”, and poker tournaments.
The Disney tween-targeted sitcoms and movies are ok on occasion for killing time – but not as a steady diet.
Oi vey! Thank God for FANCAST and NETFLIX.