Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 10:27 pm | Fair 48º


Danny Tyree: Does Network TV Deserve To Live?

I am tickled to continue my 43-year tradition of obtaining the Fall Preview TV Guide, but The Associated Press TV critic Frazier Moore seems despondent about the state of the five over-the-air “legacy networks” (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW).

Like a parent tired of making excuses for slacker offspring, Moore insists the broadcast networks have surrendered to cable TV and streaming services, resigning themselves to cranking out safe, predictable, unimaginative “comfort food” programming (and presumably not re-filling the gas tank when they borrow the family car).

Certainly, I enjoy nonbroadcast programs such as The Crown, Annedroids and Outlander; but I think God will forgive me for also liking my well-worn jeans, comfort food at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and dopey dad sitcoms. I’m OK with This Is Us and Life In Pieces being pleasant aberrations rather than The New Normal.

Methinks Moore doth protest too much. Even at its most formulaic, the gore, language and topics on current network TV are (for good or ill) far removed from the days when “story arcs” didn’t exist, Ed Sullivan made the Rolling Stones change “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” and network censors freaked out over scripts that required private eye Jim Rockford to deliver a karate chop.

Effete snobs may feel cheated if network TV isn’t constantly “challenging” them; but most working-class people (unless they’re Gomer Pyle) DON’T watch the time clock in hopes of rushing home and being challenged. (“Halt! Who goes there? Drop and give me 20!”)

Highfalutin’ critics crave more SURPRISES from their TV, but I’m not exactly coveting surprises from MY appliances. (“Honey, our new toaster not only makes great toast, but it also curled my hair. Can you call 9-1-1?”)

Another thing: most working stiffs have a hard time empathizing with cable/streaming producers who are plumb tuckered out from gracing us with six episodes a season.

I understand striving for quality over quantity, but aren’t you glad the producers of consumer goods aren’t as anal-retentive as the new TV paradigm? (“We’re glad you enjoyed your milk and eggs. We should have some more coming to the shelves in, oh, I don’t know, a year and a half.”)

Are the programs you have to PAY for really that groundbreaking? Cable’s fascination with the F-word seems to be a rip-off of Dr. Seuss’ style, circa 1960. (“I can say it on a chair. I can say it in midair. I can say it anywhere.”)

And while critics dismiss spinoffs, reboots and shows based on movies, half of the “envelope-pushing” fare seems to be based on a recently unearthed Sodom and Gomorrah tourism brochure.

I don’t mind that Emmy Awards voters give a NOD to edgy programs, but they behave more like grinning BOBBLEHEADS. (“The 6-year-old zombie uses his heroin smuggling profits to get married to his goat! If only Dickens and Chaucer were alive to enjoy this!”)

At least the incomprehensible, nonlinear storylines on artsy cable/streaming shows bring commoners and celebrities closer together. (“I’m glad people in Hollywood can get DEMENTIA just like the rest of us.”)

I'll continue watching a mixture of network and non-network shows, while liberated “creative” personnel turn somersaults over cable/streaming freedoms. (“It would violate the historical integrity and emotional impact of my miniseries if I COULDN’T show Eleanor Roosevelt doing a nude scene at the United Nations!”)

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.