overthinking the idiot box

October 17, 2005

Letter from the editor
Trends and Change

This is the twelth Episode of SMRT-TV we've put out so far, and there are certainly some trends appearing. The trend of me making fewer coding mistakes, for example: it turns out that if you write HTML without both eyes slipping shut for want of sleep, you're less prone to making errors. And content-wise, we're also developing some patterns. For one thing, the odds are pretty good that a writer will bring up Firefly or Battlestar Galactica in the course of making a point. That's the nature of being episodic, though. Do anything often enough, and trends appear.

Trends can be good things, safe and familiar — but they can also drive you crazy. Which is why we devote some time this Episode to discussing the Trends that Tire; because no matter what they say, sometimes a catchphrase needs to die, and sometimes a joke stops being funny. Not that we're naming names or anything, David E. Kelley.

Perhaps those trends are why Katherine Ross finds a ten-year-old series to be socially relevant today — she makes a good argument for how Star Trek Deep Space Nine speaks to today's political and cultural climate damn well, better than it did during the nineties. Religious disputes and warfare are trends that never seem to go away — though if the trend of socially responsible science fiction continues, maybe we might live to see a dent.

They used to think that reality TV was a trend that would fade away, but now it's a bonafide genre with two Emmy categories, and more and more Americans are curious about how they can grab their contractually obligated fifteen minutes of fame. Thus, it's a good thing that Matthew Robinson sat down and wrote How to Get on Reality Television. But how do you write a book on how to get on reality TV? Mike Olson has the scoop on that.

You want more trends? How about some regular columns? Jenni Powell begins a new column on shows focusing on historical subjects: Doomed to Rerun It will tackle all things not set in the present. To kick things off, she lists her top five westerns. Two of which aired in our lifetimes! Alison Veneto also has a countdown, ranking her sci-fi favorites of the new fall season. Alan Bloom went to Vegas, and while he didn't win any money, he did discover the best way to watch college football. Joel Bergen is freaked out at first by the POV change on Laguna Beach, but soon learns to love the bomb bitch. And Whitney Cox has heard us mention Battlestar Galactica once or twice, but points out what we've overlooked: Starbuck/Apollo is the gayest straight couple around.

Agree? Disagree? Come by the forums and tell us all about it. Debating about TV is a trend that never gets old.

-Liz Shannon Milller

Return to Season 2, Episode 3.