BRANDON FOUNTAIN: The assassination of network television

It wasn’t long ago that network television actually had a variety of programs to entertain you.

Growing up, there were options; sitcoms were plentiful with “Night Court,” “Roseanne” and the lineup of TGIF; crime dramas featured “Law and Order,” “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Rescue 911;” “Quantum Leap” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” rounded out the fantasy portion.

The closest shows to “reality” were “COPS,” “Star Search” and game shows like “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

Today, the NetFlix and other streaming options, cable and satellite, network TV has become a cesspool of trash.

The sitcoms on today’s network TV are nothing but regurgitated plots from year’s past. Sure, there are different faces, but the censors allow much more than ever before. I have a difficult time trying to figure out why everything has to be a sexual innuendo, rather than wholesome entertainment.

Reality TV is more about production value and editing than actual reality. I suppose it’s been that way for a while. However, it gets old real quick when you see the same folks appearing on the shows over and over.

Crime and medical dramas pollute viewers with improbable characters, love triangles and scenarios. I bet the legal world is sick and tired of jurors demanding DNA results from everything like they see on “CSI” and other shows. It’s nauseating that “NCIS” needs three different shows.

However, those highly paid network executives have stooped to even lower depths this new season.

CBS execs are rebooting “MacGyver” to a generation who grew up in front of the “boob tube.” Like we wouldn’t notice. The original character could disarm a bomb with a rubber band, a stick of chewing gum and saliva. It’s a cruel joke, as Richard Dean Anderson will always be MacGyver. Always.

The executives over at Fox are no better. Despite the network being known for it’s many never-ending list of flopping failures, they are betting on a “Lethal Weapon” series. Yet, another petty attempt to grab the attention of the generation who cheered on Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.

What these executives will never understand is shows like “MacGyver” and films like “Lethal Weapon” were popular because they had their time and place. I’m sure it’s not easy being a highly-paid TV executive, but they’re demonstrating that a 5-year-old cat could do better.

Just a couple of seasons ago, CBS heralded the return of its version of “The Odd Couple” with Thomas Lennon and Matthew Perry. However, it met its fate rather quickly. Yet, a season later when one of CBS’ new bright ideas turned into dumpster fire, the network brought the show back. The network promoted it like it was some in-demand show and had planned it that way all along.

Why not remake “The Honeymooners” or “I Love Lucy,” I’m sure Nikki Minaj is still doing nothing to retain her popularity. Maybe Tony Danza can make a new “Who’s the Boss?” show. Maybe we can have a new generation “Cheers,” where the yuppies and alcoholics get their fix, while the younger generation spends all night looking at their phones and wondering what’s the purpose of a jukebox.

One could put in a movie, but there is the stone cold truth: there is not a drop of originality left in Hollywood.

Studio executives dump hundreds of millions into movies where the computer-generated imagery is actually a better character than the overpaid actors. For each comic book doozy, there’s some washed-down improbable love story. They know folks will go watch the pieced together, family-friendly flick with one thing in mind: merchandising.

There are movie studios so caught up in the past they greenlight remakes. Peter Weller is “Robocop,” not some guy in a green unitard. Is there really that much demand for remakes of “The Magnificent Seven,” “King Kong,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Straw Dogs,” “True Grit,” “The Blair Witch Project,” “Point Break,” “Ben-Hur” or “Total Recall”?

Well, I guess remakes are better than the alternative: a sequel.

Nothing says fresh, new ideas like the six installments of the “Leprechaun” film series.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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