I’ve been thinking about entertainment trends recently. Not long ago, I referred to Rosie O’Donnell’s statement on The View that disgraced actor Stephen Collins was this generation’s Michael Landon. That made me think about whether this generation even has a Michael Landon: someone who makes and acts in wholesome family programming, which likely has a religious or moral message. Then I was asking myself where wholesome family programming is, these days. It seems to me that, often, you find it on Christian or family-oriented channels, and they play old shows, like Little House, Highway to Heaven, Christie, Touched by an Angel, Dr. Quinn, or (until recently) 7th Heaven. In some cases, these channels have original shows or movies, but the wholesome family programming appears to me to be on these channels, not on the main networks.
What exactly are the television trends these days? Well, we have forensic cop shows. Cop shows have long been around, as far back as I can remember, and even before then (I think of Dragnet). Nowadays, there are shows that have a greater forensic focus. There are raunchy cartoons. Of course, Family Guy has been around for a while, and the Simpsons has been around even longer. But now there are additional cartoons, like Bob’s Burgers and American Dad.
If there is anything that sets nowadays apart, it seems to me, it would be the proliferation of superhero shows. Of course, Smallville was on throughout the 2000’s, but now we have so many more: Gotham, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the list goes on. Add to that supernatural-like shows, such as Sleepy Hollow (I’m only guessing it’s supernatural, since I never watched it) and Under the Dome.
I wonder what exactly it is about our times that is making these shows popular. Is it escapism? A desire for a hero, amidst the chaos of life? Something else?