Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
1 December 2007
Filed under:Arts Reviews,Humour & Entertainment at4:21 pm

John Patterson in a reviews Southland Tales – the latest in a series of ambitious, clever movies which he compares to Heroes and Lost. He hits the nail on the head when he points out:

It seems that the process of making a movie or TV show ever more fiendishly clever and logic-proof eventually falls subject to the law of diminishing returns. The cleverer they get, the more likely it is that things will eventually turn really stupid. Are they really exercising our minds or just dumbing things up?

This is what I have found frustrating with some of my favourite series – Lost and Heroes among them. It’s fairly easy to hook the viewer by offering what appears at first to be a sophisticated, interlocking plot only to end up revealing that the writers really don’t have any idea where it is all going (and perhaps never did). He goes on:

this is the way many pop narratives seem to be going today. Everything goes in, no matter the impact on coherence or credibility. The ideal viewer is a kid with a laptop, an iPod, a full complement of cable/satellite TV options, a NetFlix subscription, a TiVo hard drive packed with recorded shows, a taste for online gaming within ridiculously detailed game-universes and open-ended game narratives, a demon for channel-surfing and an encyclopedic knowledge of pop-culture.

Now that both academics and marketers love the once-neglected fans, is television (or at least the kind of US drama I tend to watch) going to get clevered to death?

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