Friday, May 25, 2007

One Good TV Channel

To messy for We Like Media, so it gets to go here...

It has been determined by GLORY!blog scientists that there is only one good television channel left on the air. First, why every other one isn't good, then the winner.

First of all, all the networks suck: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. Just a bunch of commercials, dumb game shows/reality shows, soaps, stupid talk shows, etc. Even the good stuff is ruined with commercials (8-10 minutes per 30 minute block), promotional "bugs" in the bottom right corner of the screen, etc. etc. (For the good stuff, just wait for DVD and watch shows the right way.) The above is actually true of most channels, but I'll talk about why others are specifically bad.

The boring or unwatchable channels: PBS, all the CSPANs, QVC, Jewelry TV, the Weather Channel, HGTV...

Remember Saturday morning cartoons? Children under 12 had their own special time from about 7:00 am till noon, five hours of childhood bliss for one day a week. This time has been squashed and now the TV is glutted (and the children are gluttons, in more ways than one) because of the Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Noggin...

Special note on the Cartoon Network. It's a pile of turds during the day. Adult Swim at night is kind of nice with their presentation and shows (even if I don't personally like most of them), but the commercial thing still gets in the way.

Special note on the Disney Channel. This used to be a great channel, maybe the best channel, when it first began in the 80s. It showed all things Disney: animated movies, live-action movies, old Mickey Mouse Club shows, new Mickey Mouse Club shows (featuring Britney, Christina, Justin, Chase, etc.), "Vault Disney" stuff that no one has seen in decades, etc. Now it's just hour after hour of Hannah Montana and Raven Simone (and worse). They don't have traditional commercials, but instead they fill up that 8-10 minute space with promotions for... Hannah Montana and Raven Simone (and the newest computer animated Disney movie).

Special note on Nickelodeon (and TV Land). Not bad networks in presentation and content (though not perfect there either), but still messy with commercials and crap.

The Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel used to kind of live up to their names, but now they just show plastic surgery shows, wedding shows, and house makeover shows.

Animal Planet just shows beaten-up homeless dogs with flies in their eyes.

The Travel Channel cranks out the occasional good show on roller coasters and water parks, but it's mostly crap.

The History Channel and The National Geographic Channel crank out the occasional good show on something or other, but they takes four hours to watch an hour and a half special due to commercials (and bumpers that repeat what you've seen and show you what you're going to see so that you watch the show about four times).

All the news channels (CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC) suck. 24 hours of news is a bad idea anyway; however, we actually do have 24 hours of news worth reporting: it just doesn't get done well. I learn more watching one hour of Bill Maher's comedy show than I do watching a week straight of any of these channels. These channels would require a separate post.

I don't even know where to begin with CourtTV.

American Movie Classics, first of all, don't show "classics." They used to. This week alone they're showing Independence Day, Lake Placid, Warlock, Poltergeist III, Hidalgo, and Halloween 5. Even when they do show classic or otherwise good movies, they're all chopped up, censored with bleeps, panned-and-scanned, with bad quality prints and with commercials, bugs, and the usual crap.

TBS and TNT just seems to show edited versions of Sex in the City and crappy movies like Any Which Way But Loose or Road House.

USA and FX are worse. Jag.

Spike TV is like watching hairy balls.

A&E used to be kinda classy, but then some queer eyes got a hold of this straight guy and now it's just as crappy as everything else. Or was that Bravo? At any rate, they suffered the same fate of crappification.

Bravo's decline is best demonstrated by watching Inside the Actor's Studio begin as a kinda interesting show about our best actors turn into a suck-up show for some of our worst actors.

ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel are great... if you're a family of pussies.

Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network will allow you to watch an hour and a half movie in about five hours. And the movie will be about Kirsten Dunst getting pregnant at age fifteen.

The Sci-Fi channel should be embarassing even for nerds to watch.

The CW hasn't had anything worth watching since Angel and Buffy left town, and those are (again) better on DVD.

E! is perhaps the crappiest channel on TV. They have The Soup, but everything else is the worst stuff you'd ever want to see ever. The screen looks like someone took a dump on it and smeared it with their vomit then stuck up pictures of Paris Hilton.

EWTN and the INSP channel should be embarrassing even for godaphiles.

All sports channels (and there are many) suck.

MTV: maybe worse than E! actually. What used to be an okay music channel with the ocassional non-music (but music-based) TV show (and they had some good ones: Tom Green, Beavis, Oddville, etc.) is now just a bunch of dirty-looking teenagers sitting on couches whining to each other. I have no idea what VH-1 does anymore.

CMT and Great American Country at least play music videos, but they tend to suck.

Comedy Central is one of the few channels I watch and it has some of the best stuff (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, South Park), but it's also glutted with crappy edited versions of Office Space and junk shows like Halfway House or Drawn Together. With the usual tons of commercials and bugs. Also, it's loud.

The Food Network is just the Rachel Ray channel. Over the past twenty years, food has slowly become sex for America. If we can have this channel, please give us a porn channel.

Oxygen is just re-runs of lady shows from the networks. You get to see Tyra Banks say how fat she is and Ellen wear tennis shoes with slacks.

G4 is often interesting for four minutes at a time, but mostly crap.

MTV2 was the answer to the problem of MTV having no music videos. Then they too got rid of the videos and turned into a worse version of MTV.

The "premium" channels suck. HBO has the Sopranos and Bill Maher and stuff, but the rest of the time you get to see Popeye and Time Bandits one more time. Same thing for Showtime, Cinemax (though they nicely offer soft-core), Encore, the and the Movie Channel, and Starz. When they do play a movie worth seeing, they don't have commercials, but it's pan-and-scan.

Even the Sundance Channel and the Independent Film Channel have nothing much worth seeing anymore.

The is one other pretty good channel besides the winner, and that's MTV Hits. It plays current top 40 (or so) videos with no commercials and no shows, just video after video. I like it a lot. But I don't get it anymore since it's on digital. Also, you can only watch so much.

So, the winner?


The stick to their thing (actual classic movies, usually interesting ones) and show nothing but and present them well. Every movie is presented in its original format, shown in good quality, and looks really pretty on the screen, as if you rented the DVD (assuming you didn't buy the crappy "full screen" version). No commercials. Between movies, what's his name comes on and tells you a little about what you saw and about what you're going to see.

Here's a random sample lineup: a few blocks from tomorrow's schedule...

The Old Dark House is a great James Whale (director of Bride of Frankenstein) horror/comedy. Cartoon Alley shows old, often-forgotten cinema cartoons that you don't much get to see. A Face in the Crowd shows a different side of Andy Griffith. And I don't even have to explain For the Love of Rusty.

The only problem I have with TCM is that I don't have a TiVo. If I did, I'd use it for this channel every day and never be without a good movie to watch.

Every time I see TCM, any second of it, on television, I feel proud of it. I wanted to post this in praise of it before it decides to catch up with the 00s and start showing "classic" reruns of The Real World.