Aaron Barnhart (t-t-tasteland) Tue 6 Apr 10 21:14
Jon, I think that answers most of your question, but for the personal part: If I get a screener, or I'm backwatching, I'll use my computer, the same one I'm typing on (MacBook > Dell flat screen). Otherwise, I use the wonderfully boxy, seventh-generation rear-projection 55-incher in the TV room with the DVR and the VCR and the DVD and ... a couple other boxes I forget what they do stacked on top. I bought that thing in 2001 and it was a floor model, $1800. They said the bulb would probably burn out sooner because it had been a floor model. Still hasn't burned out. Neither have I.
Aaron Barnhart (t-t-tasteland) Tue 6 Apr 10 21:15
(I say seventh-gen, but I'm just referring to its rear-projectionism. The set is HD.)
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 6 Apr 10 21:41
I wanted to ask about the rise of reality TV. How have reality shows changed us?
Slowly I Turn (tcn) Tue 6 Apr 10 22:16
Thanks for that <25> Aaron...I'm surprised. I haven't had a TV for many years and would have thought others were moving away from it. Apparently not. So everything will be more interwoven with all the new devices and delivery systems. Like your "there's an 'att' for that, sort of like the iPhone's "there's and app for that". Watching Cinderella on VCR at my 4 year old grandaughter's house today and she was playing with my iPhone and texting at the same time. Amazing!
David Wilson (dlwilson) Wed 7 Apr 10 08:17
If the technology is changing so much how do you see the advertising adapting? The way you describe it TV will still be a broadcasting media. If you still have little kids, but they drop out or migrate to something else for a while, what will happen to developing audiences?
David Wilson (dlwilson) Fri 9 Apr 10 11:21
I hope we didn't piss you off Aaron, or that you don't have the time to keep this conversation going.
Aaron Barnhart (t-t-tasteland) Sat 10 Apr 10 04:02
Greetings from New Orleans, where the carefree nature of life apparently extends to visitors with online commitments. Gail, it is obvious that reality TV has changed almost every aspect of televised storytelling. The inexpensive, handheld technology that makes $5,000 MTV pilots possible have allowed cable networks to ramp up their original programming enormously. The "realism" or perceived realism of reality TV has impacted everything from newsmagazines to soaps to one-hour dramas. The youngest adult audience is the one most likely to watch reality TV, so even scripted shows must begin to take on a more "realistic" look and feel or be left behind. Perhaps no genre has been more impacted by reality TV than the half-hour comedy, which has been taken over by improvised and semi-scripted models (exception: CBS). Reality TV has broken down the wall between Hollywood and the rest of America. Not only do tens of thousands of Americans try out every year for the shows, but the shows are increasingly being produced where the producers live, not in L.A. We even have a successful producer in suburban KC who just got her third series greenlit this week. But I think the biggest impact of reality TV on American culture is that most Americans have a hard time telling it from documentary. There is a whole spectrum of nonfiction storytelling, from the extreme manipulation of shows like MY LIFE AS LIZ, a fiction spun out of reality video, to something like GREENSBURG, which tells a mostly true story about a town rebuilding but takes great liberty with the fact, to a docu with a strong POV like CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY to a more straightforward docu like one we watched last night about the Vietnamese community post-Katrina in New Orleans. Most Americans can't distinguish between these types, and that makes Americans more vulnerable than ever to video manipulation, especially the younger viewers who fancy themselves jaded but are, in fact, the most accepting and voracious consumers of reality TV. Whether it's rallying support for a war, or using reality-type commercials (as Obama does) to push your programs, there is a merging of TV and real life such as we've never seen before, and I suspect the person who most masterfully fuses them together to terrifying effect is not even out of diapers yet.
Aaron Barnhart (t-t-tasteland) Sat 10 Apr 10 04:03
<dlwilson>, as I said above, advertising has had time to adapt to DVRs, which was its most active threat. As for these other media, they can control exactly when and how their announcements appear. Short term, revenues will take a hit, but long term the industry will figure out how to bring back the ATM (if it ever went away).
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Mon 12 Apr 10 11:46
At the back of Aaron's book, was a list of 100 best TV shows of the last 15 years. I was surprised at how many I had not seen. But I guage how much I love shows by how much I want to own the DVDs when they come out. I own: West Wing, the first two seasons Sex and the City, the whole series Picket Fences, several seasons Northern Exposure various seasons I spent many hours of chemo transfusions watching the West Wing. It was great for taking my mind off of the present. When Northern Exposure was on cable I loved most every episode before Rob Morrow left and used to get the episodes, in order, from Netflix. Also loved My So-Called Life and got all the episodes from Netflix and watched them again. Some of Star Trek: The Next Generation holds up nicely too. SO what TV series do you own on DVD? or which ones to you rent from Netflix?
uber-muso hipster hyperbole (pjm) Mon 12 Apr 10 11:49
I own The Wire and Oz, mostly because I missed most of them on TV. I still need to catch up on Oz.
David Wilson (dlwilson) Mon 12 Apr 10 12:52
Doesn't this indicate that our television viewing behavior is changing? I was over TV after the Rockford Files closed down. Then came the ability to watch entire series and seasons on DVD. Suddenly I could catch up on The Sopranos, The Wire, Dexter, Damages etc. There is a continuum of quality of the various series ranging from high concept serious through entertainment to outright exploitation. Then there seems to be a new set of categories: critically acclaimed, popular, acclaimed but low ratings, low but continued, low but canceled etc. I find myself watching the high concept series one episode after another. Same with trashy guilty pleasures. Can't get enough of them when they hook me. The more pedestrian and those derived from a comic book concept are much more difficult to watch that way. I'll either fade in and then out, or space myself to watch between longer intervals. Now the streaming sites made it possible for me to start watching continuing series weekly like old style TV.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 13 Apr 10 08:01
I wonder what effect youtube has on the overall direction of television. It's added a new kind of material that has never been seen on tv -- the carefully crafted amateur production. Still, I don't see that material crossing over to tv often. Am i just missing that?
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Tue 13 Apr 10 08:45
It crosses over to TV news, which is kind of funny. Not to mention the reading of tweets on CNN, MSNBC, and the like. Now when a particularly funny youtube video goes viral it often ends up as a 30-second story on the news.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 13 Apr 10 15:15
Shows I don't see much tv news. Does the book do any prognosticating or extensions of trends? I wonder about increased forms of interactivity, and also about ad targetting. We may get to where there can no longer be a discussion of great ads, or the Superbowl ad buys, because one household is seeing Pepsi while another sees BMW in the same time slot. What about mobile devices: I'll watch TV as a semi-social activity, but am less interested in solo podcast mode. I expect I may be in a pretty un-influential minority. Will popular small devices drive production investments and artistic choices as well as almost certainly driving the ads served to each individual? I wonder how that plays out.
Slowly I Turn (tcn) Wed 14 Apr 10 00:00
Like all these questions. Aaron, I'm wondering about interactive TV, what happened to that? Will it revive with all the new interconnections?
David Wilson (dlwilson) Thu 15 Apr 10 11:47
What happened to the discussion here? Someone pull the plug?
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 15 Apr 10 16:28
Must have been the Big Easy.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Thu 15 Apr 10 18:13
What Gail means is that Aaron was in New Orleans. Not sure what happened. Sorry for the lack of response. In any case, our attention in Inkwell moves to a new discussion (with Don Lattin on his new book, "The Harvard Psychedelic Club") but this topic will stay open indefinitely. Thanks to all who contributed to the conversation.
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