ADVANTAGES

Here is a standard misconception: since the noblest forms of artistic endeavor are fictional and dramatic (the novel, film, painting, plays), it can be assumed that the major, proper products of television will be its dramatic entertainments, the sitcom and the hour-long drama. I think this is wrong, and very possibly wrong for a whole number of reasons. Drama has a different meaning in a commercial medium where “programming” came into being as bacon to wrap the real morsels of steak, the 90-second advertisements. It means something different when it exists in a medium we switch on to see “what’s on TV” rather than to find a given single work; when the goal is more often to watch television than to watch a particular drama and then turn it off.

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