Standards and Practices
So, I was watching Breaking Bad last night. I know, right? Me and the rest of the world. No shock there.
It got me thinking, though, about how far TV has come since I was a kid. A gritty drama was something like Dallas, and an action series was something like The A-Team. If you watch those shows now, it’s like they were written for ten-year-olds. (That, of course, was fortunate for me at the time.) Back in the day, Hannibal Smith missing everything with an assault rifle from two feet away or Luke Duke firing a compound bow out of a moving Dodge was about as crazy as things got.
Nowadays? You’ve got Gustavo Fring mutilating some guy with a box cutter (spoilers), or walking out of a room with half his head blown off (spoliers spoilers). If I’d seen those things in the 80s, I would have crapped myself in terror. Now, though, that’s not even as far as non-pay TV (that is, shows not on networks like HBO or Showtime) is willing to go.
And you know what? I think TV is better for it. Standards and Practices seem to have relaxed on things like sex, violence, and language, and while some folks might see that as a bad thing, I see it as giving filmmakers more tools to tell their stories the way they want to tell them. In my mind, that’s always a good thing.
Still, there’s something to be said for working around censorship, finding creative ways to get your point across without having to resort to just putting it out there in all its bloody, cursing glory.
So, when was TV better, folks? When we were kids? Now? Or is the best still yet to come?