I don’t watch much TV. So, I am hardly the person to make strong claims about its quality or trends. That said, I find it fascinating that three of the best shows of the past few years—Battlestar Galactica, Madmen, and Glee—share a really odd structural feature: They have all taken ridiculously bad ideas from cringe-able eras and turned them around completely, made them not only fresh, but evocative, disturbing, intriguing.
They are, in short, evidence of the virtues of extreme recycling.
Just imagine the pitch meeting for Galactica: We’ll take what has to have been one of the dumbest pop-culture packing peanuts ever and make it stronger, faster, better: How about an allegory about civil liberties and faith after 9/11 using Cylons and vats of goo?
Or what about Madmen: Let’s explore the most virulent cancers on our culture with lovingly pornographic attention to detail, to demonstrate the complex symbiosis among banality, beauty, evil and exculpation. Madmen is the money shot of commodity fetishism, proving once again the truth of Chomsky’s admonition that if you want to learn what’s wrong with capitalism, don’t read The Nation, read the Wall Street Journal.
And Glee? Well, all I can say is: Don’t Stop Believing.
Which may lead you to this question: No one really takes the “and everything else” part of CoOps’s desktop mantra seriously, so what the frak does this have to do with law? Read More