Bloody TV: A story of influence, violence and money

TV has gone through an immense transformation from showing fitness shows and just PG rated police or comedy series to screening some of the bloodiest and most vulgar shows in recent history. Blame Tarantino, blame Scorsese, blame the MPAA or even blame Hollywood but the facts are real and indisputable.

From a meth cooking high school teacher to a medieval dwarf warrior we have seen enough to come to the conclusion that we don’t need to go to the movies to get a strong dose of adrenaline through watching either bloody scenes or from hearing strong verbal profanity. But why, and why now is it that shows such as True Detective or Hannibal have surfaced up from the depths of a highly politically correct television history? Hollywood influence is definitely the big factor.

Movies have increased their on-screen profanity throughout the years because people are now more willful to watch something more realistic to our world. The time of the dramatic deaths where the person is slowly confessing his love to his darling while slowly dying is over. That’s because our society is moving away from the proper and “clean” social standards of the fifties and into a taboo-less future. Thus, some artists of the screen have taken advantage of such social shift and have had a huge success in their careers by giving people what they want to watch.

But their success is a pain in our pocket because going to the movies has one huge disadvantage. It’s costly. A single ticket costs $7 but if you add drinks and your friends you’re looking at $20 or more. And that’s a lot of money considering that you can watch the same movie an infinite amount of times from the comfort of your home through either DVD or from any online entertainment store. (But three months after their theatrical release.) Not saying that the monthly subscription to any TV network is cheaper than going to the movies but it is definitely a reasonable value for money. Which raised the question: why not provide the average moviegoer with shows that will have the same attractive characteristics as movies, but without all the waiting and expense? The answer was Game of Thrones, Dexter, Homeland and many more.

Television is also drawing from movies stylistically as well as in content with many favorable characteristics. Their 45 minute running time makes them more intense and interesting. Cliffhangers hook the viewer and make him ecstatic for the next episode of his/her show. Constant plot twists intrigue the interest of the viewer and attract even more people to watch the show and the convenience of having seasons to expand the story and its characters. Lastly, A-list actors such as Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey and directors like David Fincher and Steven Spielberg are joining such shows thus further attracting avid movie goers in watching TV shows. In general it seems like Hollywood is moving or at least expanding their horizon towards the TV world.

Most of these people who are fans of those shows are teenagers who crave such mesmerizing excitement. From one hand teens who follow such shows are exposed to foul language and either explicit sexual or bloody scenes (or both) and tend to be desensitized. But on the other hand such mature shows reflect a world more identifiable to ours and it “hardens” teens before they reach adulthood. All the swearing, the violence and the sex are things that all or at least most of us will come across in our lives and the sooner you know the better. Our world is not a peaceful utopia where it all comes easy and by getting exposed in such shows teenagers are less likely to fall victims of a remorseless and violent adult world.

On the bottom line, television’s bloody comeback has effectively taken a hit on films, teenagers and society at large. Its redeeming revival is a double edged sword since kids and teens cannot be “carded” for watching those often disturbing shows and their influence is ambiguous. Besides that, the outstanding incorporation of hit-movie characteristics such as the involvement of A-list movie figures and well crafted scripts have earned our respect and most of all our absolute attention. Either way, we are all glad that cinema is not our only entertainment refuge for our boring week-nights.

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