TV More Than Market

The dynamics of television and its electronic/digital spinoffs paint a picture whose focus shifts in the face of advancing technologies. Television has historically been a passive experience, recaptured only in reruns. However, now all manner and sort of television programming history is available in one media format or another. Perhaps as the history of television accumulates, patterns will emerge that not only track industry practices, profits and programming, but also connect with some of the same layered societal elements explored in The Wire. Simon’s approach as a journalist pays off in The Wire as noted in Lanahan’s Secrets of the City. Over five seasons, The Wire attempts to make sense of the criminal, educational, political, and media elements of a 100,000 piece urban jigsaw puzzle that has about 10,000 pieces missing and not a large enough surface on which to complete the puzzle. Most of our reading indicates that what has come through the tube, what is coming through now, and what will come through in the future acts as a measure and indicator of what the producers think the market will allow. DVD box sets, VHS sets and other media texts make up a kind of encyclopedia of knowledge that will be useful for study in fields that operate on the assumption that television has become more than market. Yes, television is an industry – almost everything is – but what is its purpose and sphere of influence. I’m waiting for the name of television to change to something that reflects its true nature, even though I’m sure I don’t know its true nature.

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