I feel like I have to back-track a little bit, and cover last week’s “post-broadcast” concept. Like, I was there in the lecture and the tute, but I didn’t really think about it or try to wrap my head around this strange new word: post-broadcast.
Well, like it was for many I think, my first stop has to be Graeme Turner’s book Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post-Broadcast Era. In this, he really defines the period of time in which broadcast television began to decline:
“The decline of the broadcast era in the West has seen increasing industrial and technological convergence as telecommunications, information technology and the electronic media coalesce under the same corporate umbrellas, and as technologies themselves interact more directly than ever before.” (pg. 7)
Now, I am no scholar. Not even close. So in my simple terms this seems to suggest that the “post-broadcast era” speaks of new media technologies interacting in a way that traditional media never could. For example, we have the Internet, social media, and TV screens just about everywhere we look. A key word is “convergence”, as not only do these technologies exist, but they interact and work alongside one another. Watching TV also means picking up the phone and voting for your favourite celebrity, or scrolling through your Twitter feed to see what others are saying about the latest episode of your TV show.
Another thing we talked about in the tute was this whole thing about block viewing television shows. That is, sitting down with the DVD box set of a show and watching episodes in large chunks, rather than breaking it down and watching an episode a week as TV broadcasting allows. I love the way Mel Campbell puts it in her article Baying For True Blood: Binge Reading in Television’s Post-Broadcast Era:
“in the post-broadcast era, freed from the tyranny of being drip-fed single episodes in a set timeslot, we can now watch as many as we like, when we like: on DVD, TiVo or the Internet, engaging in voluptuous television binges, tearing through entire seasons in a weekend.”
I’ve been attached to a drip before, and I understand the need to be slowly medicated rather than having a massive medicine rush all at once. So perhaps this block viewing isn’t healthy? Maybe we can overdose on Madmen or Game of Thrones? Definitely can on Gossip Girl. Just saying.
Turner, G. Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post-Broadcast Era. Taylor & Francis, 2009
If we’re being honest here – and I like honesty, it’s a good thing – I fell into this course by accident. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but thank the Lord, yesterday’s lecture showed promise 🙂
I am not the hugest fan of television. I think, like many Gen Y kids, I just accept its existence and treat it like a natural part of life. I don’t know a world without television! Even from the earliest days in which I danced in front of the TV to the happy tunes of The Wiggles (let’s just keep that fact on the down low), television has always just been there. I wouldn’t even have considered it worth studying. Maybe this is partly because I don’t want my attention drawn to it. I don’t want this perfectly harmless, supportive presence in my life to be altered in any way. We get along quite well, me and TV.
I suppose some of what Alan McKee talks about in ‘Why Do I Love Television So Very Much?’resounded quite strongly with me. I don’t like the world we live in, in that somehow your worth as a consumer of arts and entertainment is dependent on other people’s preferences. Goodness me, just let me like what I want to like! Sorry if that just so happens to be a television show rather than some arty, creative piece of cinema. SORRY if I just want to watch several hours of How I Met Your Mother and just laugh my head off for a while, rather than sit with a straight back and frown at interesting camera techniques!! Thankyou Mr McKee for bringing up the highly flawed presumption of ‘artists’ that ‘those who have different pleasures are inferior’. Seriously. Thankyou.
And also, might I mention, I feel this same kind of thing even just being in this class. In yesterday’s tute I was struggling not to feel inferior as many people in the class engaged in discussion on particular TV shows that are apparently more cultured than the ones I watch. I just haven’t been introduced to these programs! Mad Men, The Sopranos, Girls…. so on and so forth. I just don’t know 🙂 Probably no one gives a flip that my latest interest is Dr Who, but I feel silly.
But television… Though I don’t see it just quite yet, maybe there is some use in studying it. Not just in terms of its relation to cinema as well, as the documentary we watched yesterday, Hollywood: The Rise of TV (2005), seemed to have a focus on. A lot of the people interviewed seemed to stress the fact that TV is a bigger deal than movies. There is heaps more worked involved in creating and maintaining a television series than making a movie, and in general the TV scene is somewhat overtaking cinema. I felt that this documentary had kind of a similar message to Graeme Blundell’s ‘The past is another country’, in suggesting that ‘TV is now where the innovations in narrative method and storytelling are to be seen’. Especially due to the rise of the ‘digital age’ and everything, I suppose producers of television shows are given many more options to play around with different storylines and techniques now.
That’s another thing that really went over my head. This switch to digital video. I read somewhere the other day that Frankston Hoyts (my local cinema) would be playing its last session on 35mm film with the movie Brave. And now it is all digital technology. But honestly, no one is going to notice any difference! I know I won’t be able to tell.
Now it’s time for interesting TV facts with Steph:
I read an article in The Australian yesterday that was all about how people use their phones while watching TV heaps these days. Over 52% apparently. And you can read about it here. Surely this makes the television experience completely different, as people are distracted by other things on their phones, or connect with the show even more through social media. My boyfriend is a serial phone/TV culprit, his favourite past time being tweeting about the awful shows I am watching while we watch together. Secretly, he loves it.
Okay, anyway, in conclusion I look forward to learning more about television and reaching that awkward moment where I realise it has been lying to me my whole life. Or something.