Sunday, July 27, 2008

LAMENT FOR A&E

Well, in the past I would rant about TV shows and various TV genres. Today, though, I am going to vent about one channel, A&E.

I gotta say, I miss the old A&E a lot. They used to be a channel with class, something with higher-grade programming. Like Biography. Or documentary shows like The Twentieth Century. Or those shows that Bill Kurtis used to host. And Law and Order every night. And also lots of old detective shows from the Seventies, stuff like Colombo and McCloud. Good stuff.

Now what do they have? They have Gene Simmons and his whole family on Sunday nights. They have The Two Coreys, featuring Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. Plus every CSI Miami show ever. What a pile of junk this is. This is the type of crap you can see anywhere. Yes, they do have the Sopranos (that series that ended when the producer David Chase cut to black in the middle of a scene). But that's about it. There is nothing to tune into for news junkies or documentary junkies anymore. But there's so much "reality" that it is a joke, stuff like Dog the Bounty Hunter, Criss Angel Mindfreak and Paranormal State. The lineup is DRECK!!!

There really is no difference these days between A&E and these other channels like TLC and especially E! as far as programming is concerned. E! has all kinds of reality shows, like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Girls Next Door. You can't even remember which reality shows are on which station these days, because these lineups are so similar! And frankly I think it's cheapened A&E. They have turned it from a channel worth watching into nothing special at all.

It's not the only one, mind you. I remember watching the old RAI programming on Telelatino in Toronto late at night and on weekends, and it was good stuff. But then the contract with RAI ended and the channel was basically gutted. Of course, SPIKE TV used to be TNN, The Nashville Network. I'll bet all the country music fans are mighty pleased at that development.

And where have all the A&E refugees gone? I'm sure a few went over to Bravo, but keep in mind that there's plenty of dreck on Bravo, too: lots of reality shows like Project Runway, Real Housewives of Orange County and so on. Others have fled to watch movies on AMC and TCM, and I'm sure TNT has picked up a few viewers with all their dramas. And there's The Biography Channel.

But overall, I gotta say the current situation is no good. The stuff for serious "arts" people has been gone for a long time, and the stuff for news junkies has all flown the coop. A&E used to be the "Biography" channel, and the joke in the early days used to be that A&E was the "Hitler channel" for all the old World War II docs it used to show.

Now it's turned into the Gene Simmons Channel. No kidding.

(The woman in the picture is Gene's significant other Shannon Tweed, which makes this the umpteenth month in a row where I've put up a picture of a Playmate on this blog. )

1 comment:

DJ said...

Crossing Jordan is a decent show on there as well.

Sopranos is great, but it's edited for the cursing (obviously) and some scenes are edited as well. They also take any of the episodes that were longer and just condense them down to fit within an hour. They also skipped at least one episode in the rotation last time.