If you could create a TV show, what would it be?

I’m spending the holiday weekend working on a legal brief that has to go out on Monday.  I don’t have enough energy to do anything serious, so let’s have some fun.  If you were going to create a TV program (Oprah is looking for some shows for her new network, you know) what would it be?  It can be any kind of program you like — news, comedy (but I repeat myself), drama, reality, sports, talk, variety, game, whatever. 

I never saw it, but I’ve heard of a show where entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to venture capitalists.  That’s great, but I’d want to involve the viewers more.  How about a show where entrepreneurs and/or inventors pitch their ideas and the viewers vote on who has the best idea and gets the money?  AsI said, my brain is fried, so I’m sure you can do better.  Please put your creative juices to work and pitch me a program idea.

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    I like game shows. How about one called ‘Legal Briefs’. In my version, every time one of those clever legislatures come up with a bone head idea, they have to strip off a piece of clothing. Those left standing in their briefs, have to buy an electric car and drive it.

    How many cars does GM have to NOT sell to off set $45 billion in no profits.

    “… it turns out, according to documents filed with federal regulators, the revamping left the car maker with another boost as it prepares to return to the stock market. It won’t have to pay $45.4 billion in taxes on future profits”.


    “GM sold between 250 and 350 Chevy Volts this month and Nissan’s sales totaled less than 10 Leaf sedans in the past two weeks. Production for both is slowly ramping up”.


  • Gringo

    As I don’t watch TV anymore, I have nothing to contribute to the conversation. The only online content I use which I used to get from TV would be sports.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    Let me rephrase the question for you then, Gringo.  What kind of a TV show would it take to make you interested enough to at least look it up on Hulu?

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ zabrina

    I doubt anyone else in the world would be interested in this, but one of my favorite and most memorable TV shows I liked when a kid featured half-hour historical dramas of real-life American heroes each week. I remember that’s where I learned who Nathan Hale was, and another week, watched a young Andrew Jackson defy a passing Redcoat who ordered him to clean his boots. These little real-life dramas inspired me at the time (I was around 10 or 12, circa the early-to-mid 1960s), and I wish kids and families these days had something like that to watch and look forward to. (In fact, I wish families still had family fare to watch on TV together; we watch “Phineas and Ferb” and otherwise it’s DVDs.) The excellent and successful HBO “John Adams” miniseries (2008) had a similar flavor but was of course much larger in scope, and meant for grownups. There used to be a much bigger appetite for historical entertainment (Davy Crocket, Daniel Boone, etc.), and I hope the cycle comes around again, for our childrens’ sake.
    Never could find out what the name of that show was (something like “The Great American Hero”), and my husband thinks I must’ve dreamed it, since it vanished without a trace on the internet today.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    If I want social commentary on human life, I go watch Japanese tv shows. Basically anything I could think of is there. One way or another.
    Entertainment, drama, emotional stress, euphoria, happiness, rage, fear, hate, love. That’s not even including the extreme shows like Ninja Warrior, which is sort of like making a crackpot joke into an actual truth in reality.
    Well, that’s not quite true. Japanese novels are quite good as well. Better in terms of emotional intensity compared to Western equivalent sci fi or fantasy. The tv shows are superior to American tv, but the tv shows are noticeably shallower than the novels when comparing Japanese original works. The work of a single genius or creator is still superior to that of a committee, no matter how efficient or well resourced that “committee” is.
    Japanese tv gets their ideas from the same place as Hollywood. Meaning, they recycle popular or well respected traditional material into new guises. While the Japanese do it with a flair and originality unseen in Hollywood, it’s still duplication. Which means, things are lost in the duplication.
    Personally, though, the tv show I would like is one where there exists heroes and villains. The hero must overcome internal problems before becoming able to resolve the external issue with the Demon Lord, for example.
    To give people a few examples, since I know they won’t immediately make the connections. The Founding Fathers, before they founded much of anything, had to swear an oath. Their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. COuld they have defeated a foe as dreadful as the British Imperial, if they had not come to hold inner strength? If they had been a bunch of Obamas, Chavezes, Kim Jongs, and wannabes, would they have been able to succeed by the fruit of their brows? A hero is someone that sacrifices himself for the benefit of future others. Regardless of whether that was their intention or not.
    Now let’s go around the bend a few times and reach the Empire of the East. Now let’s say you are a leader, a king of the people. After having fought a long drawn out war, your nation is in ruins. The people are starving. The fields are devastated. Reliable central authority has been completely taken over by the invaders. What do you do? Knowing that retribution and penalties are in store for your nation, and knowing that surrender is already certain, what do you hope to do? Do you
    A. Commit suicide.
    B. Keep fighting, throwing more people into the maelstrom of war, in order to keep a stiff upper lip and refuse to accede to the inevitable.
    C. Bow your head to the victorious conquerors, take on all responsibility for the war effort, and draw all the malevolence of the invaders to yourself, so that with your execution the invaders will look more favorably upon the people of your once great nation and provide them some comparable succor and mercy.
    I shouldn’t have to tell you which historical figures chose which options. In fact, Hitler chose both A and B. B before A, of course.
    Modern Americans have never considered the loss of a war on American territory. Thus they are spoiled in this matter. Historically, however, other people weren’t so lucky. Including other Americans that fought in the war of 1812 and the War of Independence and even the Civil War. Hitler was seen as a hero, a yuusha. But was he really, given an objective analysis, considering his choices at the very end. Did he sacrifice himself for the greater good of his people? Or did he spout off a bunch of nonsense like in that bunker movie everybody has seen parodied. Shrugs
    Of course, every good hero has a perfect villain. Perfectly intelligent. Perfectly evil. Perfectly ruthless. Perfectly powerful. Americans have this tendency to conflate ambition and ruthlessness with perfection, amazingly enough. They used to have perfect heroes. Now they don’t. Now they have perfect villains, like all powerful mega corporations. The Military Industrial Complex *shudder* so scary. But I can speak truth to power! *snorts*
    This tv show will generate conflict between heroes and villains, of all kinds and shapes. People love drama and a good show. They’ll be given one. The number of conflicts between heroes and villains are as numerous as they are tragic. What’s even more tragic is a conflict between heroes, where the main villain stays in the shadows like Othello. Then there’s something even more bitterly tragic and that’s where there is no hero, just villains using their power on the weak. But that’s always a good way to stoke up burning righteousness amongst the people for action. It always has. People almost desire a villain, a Demon Lord to hate. Just as they desire a hero to come and save them, to serve as the ally of justice when there is none around. They do so partially because, like in High Noon (1952), they can’t be bothered to dirty their hands themselves.
    A weak sideshow with no hero, no villain, or a weak villain up against a weak hero, is a farce. A strong villain against a weak hero is also a farce. A strong hero against a weak villain that nonetheless seems to win all the time, is fast becoming a farce. Indomitable heroes vs all powerful demon lords, now that’s something dramatic. Often times the drama is not inherent in about strength vs evil. It’s more like, people want to know where heroes come from. What motivates them. How can ordinary people become such. The tale of Superman doesn’t really teach people this, because Superman was born with his powers. Regular people are born powerless, mostly. So they are often fascinated when they see a hero who came from evil or who was initially powerless, yet obtained inner will and power nonetheless. Enough power to defeat a great evil.
    Whether it was flying because your genetics was from another planet or spider man’s genetic mutation, these are all fantastic ways of explaining where power comes from. But it’s not something adults can relate to. Children, perhaps, but not adults that have seen the truth of adversity first hand. They are less likely to become attuned to play fantasies. They are looking for the real deal. They want something that feels viscerally real. And there’s plenty of it in life, where people jump out to help strangers that are in danger of losing their lives or have been threatened with sexual assault. But it’s not dramatic. It’s not nearly dramatic enough to catch people’s attention when the media refuses to portray such stories as a societal lesson on what should be done. The media is much more interested in telling people how society views white collar criminals such as Madoff or the Dark Lord Cheney.
    So you have to blow it up on tv. Make it bigger than life. A grand finale. More than one finale even. A hero that starts out spineless and actually starts a growing a spine is far more interesting than somebody who was born into power and wealth and suddenly decided he was going to make use of it. On the counter, somebody born to wealth because they are expected to lead a nation of millions, would be expected to make use of that wealth and power for the benefit of the people. Thus the natural villains would be greedy traitors and evil murderers out to upset the status quo for their own purposes.
    Concepts like self-sacrifice and integrity, however, have lost their seen in American popular entertainment. You still find it in the backbone of the rural country and other such places, but the mass media have essentially culled it as an object of societal favor. Boys shouldn’t even be allowed to play dodgeball or keep score in a game, after all. It would be “bad”. It would be “child abuse”. Think of the Children! So sayeth the devil as he leads them astray.
    A lot of tv is about social conflict and soap operaish content that invokes the voyeur in people. It’s a waste, really. People like to be inspired. They like a good show, yes. But they like a show better if they can project themselves into a certain character. Or relate to a plot event. Extreme sports, like MMA, also starts filling in for people who lack physical exertion and time to invest in physically exciting (adrenaline) activities. So they sit and watch other people do what they themselves would like to do, but don’t. Too afraid? Not enough time? Too little money? Shrugs.
    Don’t be a hero, society says. Let the police handle it. The government is responsible for this. A normal person doesn’t have the resources or power to do anything. This is real. People really believe that. Call it what you like. LibProgs. Sucking up to the government teat. Addicted to welfare crack. Whatever it is you think of it, it is real. It is no delusion. And it is no passing “trend”.
    Society is broken. The rules that allow us to communicate and work with each other have destabilized. It was not an accident. It was intentional. It was done intentionally. It was done so not for the good of others, but solely to satisfy the personal ambitions and desires of a few people with the right levers in their grasps. To fix it, you need to intentionally fix it. Not just whack on it with a sledge hammer hoping it goes back to working order.
    On that note, we come to speak of America needing heroes, for we have villains a plenty.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I would like to see more mini-series that convey history in personal terms from the points of view of people at that period. I think that our historical ignorance as Americans is casting us adrift from our roots, as a nation and as a Western Civilization. I just finished reading Bernard Cornwell’s first-rate “Richard Sharpe” series that follows the battles of the Indian and Napoleonic wars and learned so much about Napoleon, Wellington and the civilizational issues at stake during the period while being entertained at the same time.
    I would also like to see multiple series that teach people about basic economics in an entertaining albeit educational way, although that’s a very tough hill to climb. FOX’s John Stossel has shown that it can be done, however.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    A mid-sized manufacturing company and the town that depends upon it. The central characters are the CEO and his wife, but the characters also include various workers, executives, and townspeople. Lots of economic problems, interpersonal conflict, love affairs, and the occasional industrial accident.
    Somewhat along the lines of the excellent series Friday Night Lights, which is about a high-school football coach, his players, his family, and his town.

  • http://connectthedots2006.blogspot.com ConnectTheDots

    Here’s an idea to end all discrimination against the most misunderstood religion — a muslim version of the Cosby Show!
    Can’t we all just get along?


    Here’s the music for the opening credits ;

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Danny, did you read 1812: Rivers of War by Eric Flint on the Trail of Tears and the wars Andrew Jackson fought in during the time?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Katie Couric is so in the bottom 25% percentile of total human talent.
    She would be one of the last people i’d take on a slow boat to an island of savages. In fact, I’d toss her overboard if she ever got it, because I know sure as hell she’ll get the group killed by wasting resources and not paying attention to survival instructions.

  • Danny Lemieux

    YM, I will put them on my list.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Here’s the link to the full novel Flint posted on the baen library.
    I liked Flint’s Belisarius collaboration with David Drake. But wasn’t sure if 1812 could be rendered interesting given the controversies going on. It ended up being a pretty good look into history. Less people would find history boring if they learned in that format. A lot of details concerning Andrew Jackson, and Jacksonianism, that I picked up. And guess what? The official history on the matter, isn’t actually true. At least, it’s not the complete truth.