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The idiot box grows a brain

06467884001I’ve got a piece about the new television in today’s issue of the Australian Literary Review. The full text of the article is available online, as is Michael Wood’s excellent piece about Roberto Bolano’s 2666, but print copies are available free with today’s  Australian, and are well worth picking up, not least because only a small portion of the issue is reproduced online.

The idiot box grows a brain | The Australian.

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  1. David R Blake #

    An excellent piece in the ALR today, with a nice summary of the economic influence on development of the ‘new’ TV. The introduction of various electronic and information technologies made this possible, but that is another chapter.

    Anyways, I did thinks to myself how local network TV has HBOd itself (a little) if one contemplates the recent screening of Underbelly.

    I think there is a healthy appetite for the grand, layered social novel through TV ( a la the Wire) because it suits the times. The Wire is a prologue for the stories of the busted towns of the world, which have recently quadrupled in number.

    February 5, 2009
  2. Thanks for that. And yes, Underbelly is a show that owes a lot to HBO shows such as The Sopranos, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily a sign that Australian networks are changing their ways. The sheer volume of advertising Channel 9 ran during it seems to me to be an extension of their more general contempt for viewers. Whether they’ve realized it or not, Australia’s free-to-air networks are living on borrowed time – until they stop messing viewers around by programming as they see fit, holding back shows from overseas and just generally stuffing viewers around they’ll continue to lose viewers to DVD, download and pay tv, as well as just losing younger viewers who don’t have the patience to put up with having content delivered t the whim of a network, rather than on demand.

    But enough ranting – thanks for the kind words.

    February 5, 2009

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