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Now in Brilliant High Definition!

June 3, 2008 - Wes Burns
Have you ever seen an old movie? I'm not talking about "oh yeah, I saw Troop Beverly Hills on AMC last week" kind of old; I'm talking old. Older than the real Star Wars movies, older than the Godfather, maybe even older than Abe Vigoda himself. Movies that are so old that WHAT was on film came second to the idea that you were seeing ANYTHING on film.

These movies were about simple things. An opening shot of a building, a second shot of the same building on fire, vague, fascist imagery, roll credits; Oscar caliber picture. There was no plot, no deep characters, no second cameras. People were just happy to be watching this new and exciting form of entertainment.

This phenomenon is still active in this century. The internet is a shiny, new form of entertainment and people love the rudimentary first stages. Youtube? This is the old Nickelodeons and Arcades of the first days of film. For all the flack that internet videos get, just give it a little time and things will get better.

So what happened to HD Television? I'll buy the internet being junk for a while but TV? They've had TV for a few generations now, why do they think I'll watch something just because its presented in High Definition? Okay, I probably wouldn't have watched that Discovery Channel show "Planet Earth" on regular TV but that's a nature show. I'm talking about the dregs you find on the HD exclusive channels.

Ever hear of "Art Mann"? No? Of course not. This middle aged, mostly drunk, ex-barfly with a "travel" show stumbles around popular spring break locations surrounded by blurred out torsos and regrettable decisions all the while looking like someone's creepy uncle who joined the party fifteen years too late. Not to mention that his show consists entirely of 10 to 20 second clips of people screaming an all-too-familiar variant of "WOOOO!" and making various gestures towards the camera.

Who says that gets to be on TV? You think I'm going to sit through shlock just because the picture looks better? I'm not watching "Art Mann", nor "Get Out!" or "Peter Weller's: Odyssey 5" or any of the other poorly constructed/canceled after 2 episodes show they assume we will watch because it is very simply there.

Americans have been making top quality television since the git-go, why are we relenting when it comes to HD TV? We cannot secede the high ground here, we cannot tolerate a quality HD programming gap! This is America, land of television and I, for one, want to see the old girl treated right.


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