Old vs. New T.V.

As American society changes, television evolves to reflect our interests.

We Bingham teenagers experience television in a very different way than our parents did. Their television was a kind of shared experience that required patience in order to enjoy it. They and their friends had to sit down at the same time on the same day in order to watch the same episodes. If they missed an episode of something, their only option was to sigh and wait for re-runs.

Today, Netflix and Hulu reign. We don’t have to wait around to watch an episode of our favorite show; we can simply binge-watch it until the show is over. Our friends might not be watching shows at the same times as we are. They might even watch shows during lunch at school. We don’t need patience.

The changes made in television, however, are manifested in more than show times. The kinds of shows that we watch are different in many ways, whether they be for good or for bad.

In a time when diversity on television means a lot, it’s nice to see modern shows that display more diverse and “real” characters. According to the New York Times, television critics are noticing the demand for diverse characters, and they’re noticing that these shows are bringing in more money. These television critics explain that the recently diversified television programs that we watch are simply more entertaining than older television because they reflect more kinds of people. Television critic James Poniewozik talks about having been disappointed by the lack of minority directors in the past, but is excited by the promises made by powerful Hollywood directors to have more minorities and women directing movies.

Despite the strides made in modern television, old T.V. shows are not bad. According to Kara Larsen, a junior here at Bingham, older television shows have a lot to offer. “I like the humor from old T.V. shows,” she says. “I feel like shows [now] are a lot more serious”. In addition, she doesn’t like the way that new T.V. shows are almost addicting. “There’s this addictive component… they end shows so that you couldn’t not watch the next episode,” she says.

In addition to being diversified, today’s popular shows appear to be more plot-driven. Episodes must be watched in a specific order in order to best understand and enjoy them. Larsen loves 90s shows because, “… you can pick any episode [of a show] and just watch it”.

Television is a great representation of our interests as a society over time. It will continue to evolve and give us the shows we ask for. Whether you love the excitement and diversity in newer television, or you prefer to enjoy the humor of older shows during your free time, there’s no denying that our televisions have a lot to offer each of us.