I stopped watching The Walking Dead after season 5, have not seen a single Game of Thrones episode, couldn’t get into Sons of Anarchy, and the very idea of watching Man in the High Castle makes me want to up my antidepressants. Someone read to me the premise for A Handmaid’s Tale and I had to stop them after the first sentence. I’m not opposed to dark themes in television. I can handle it…but in small doses. Like a Tylenol every so often when needed. Not like the oversized pile of cocaine snorted at the end of Scarface.
One would have to be living under a pretty large rock to not see how bleak and misanthropic television is these days. In fact, it seems if a show does not contain extreme violence, deep despair, and heinous inhuman acts between characters, then you can’t find it on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon video. One cannot even blame the Trump election as this trend started well before he took office. What I am even more dumbfounded by are how many people I am surrounded by who not only suggest but strongly urge me to watch these shows. As if I am the one with a problem.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education. I don’t need someone to explain to me how the shows are thematically complex and are also somewhat cerebral. Even so, these shows are really just phoning it in from other sources Almost all the shows I named in the beginning are derivative. The Walking Dead is based off the comic book with the same name. Game of Thrones is based off of a book series (which I personally think could not hold a candle to Tolkien). A Handmaid’s Tale is book. If I wanted to feel informed of the darkness of human nature, I will reach for a book. At least I will get at the true source of the intellect without having to a have a visual barrage of sex, violence, and torture.