Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TV Is Dead, Long Live Maui

I'm in Maui. So at the moment, I don't really care that TV is dead, the internet having devoured another industry whole. Actually, it's one of the reasons I'm here. In Maui. MMMM. Maui.

The sun is now down, but dinner is almost ready, so no comment on this Steve Gillmor blog entry for now, but it's a Deusey (sp?). Having been caught in the crossfire at two tv network slaughters in the last year, I can assure you that he is correct:

YouTube, Digg, and MySpace took out TV a few months back, and now the corpse is sitting up and taking notice. Latest evidence is the incipient obliteration of Studio 60, the West Wing sequel which is terrific and therefore doomed, in favor of 30 Rock, which is not and therefore not. At least we don't have to go through Commander in Chief clones one after the other, but at the same time.

But that's not why TV is dead. TV is dead because of the Internet. TV is dead because we don't have time for it. TV is dead because the computer lives. TV is dead because of the stupid blogosphere, the so-called "new" medium of podcasting, TiVo, RSS, and HDTV. TV is dead because TV now sucks more than all of the previous.

I watched Scoble's video of Cisco's amazing videoconferencing teledesk, or whatever they called it. The best part was when Robert zoomed in on Mike Vizard and the quality never turned to shit, even though Mike was in NY. It reminded me of the Haunted House ride at Disneyland, where you could peer into the banquet room and watch the ghosts cavort with the 3D heads as you moved around them. The first Star Wars movie rendered a 3D projection of ObiWan or somebody in similar delight at crossing the time barrier.

That's what this is about, tricking time, teleporting yourself across the country. We all wish Doc could actually enjoy his new house instead of rocketing off to Berkman one week a month. I could imagine the Gillmor Gang using the TelePort room from time to time. Remember that the next OS/X enables recording of iSight cons. It's on the way.

Meanwhile TV is dead. The kids still argue over carving out enough time to watch Heroes, the only consensus family show left alive. At the movies over the weekend (imagine a comedian becomes President, not the bonehead we'd be laughing at if we weren't so damned angry) they ran a preview trailer for Children of Men, where humans have lost the ability to reproduce. TV has lost that ability.

I like Grey's Anatomy and Studio 60. Heroes is fun with the family. We're all semi-addicted to All My CHildren, but in recent months I opt for synopses from those who stay vigilant. I fast-forward through the news. Meet the Press and Stephanopoulus are time-shifted to podcast and then mostly discarded. Cable shows: Huff was cancelled, Sopranos is about to drop, The Wire is good but is stacking up, Entourage I finally deleted all to clear space for the new season, and now I've whittled the new season down to Grey's Anatomy and Studio 60 and Letterman and the Scottish guy.

Hollywood Video put the penultimate nail in the coffin with its Premium service, a knockoff of Netflix where you rotate 3 unlimited movies without late fees for 30 bucks a month. Goodbye cable. Goodbye broadcast. Goodbye blockbusters. Goodbye Studio 60. Aggregated to death.

The only good news: just what it was like in February '64.

Will comment more on this later, when there isn't a three-pound chuck of fresh cut Hawaiian ahi wrapped in tin-foil, drenched in butter and fresh-picked lemons, burbling on the Weber.


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