Please come have a look at my thoughts on the revolution sweeping through the world of marketing and the rise of secret messages in contemporary culture.
You can find them here at the Harvard Business Review blog. Click here.
From the Wikipedia entry: Psych is an American detective comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network. It stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a young crime consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department. […] The program also stars Dulé Hill as Shawn’s best friend and reluctant partner Burton “Gus” Guster, as well as Corbin Bernsen as Shawn’s captious father, Henry.
See my post today at the Harvard Business Review on how Psych can help us build new complexity into branding and product development.
See the post here.
I have a friend who keeps two DVRs running day and night. She loves TV that much. I used to think this was one DVR too many. Now I see her point.
House, Modern Family, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Glee, Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Dexter, Fringe, The Closer, Weeds, The Office, The Simpsons, Psych. Just for starters.
Then there’s the anthropological riches of Reality TV The Real Housewives, Project Runway, Wipeout, Ice Road Truckers, Jersey Shore, Deadliest Catch, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race and American Idol
And now the new Fall season and lots of interesting newcomers: Terriers, Rubicon, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire.
So much for Newton Minow’s "wasteland." So much for academic orthodoxy. So much for the intellectuals who bet heavily on the idea that television was bankrupt and moribund. (No metaphor was left unmixed.) For a wasteland, TV is surprisingly fecund.
Would love to hear from readers how this Fall season compares to last. I can’t honestly remember.
Minow, Newton. 1961. Television and the Public Interest. An address delivered 9 May 1961, National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC. click here.
The Big C, the new show starring the deeply talented Laura Linney gives us a glimpse of what is now possible on cable. It resembles a second show on Showtime, Weeds.
Together these shows give us a glimpse into the Showtime thinktank. (One of the principles, apparently: let’s see what happens to suburban living when we mix things up.)
There is a another experiment at work at USA Networks, from which a string of hits has recently issued (Burn Notice, Psych, Royal Pains, White Collar). (One of the principles, apparently, stay as far away from the suburbs as possible.)
Your essay question:
1. Compare and contrast Showtime and USA Networks. Identify the grammar or algorithm that produces the shows in question. (Consider my "suburb" reference a hint, but merely one very rough indicator of the possibilities. Please do feel free to contradict me.)
2. What larger cultural significance do you attach to the fact that these two approaches to making TV now exist? Did they exist in the 20th century. Why do they exist now?
Fewer than 1000 words.
point form preferred.
points for being crisp and clear.
Contest winners will receive a Minerva (as pictured) and a place on the winner’s list. (And immortality as a contest winner, of course. See the list of previous winners, by clicking here.) (Note: the Minerva used to be called the "VOWEL.")
Normally I do the judging for Minervas. But this is a recipe for provincialism. So I am invited several people to act as judges. They are:
Chief Culture Officer
This is precisely the kind of question I would expect a CCO to hit out of the park. If you are having trouble with this question and fancy yourself CCO material, you are not watching enough TV. (When spouses or colleagues complain, look them straight in the eye and say: "It’s doctor’s orders." (Trust me, I’m an anthropologist.)
Juri Saar (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)
Reiko Waisglass (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)
Brent Shelkey (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)
Daniel Saunders (for the "JJ Abrams vs. Joss Whedon" contest)
Tim Sullivan (for the "Karen Black vs. Betty White" contest?)