Yesterday was a bleak day on TV but, I suppose, that’s partly a question of my own choices. Kids are watching cartoons, women are watching sappy romances, and a lot of people, obviously, are happy with the fare. That’s O.K. I almost never complain in a restaurant, am perfectly happy to take either aisle or center seat and defer to anybody who has a serious preference, and will wear whatever my wife tells me to, so I feel entitled to bitch about TV. Everybody needs an outlet.
I keep checking Netflix to see if there’s any new sci-fi, which sometimes means I have to be willing to stretch the definition of sci-fi, and that’s how I started watching something called The Dark Tower yesterday, which is about a dark tower, somewhere on a distant planet, which is connected to Earth by a portal in an abandoned house in Brooklyn. It had Matthew McConnaghey in it, which I always see as a plus, but I gave it up not quite halfway through. I’m pretty sure it was never going to give a satisfactory reason as to why this tower existed, or why it’s destruction would mean the death of all life in the galaxy, or how our good friend Matt (who probably should avoid playing villains in future – not really his jam) got this power to say ‘stop breathing’ and people would stop breathing and fall over dead, or why that particular child had dreams which revealed this whole weird universe, or anything really, so I stopped watching.
Then I decided to try a new series, ‘The Defeated’ which was set in Berlin just after the war, which is indeed a pivotal time and place in modern history. It’s well acted, well written, and I don’t know enough about the time and place to spot any historical inaccuracies, but after a couple of episodes it was just another horrible cop show in which the villains are all horrible and the cops are all good and pure. There is a cop from Brooklyn (why the fuck is it always, always Brooklyn?) who was brought to Berlin to help organize their police force, but while he is there supposedly solving other crimes, he is searching for his brother who went AWOL and is on a psychopathic vendetta to hunt down Nazis and torture them to death.
These shows aren’t entertaining, they aren’t inspiring, they aren’t educational, and yet they are everywhere, as ubiquitous to the airwaves as McDonald’s is to the streets of the modern world.
So, I went back to watching Deep Space Nine. I’m at the point where they’ve just retaken Terek Nor. Although it’s a close competition and I love them all, Deep Space Nine is probably, or at least currently, it goes back and forth a bit depending on which one I’m watching at the moment, my favorite iteration of the Star Trek universe. It’s got the greatest range of alien races, for sure. My fan theory is that it’s really all about Rom. In the beginning of the series, he is nothing but a bumbling, simple minded waiter, totally dominated by his older brother, Quark. Then, it’s revealed that he’s actually a pretty good engineer, his son becomes the first Ferenghi in Star Fleet, he stands up to his brother (and the rest of Ferenghi society) to start a union, wins the heart of Leeta, the beautiful, full breasted Bajoran Dabo girl, saves the alpha quadrant from the Dominion by blocking the wormhole with self replicating mines he invented himself and, at the very end of the series, becomes Grand Nagus of all the Ferenghi, ushering in a new era of equal rights for women.
However, Deep Space Nine was created about 30 years ago. The new stuff on TV is mostly shit.