When “The Best” Isn’t Very Good: Why The Rocky Mountain News Should Stop Promoting Bad TV

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Most newspapers have a weekly feature in their Entertainment section that highlights the upcoming television worth watching. It’s a vestigial remnant of the old days when TV grids used to run daily, with a small bit recommending something good that evening. But now, with the strike, the Rocky Mountain News has their back to the spotlight-wall. Their “best of the best of this week’s TV” section this last Monday, December 3…well, left something to be desired.

Okay, so it’s not the Rocky’s fault that the Writers’ Strike is dragging on. But seriously, if there’s nothing to highlight, just tell us that. Don’t pretend that you’re really recommending that we all tune in for Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular. Seriously. Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular? I’m frankly ashamed just writing that title down here in this blog, let alone recommending anyone actually watch it. On purpose.

But that’s only one day, right? Oh, no. Things get worse. Like when TV hot-picks for the week included the Lifetime original movie Lost Holiday: The Jim and Suzanne Shemwell Story. Wow. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at this point in TV, haven’t we pretty much established that Lifetime original movies suck? Aren’t they already a Saturday Night Live joke several times over? And don’t we all accept that they suck on a universal level, even people who still choose to watch Lifetime original movies? Hey, I’m not judging. I’d watch A Very Brady Christmas again, and I’m not proud of that. But I’m not recommending it to anyone, let alone doing so in a major metropolitan newspaper.

The only thing actually worth recommending in the Rocky’s “Prime Rating” article is the annual airing of the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a thumbs-up which I can wholeheartedly support. More on Rudolph later.

Not that the fact that TV is more or less crap right now is the Rocky Mountain News’ fault. With most series having tapped out of the episodes they had left in the can when the strike began, there’s nearly nothing new left on network television. So newspapers are scraping the bottom of the barrel. But seriously, once we hear that telltale sound of barrel-scraping, maybe it’s time to stop digging, lest we break through the barrel-bottom, hit topsoil, and dig ourselves a deep, dark hole halfway to China. Which may not be a bad idea, seeing as how they can’t strike, and so probably have fresh TV episodes to enjoy.
-- Teague Bohlen


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