Also, these shows advance the plot in teeny, tiny increments with every episode - just like a soap opera. And just like a soap opera, when the writers write themselves into a corner, they just pursue another plot line or say it was all a "dream sequence" and start over. Lazy writing and poor character development are the hallmarks of soap operas.
But what is really infuriating is that these modern soap operas are about really horrible people.
Today we have House of Cards, which portrays our entire society as banal and evil and, well, ready to collapse at a moment's notice. People are just bad - that is assumed from the get-go. What we want to know is, how bad will they go to get what they want. It is akin to slowing down at a bloody SUV wreck.
Cop shows like The Wire ended up being shows about the criminals. Let's face it, you were rooting for some of the criminals including Stinger Bell and Omar Little - the gay assassin who robs drug dealers - to be successful in their endeavors to deal methamphetamine and crack in the streets of Baltimore. If you lived in Baltimore or even near the area, you knew horiffic human cost of drug dealing and drug addiction in that sad little town. You be less inclined to glamorize drug dealers if you knew the reality of the situation.
Second of all, vigilante killing is wrong, period. And it is wrong because we said so, as a society. Lynchings and the like were outlawed because mob justice isn't. When one person or a rabble decides that they know the whole facts and can be judge, jury, and executioner, then our society then falls apart.
Of course, to say that you can't say these things is to be accused of censorship. But like so much else in our society, these terms tend to be overblown. Censorship is when a government entity or other body of authority tells people what they can and cannot say. It is not the same as a network or a sponsor saying "You know, I don't want my company affiliated with that message, because it is beyond the pall of decent society."
Recently, much brouhaha has been made because some commercial sponsors have pulled their ads which inadvertently appeared on objectionable content on YouTube, Google, and even here on Blogger. This have even extended to television shows, where Glen Beck was forced off the air when sponsors withdrew their support. Bill O'Reilly appears to be next. People on the right cry "censorship" without knowing that the term means. In their minds, sponsors are obligated to advertise on all channels, particular ones with high ratings, even if their message is dreck.
But as the Supreme Court has held, corporations are people, too, and they are entitled to their opinions and yes, even feelings. A major corporation who serves the bulk of populace is not required or mandated to sponsor messages that they feel don't represent their values or beliefs, or moreover would turn off more customers that it would garner.
But that is the problem with non-network programming. Since there are no advertisers and no television code, the writers and producers are free to offer whatever it is the public wants to watch. And judging from what I see on YouTube, car crashes are exactly what they want to see.
I am not sure what the answer is. I am finding less and less content on Netflix worth watching as it is all soap operas about horrible people. Even something as innocuous as "Grace and Frankie" profiles horrible people. Maybe they don't kill each other, but they are not kind, either.
It will be interesting to see where this goes. I doubt my not watching Netflix will make much of a change in the market. But maybe if hundreds, and then thousands, and then millions turned away from this sort of poor normative cue programming these new "networks" of online content providers would change their tune. I doubt it, but we'll see where it goes.
Because these are poor normative cues - they teach us to be passive consumers and to not try to change our lives, because change isn't possible as the system is vile and corrupt and trying is too hard. The best we can hope to be is Nurse Jackie, squandering what little money we make on drugs, and "doing good" in our jobs which make other people rich.