First let’s be clear. The William S. Paley Television Festival is this TV Addict’s Super Bowl equivalent. So much so that for three out of the past four years, I’ve shelled out far too much money than I care to think about for the privilege of spending one week in Los Angeles amidst some of my favorite television show’s casts and creative teams (click here for coverage.)
That said, Daniel Fienberg’s recent column asking, “Has the Paley Festival lost its way?” really got me thinking. And not just about how I can legally change my last name so that it fits into a clever blog title like “The Fien Print.”
Rather, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I programmed Paley. And how for every show that is worth honoring this year (see: BIG LOVE and DR. HORRIBLE’s SING-ALONG BLOG) there seems to be an equal number of shows that have yet to prove themselves worthy of sharing the same stage with the likes of past honourees including DEXTER, THE SOPRANOS and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (see: 90210 and DOLLHOUSE.)
Don’t get me wrong, the TV Addict loves Joss Whedon as much as the next Browncoat. But even the most ardent of Whedon supporters would have to concede that awarding his fledging new series DOLLHOUSE a spot among the Paley elite is a wee bit premature. Especially when you consider that Whedon is already being singled out for his ground-breaking new media experiment DR. HORRIBLE’s SING-ALONG BLOG.
In fact, a more cynical TV Addict might speculate that the current trend in Paley programming is to honor shows with a young and vibrant fan base that can handily sell out Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome and simultaneously line the Paley Center for Media’s coffers. Which by the way, I’m not the least bit adverse to considering the countless hours I’ve spent enjoying both the New York and Los Angeles based museums. I just can’t help but feel that there may have been some slightly overlooked and far more deserving shows that could have been included in this year’s festivities.
I mean come’on — 90210? Have the Paley programmers even watched the series?
If I programmed Paley, Julia Louis Dreyfus’ phenomenally underrated NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE would be honored well before relative newcomer THE BIG BANG THEORY. A timely look at the history of late night television featuring a panel of past, current and future hosts would be closing out the Festival rather than the already cancelled and little watched SWINGTOWN. While ABC Family’s GREEK would get some long overdue praise in place of 90210. The latter of which has absolutely no place in any television related festival unless of course it’s headlining a panel entitled, “How NOT to relaunch a cultural icon.”
And don’t even get me started on the inclusion of THE HILLS, because honestly, I’m at a loss for words. Or at the very least, words that are safe for work.