Friday night, CBS and Chevrolet decided to distract audiences during Threshold and perhaps NUMB3RS by embedding the new Chevy Impala logo into screens and background for the purposes of a contest. What is infuriating to me is that I like what CBS has been doing to their TV offerings and I've not only owned nothing but Chevy vehicles, I've actually had two excellent car rental experiences with recent Chevy Impalas -- and were I to actually buy a car, the Impala is one of the few I would consider. And then they have to mess directly with the integrity of my SF shows. Especially one like Threshold where searching for a particular fractal pattern on every computer and TV screen is "important" to the story. I hate begin manipulated. And distracted.
Has it come to this? For the past several years we have been subjected to intrusions on the periphery of our TV screens. At first it was just semi-transparent network and station logos floated into the corners. Okay, that's reasonable. Especially in an era of all these channels on cable, to say nothing of the presence of VCR and DVD recordings.
Then it was the weather. Sidescrolling tickers announcing severe weather alerts and such are no longer good enough. We now have to have mini-maps of the affected regions and they're getting bigger and bigger.
Next came the intrusive announcements for other shows. Little pictures, logos and times weren't annoying enough, so we started to have announcement "packages" which had to unfold, display and fold back up again, as if we wanted to watch Law & Order solely to see some damned animation for something irrelevant like Fear Factor. Finally, even as these displays have gotten bigger, they had to include sound during the show or movie. I seem to recall one a few months back that had a helicopter flying, hover and rumble, then fly off. Twice I couldn't hear the dialogue from the unimportant drama I actually wanted to watch. And you can forget trying to read credits or subtitles.
To be a successful ad, you have to remember what its for -- not that it was intrusive. For the most part, we aren't interested in the other shows they want to flog. And now, with the magic Impala logo, we're beginning to see a more intrusive product placement. What, dear God, is going to prevent the networks from rolling intrusive commercials during the programs?
This is a very, very, very bad precedent and needs to be nipped in the bud. Bad enough that I get "commercials" with my beloved movie previews before movies in both the movie theatre and DVDs.
The Interference Continues
And then in the NUMB3RS Season Premiere, a crucial bit of info was half obscured during the opening by the TV ratings logo. Don't they test these things? Doesn't CBS check to see what it is/will be broadcasting? It's not like the ratings logos were only invented last week.
It's like the original pan-and-scan VHS version of George Lucas' THX-1138, where one whole visual joke was lost because, though we saw the legend on the console which said something about NUMBER OF (robo) OFFICERS IN SERVICE, the actual number was clipped from the left of the shot.
Dr. Phil Giveth Praise And He Taketh Away
I am particularly frustrated because just the other day I was saying such nice things about CBS and their Friday night lineup of genre-ish shows. But screw around with the screen image I'm watching and I'm not so forgiving. I trust CBS to show the show, not implant false advertising/contest images.
CBS is now on my Rant Watch List
"For the world is hollow and I have touched the sky..."
The Truman Show was running on TNT during Saturday evening. One of those "we're running this over and over again" scheduling deals. Hadn't planned on watching it -- hadn't even noticed it in the schedule. But I ran across the ending as I flipped channels around. Then ran across it again on another run-through and watched more of it. I am not a huge Jim Carey fan, but when he's serious, as in The Truman Show or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, he can be very good. Emma Thompson, who started out doing comedy, has observed that comedians understand timing -- and that it is easier for a comedian to do serious drama, than for a dramatic actor to do comedy.