In his opening monologue at the Emmy Awards in September, host Jimmy Kimmel noted that cable networks accounted for all the shows in the outstanding drama category in 2012.
“The Academy is sending a clear message,” Kimmel said. “And that message is, ‘Show us your boobs.’ ”
That’s Lena Dunham of Girls in the above picture, by the way, taking Kimmel’s advice to heart – or is it having her cake and eating it, too? – in the opening bit that kicked off the Emmys.
True enough, boobs are the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems, to paraphrase Homer Simpson (he was talking about alcohol). But it actually is more complicated when it comes to TV.
The calendar year 2012 continued the trend of viewers peeling off to specialty programming and specialty channels, as the big broadcast networks try to figure out where they fit in the future of television.
The past year also saw a significant increase in the amount of internet-first “TV” programming, through services such as Netflix and the like.
Genre-wise, there has been a notable push in the past year toward fantasy, at least when it comes to drama. Shows such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time and American Horror Story remind us that when real life gets boring, we always can make something up.
Isn’t it strange that in some ways we now expect our comedies to be more grounded than our dramas? When an alien-based sitcom like The Neighbors comes along, many people turn up their noses because it’s too “ridiculous.” But some of those same people happily will watch Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead and think, “Wow, great art.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just amusing when you think of it that way.
So looking back at TV in 2012, we’ll remember zombies and dwarves, good wives and mad men, drug dealers and high-class schemers, butlers and bootleggers.
And boobs. Lots and lots of boobs.