Industry News

Welcome to TV’s era of peak redundancy

19 November, 2021

It’s nine in the evening, sometime during this endless post-lockdown liminal period, and I’m curled up on the sofa, clicking listlessly through streaming menus in search of my sedative of choice—dark teen dramas—when my vision starts to blur. Is 'Who Killed Sara?' the new high school murder show I’ve been meaning to watch? Or 'Cruel Summer'? 'The Wilds'? 'One of Us Is Lying'? The screen swims. I have to shut my overwhelmed eyes.

The condition is not entirely new, and though it only seems to flare up when I’m watching television, it has worsened over time. Which is concerning, because I am a TV critic. It presented, in early 2019, in the form of double vision: two documentaries, from Netflix and Hulu, about the disastrous Fyre Festival. Since then I’ve blinked through dueling originals on fashion design, Wu-Tang Clan, 9/11. Some of them are news-driven (proliferating Britney Spears docs), some seasonal ('Baking Impossible', 'Bake Squad', 'Baker’s Dozen', 'Baking It'), some the repetition of a microgenre (rich people at a resort in HBO’s 'The White Lotus', rich people at a resort in Hulu’s lesser 'Nine Perfect Strangers').

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