Industry News

Why does America crave heartbreaking TV? | Opinion

31 May, 2021

Television producers of America, consider this a plea for a return to laughter following an endless barrage of shows that—although critically acclaimed—have us audiences feeling panicked and desperate for some lightheartedness.

From HBO's latest, Mare of Easttown (granted, a very good show), to the network's The Undoing, Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere and even ABC's Big Sky, the vast majority of TV productions now premiering deal with heart-wrenching and downright depressing storylines that all seem to follow the same sort of formula: a mystery is solved by a strong woman, and on the way to semi-justice, the audience is shocked by revelations of infidelity, homicides, suicides, sexual predation and other horrible tragedies.

Yes, I know: Why change a formula that works? Because, well, the world is now different and the heartbreak, gruesomeness, injustice and racial inequality that have been dominating our TV screens are now our reality as well. And wasn't television conceived as an escape from the vicissitudes and heartbreaks of the everyday?

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