Charlie Sheen may not have been a harbinger of the apocalypse, but the fact that Two And A Half Men is considered the most popular sitcom ever and that Sheen's journey into Crazyville received more media coverage than the death of Osama bin Laden does not bode well for our old friend TV.
Getting all the parts together for a TV show--actors, writers, producers, directors--only accounts for a fraction of the work necessary to make television. Much of the rest of the work includes getting picked up by a network, ratings, contract negotiations, etc. The provocative, witty stuff may not be able to secure the financial backing that a homogenized, milquetoast offering does.
Although some network television is great, there's plenty of evidence that what is on network TV (ahem, Two And A Half Men) and what is not (Arrested Development) should be switched. So we should all run like lemmings to the edge of a cliff, stop before we jump over, put our smart little furry heads together and say, "Let's stop watching stupid sitcoms and make our own stuff to watch."
Websites like Ustream are full of user-made content that is not only pleasing to our eyes and ears but feeds our intellectual and emotional needs as well. Yes, we still have to put up with things like "Chat Live with Dr. Phil," but you can also catch an Adam Carolla interview or a live chat with NASA astronauts currently on a mission high above the Earth. And no matter what time you log on, you can watch the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam--five puppies sleeping in a big puppy bed--or a hummingbird nest that has had a camera trained on it since 2007. OK, not all of it is worth watching. Maybe there's a Two And A Half Men rerun on right now.