Last month, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards show garnered the lowest TV ratings in the event’s history, with less than seven million viewers, a 32-percent drop from the previous year’s record low of 10 million. I didn’t even know the thing was on (not that I would have watched if I did), although I used to enjoy it years ago when I could still recognize a few of the nominees. Cable channel multiplication and alternate media alone cannot account for the steep drop in television interest, so clearly there are other root causes. I submit two: intersectional extremism and — the usual suspect in the death of entertainment — feminism.
Only one new network show, Prodigal Son, has a white male lead. Even granting the fact that Caucasian men dominated the small screen for close to 70 years and so moving over a bit makes sense in 2019, we still represent 36 percent of America. And while we applaud good minority-driven series like Empire (minus Jussie Smollett), we’d still appreciate the occasional representative hero, say, a Jim Rockford, Sonny Crockett, or Captain Kirk, as would traditional female viewers. In fact, many women, including professional ones, would also enjoy a show about a stay-at-home mom or a romantic girl, but none are to be found. That’s because today’s Hollywood producers don’t just ignore the large potential audience; they disdain it — indirectly through intersectional fare, yet quite noticeably. And wise persons avoid going to places where they’re unwelcome, such as the modern TV landscape.
I took a look at the new fall season’s primetime network schedule to see which freshman shows a conservative like myself — one of a group that comprises half the country — might want to watch. I confined my research to dramas on the four original networks, since politically incorrect comedy is as dead as Roseanne Barr’s career. I assessed, in broadcast order, the premise of each new series, the plotline of its second episode, its woke factor, and whether these elements give a positive or negative impression. Here are my findings.
All Rise (CBS). Premise: Judge Lola Carmichael dishes out justice for the people of Los Angeles (“justice” here clearly excludes getting homeless people off the streets). Episode 2 plotline: When an immigration agent pursues a defendant in Lola’s courtroom, she must fend him off. Woke factor: Crusading black female judge protagonist; anti-ICE/anti-Trump alert. Impression: Negative.
Prodigal Son (Fox). Premise: Criminal psychologist Malcolm Bright draws on his background as the son of a serial killer to advance his career. Episode 2 plotline: As Bright slips into the mind of a serial killer, he must deal with the repercussions of seeing his father for the first time in years. Woke factor: Irrelevant. Tired serial killer–mind hunter cliché. Impression: Negative.
Bluff City Law (NBC). Premise: Brilliant lawyer Sydney Strait joins her liberal lion father’s Memphis law firm in the belief that it’s her best chance to change the world (into Venezuela). Episode 2 teaser: Sydney eviscerates a squirming white male on the stand. “You’re twisting my words,” he cries. “No, sir, your words are twisted,” she snaps back (in truly awful writing). Woke factor: SJW female lawyer protagonist. Impression: Negative.
Emergence (ABC). Premise: A police chief takes in a young girl she finds near the site of a mysterious accident. Episode 2 plotline: Jo and Chris try to identify the sinister forces coming after Piper (probably a Christian cult). Woke factor: Female police chief protagonist. Impression: Negative.
Almost Family (Fox). Premise: Julia Benchley discovers two new sisters after her fertility doctor father reveals he conceived dozens of children (happens all the time). Episode 2 plotline: Julia is haunted by her new reality. Woke factor: Irrelevant. Three female protagonists is standard for a chick show. Impression: Positive for women only.
Stumptown (ABC). Premise: Army veteran Dex Parios works as a private investigator in Portland. Episode 2 moot. Woke factor: Female private eye protagonist. Impression: Highly negative.
Evil (CBS). Premise: Agnostic psychologist Kristen Bouchard joins trainee priest David Acosta in investigating the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries. Episode 2 plotline: Kristen and David investigate a supposed miracle when a teenage girl comes back to life after being declared dead for two hours. Woke factor: Female and black male co-protagonists, possibly offset by the strong Christian element. Impression: Positive.
Judging by the new TV season, I suspect next year’s Emmy ceremony will get even lower ratings. Fortunately, there’s Turner Classic Movies to keep me watching television. To indulge in more recent non-woke entertainment, however, I recently went to the movies to see Rambo: Last Blood, a film enjoying great box-office success ($40 million after three weeks in the top 10) despite — or perhaps because of — critical handwringing over its “toxic” white male hero dispatching Mexican “bad hombres.” Variety warned, “Suddenly, the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border seems inadequate — less in containing the cartels than in protecting them from Rambo’s brand of vigilante justice.”
But before the movie started, I sat through four trailers: 21 Bridges, starring Chadwick (Black Panther) Boseman as a disgraced NYPD detective; Black and Blue, with Naomie Harris trying to balance her identity as a black woman and her role as a police officer; Gemini Man, with hitman Will Smith battling a younger clone of himself; and Midway, which probably would have had female fighter pilots attacking the Japanese fleet if the producers thought they could get away with it historically. I suspect next year’s Oscars won’t fare much better than the Emmys.