When humans first brought TVs into their homes, they did it so they could sit around the living room once or twice a week and laugh. Variety shows and comedy shows made up the bulk of television programming. It was fun.
Sitcoms continued to be the foundation of TV right through the eras of Life of Riley, Lucy, Honeymooners, Bewitched, Beverly Hillbillies, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier…. We talked about them at work or school the next day. Laughed all over again. You could even watch the the reruns (now knows as encore performances) over and over and they were still fun.
It was half an hour out of your evening and if you missed a week or two it was no big deal because there was no ongoing plot to follow.
Then TV introduced a sprinkling of dramas: lots of police dramas, one or two medical dramas, some mini-series, night-time soaps, and suddenly you had to tune in every week or become hopelessly lost.
Then there was a writer’s strike, (1988) so someone got the bright idea to cash in on the love of police drama by throwing a camera guy into the back of a police cruiser and COPS was born.
That was so successful that I guess the TV people decided they could do away with writers altogether and have much more captive audience if they just started churning out reality shows, one after another. And the TV audience ate it up with a big, shiny spoon.
So now, while there are maybe one or two intelligent shows left, most dramas just aim for maximum gross-out factor and the situation comedy just doesn’t even exist anymore. There are some lame attempts — shows that aim for cynical, urbane wit, or just plain stupidity, and maybe there’s something wrong with me, but they make my eyes glaze over. There are a few animated comedies that are funny, but in a very sad way. There’s nothing that’s laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-the-face funny anymore.
Have we all lost our sense of humour? Would we really not rather spend our precious free time engaging in a good laugh instead of watching Horatio Kane take his sunglasses on and off and shoot people?
I love a good sitcom. I don’t want to be held hostage to the TV. I don’t want to have to watch a show every week. I sure don’t want to spend my leisure time watching one idiot after another competing for a big wad of cash by having cruel, disgusting things done to them or by doing cruel, disgusting things to each other.
 Law & Order is the only drama that does not have a continuing plot line which it continues to be the only one I watch