are we there yet?

Memory Monday – When TV Went to Bed at Night

As we enter the home stretch of the time known as Waiting for Bump, I’m saving up little projects that can be done at night for the anticipated boring hours of feeding and sleeplessness. There’s a few TV shows and movies included to watch for when my brain doesn’t want to really get involved (Next Top Model anyone?). People have started offering me the tidbits of helpful advice too, which to be honest I really don’t mind.

Last week one person mentioned that the big thing for her was the amount of crap on TV at 2am. Apparently she watched more 24 hour news than was good for anyone. That got me thinking about how lucky we are to have 24 hour news at all. I remember as a kid that if you happened to get up too early on a weekend all you would find was the image above accompanied by classical music. For those too young to remember, it’s a television test pattern. TV stations would actually close down at night and play something like this instead. I’m fairly sure that there was some random channel that did this almost forever – but that may have been SBS waiting for soft porn time so that they could show those weird foreign films.

In a way I miss those days. TV seemed to have some kind of comforting orderliness to it. There was cartoons before school, breakfast shows at around the time you were leaving for school, bad American soaps in the middle of the day following by game shows at about the time we’d come home from school. Next would be some kind of bad Aussie soap and then the news followed by current affairs shows, a feature show and then a movie and then the late news and the whole thing would close down for the night. You knew exactly what time of day to watch the kind of show you wanted to see. Now we seem to just have an endless number of channels devoted to utter drivel or looping repeats – even the repeats don’t play full seasons, they seem to just keep repeating the same 12 episodes.

I kind of get the feeling that back when TV went to bed at night there was a little more care taken with showing quality, more effort placed into winning viewers. What do you think? Has TV gone downhill since the days of the test patterns where you live?