David Simon: Television Man Americans watch an average of 140 hours of television every month,  much of it devoted to the “real” lives of people whose highest ambition  is to be on your TV screen. The majority of the rest relies on tired  tropes meant to build audience numbers and nothing more.
The worlds David Simon creates for television are different beasts. There’s his highly acclaimed series The Wire, which looks at all avenues of American life through the lens of the drug trade; Generation Kill, a miniseries about Marines moving toward Baghdad at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Treme, an exploration of post-Katrina New Orleans that is slated to enter its third season on HBO.
“American  entertainment and television especially have been constructed to make  viewers comfortable,” says Simon. He looks to television to do something  more in line with the long tradition of storytellers in many media,  especially those “who attempt to use their medium for the purposes of  making political, social, and economic arguments.” The fact that  television has until recently been “a juvenile mechanism for  storytelling” doesn’t mean it must continue to be so. There’s now the  opportunity for television to be “darker, more political, and more  politically honest,” says Simon.
David Simon was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011.
Keep reading …

David Simon: Television Man Americans watch an average of 140 hours of television every month, much of it devoted to the “real” lives of people whose highest ambition is to be on your TV screen. The majority of the rest relies on tired tropes meant to build audience numbers and nothing more.

The worlds David Simon creates for television are different beasts. There’s his highly acclaimed series The Wire, which looks at all avenues of American life through the lens of the drug trade; Generation Kill, a miniseries about Marines moving toward Baghdad at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Treme, an exploration of post-Katrina New Orleans that is slated to enter its third season on HBO.

“American entertainment and television especially have been constructed to make viewers comfortable,” says Simon. He looks to television to do something more in line with the long tradition of storytellers in many media, especially those “who attempt to use their medium for the purposes of making political, social, and economic arguments.” The fact that television has until recently been “a juvenile mechanism for storytelling” doesn’t mean it must continue to be so. There’s now the opportunity for television to be “darker, more political, and more politically honest,” says Simon.

David Simon was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011.

Keep reading …