Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Some good and hopeful news for the forces of light came out the Television Critics Association meetings with network execs.

From The Hollywood Reporter: “I can’t imagine a protagonist darker than Walter White [of Breaking Bad]. I think that’s the end of the road for out-darking each other,” (FX Chief John) Landgraf said of the cable space’s decade-long love affair with the exceedingly dark antihero, be it Tony Soprano, The Shield’s Vic Mackey or White…Landgraf suggested that his network is instead moving back to the middle with series like Justified. He added: “This nuclear arms race of darkness has ended.”

Also from The Hollywood Reporter: As the entertainment chief at Showtime, (David) Nevins gets pitched every kind of reprehensible anti-hero imaginable. And since his is a destination where “your license is sex, violence and bad behavior,” as he puts it, he’s more able than most to push the envelope with regard to how reprehensible his characters can be. But Nevins used the TCA stage to argue that his latest antihero, Ray Donovan, is representative of a pendulum shift away from the particularly dark characters that have come to populate the cable landscape. “We’re now seeing some movement back to the middle,” he suggests, noting: “I don’t think you can go much further to the left of what Bryan Cranston is doing on Breaking Bad.”

Taken together, a pretty good indication the heads of two of the edgiest networks out there that momentum is no longer with dark entertainment. I just hope they realize that viewers aren’t just seeking less dark programming. They actually want bright and optimistic fare that actually celebrates the best in us.

From The Hollywood Reporter (in 2012): “The eyeballs are there,” insists Paradigm agent Michael Van Dyck, who is building a business focused on bringing faith brands, including established authors, therapists and musical acts, to TV and film. “In this economy, people are starving to see real characters that have a relationship with God on the air. And as soon as one of those shows hits, whichever executive is behind it will appear to be a genius.”

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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