Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 06/20/24

Unhappiness is trending. As VideoAge reports the recent SXSW Conference on the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture drew particular attention for a panel called Building Brands in the Unhappiness Era. The discussion came as the United States fell out of the list of 20 happiest countries as compiled by the World Happiness Report.

VideoAge quotes Great American Media CEO Bill Abbott as saying “Each of us (TV content providers and broadcasters) must be intentional in choosing (content) positively. Media literacy and controlling what comes into our home is as much viewer responsibility as it is media responsibility. Yes, we, as an industry, should reflect on and be conscious of, the content we are creating.” He noted this his own company’s growing ratings is an indication that the audience is, in fact, seeking out positive content and that “Most blue-chip advertisers want to invest in content that reflects the positivity of their brands.”

Abbott (who has  had previous success building the Hallmark Channel brand) understands that creating programming positive content is a path to financial success for savvy program providers. I think he would also agree that it can be a moral calling. Our country is thirsty for an antidote to the current cultural onslaught of negativity, fear, entitlement and division. Putting forth programming that reflects the universal and eternal values of faith, family, optimism, discipline, forgiveness, tolerance, gratitude, good humor and sense of positive God-given purpose is a moral good.  If television creators would  put for those values it would be a significant step toward getting back on that top 20 list of happiest nations.
Sticking the landing. TVLine just put out its choices for the 30 best TV series finales of all time. A lot of them I can agree with. Some I think are overrated. Some I didn’t catch because I never got into the shows that led up to them. I do know that, as a TV fan, I enjoy few things more than a great show that nails the ending. ‘

Here’s my list of five TV series finales that sent their shows out in style. These shows, I believe, also artfully present the values I write about above in a non-preachy and compelling way.

The Big Bang Theory (2019)
When Amy and Sheldon win the Nobel Prize in Physics, Sheldon’s growth as a person is revealed.

Everybody Loves Raymond (2005)
The Barone family may  have fought a lot but this finale (inexplicably left off the TVLine list) demonstrated the rarely expressed love that was always present. And, of course, they all really do love Raymond.

The Fugitive (1967)
This show pretty much invented the TV series finale and its exciting conclusion still holds up as one of the best. The physical struggle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of truth is a thrill to watch.

NYPD Blue (2005)
Along with Everybody Loves Raymond, 2005 offered another classic series finale that was ignored by TVLine. Over twelve seasons, NYPD Blue chronicled the redemption of Andy Sipowicz (brilliantly portrayed by Dennis Franz) from an alcoholic and bigoted detective to a man who found God and conquered his demons. A TV masterpiece.

Young Sheldon (2004)
The most recent finale on this list (which was also given the cold shoulder by TVLine), this Big Bang Theory prequel finale also ingeniously carries the story of its parent show forward. Great writing.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

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

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