Four More Years: Another Cultural Anniversary

For the first few years of a blog’s life, every milestone is…well, a milestone.

When you get through your first year, it’s a reflection of your own resolve: how many blogs appear and then disappear, start out as an exciting exercise and end up a relic of an earlier commitment to productivity?

Your second year, meanwhile, is a statement against the haters. Haters is probably an overly strong term, but there are always those who doubt that the commitment to a lightly read blog is worth the time and effort, so getting through a second year is a signal that you have no intention of giving into such skepticism.

By the time you reach your third year, however, it’s a reflection of your readers. Stubbornness can keep you writing for a couple of years, but by the time you reach three it means that there are people who are reading, people who make writing that much more satisfying.

I think, though, that the fourth year may be the point at which milestones stop feeling like milestones. It isn’t that I am unsatisfied with the fact that this blog has come a very long way since January 17th, 2007, and I have no doubt that the third-year university student sitting in a Politics of Mass Media lecture would laugh in my face were I to go back in time and inform him that his blog would be far closer to the mass media than he could ever imagine in four years’ time; it’s just that the first-year PhD student has become sort of comfortable with what the blog has become, its existence having become so much a part of my daily life that time just doesn’t seem as important.

This is Post #1994 in the blog’s existence, a number which would be higher if I had not purged some of the early posts which had no relationship to television. In an ideal world, there would be another 1994 by 2015, but I sincerely doubt this will be the case: the days of such intense productivity may be behind me for the foreseeable future, left to the summer months and to brief spurts where I simply can’t keep myself away from tackling the bounty of television at hand.

For now, though, a bit of a trip through Cultural Learnings history: I’ve gone back into the archives and pulled out a post from on (or around) January 17th from each of the past four years. They’re probably not the ideal way to chart the blog’s evolution (although keeping the typos intact demonstrates my early lack of commitment to even the most basic copy editing), but I think it’s a reflection of what a four-year anniversary means in the blogosphere: at a certain point, milestones stop being about the blogger and start being about the blog itself.

So, Happy Birthday, Cultural Learnings – you’ve been good to me.

A Lesson in Post-Super Bowl Programming

Date: January 18th, 2007

This might be the only time this season that Criminal Minds has a chance to engage younger viewers and hope to pull them away from Idol. They need to change their fundamental style, not just throw in every cliche in the book. They need to mix things up a little, create an event out of this episode. Really, both Grey’s Anatomy and Alias had it right. Episodes that opened with some T&A, and then went into plotlines that went above and beyond what the show had done previously. Alias completely changed in “Phase One.” I guess I’ve given up hope that Criminal Minds can do the same.

I’ve written about this subject a few times, and will be returning to it again with Glee this year, but this first post has some silly rhetoric that would be quickly abandoned in subsequent posts. However, it was the first bit of “blogging” I did after my initial introductory post, so it’s a nice archive of the early stabs at writing about TV.

Cultural Listening: The Watchers Podcast

Date: January 16th, 2008

…on Monday evening I was the honoured guest of Dave, Devindra and Adam on The Watchers Podcast. While the podcast is mostly focused on film, something more universal for the three normal contributors, my inclusion brought out a bit more TV discussion of shows like 30 Rock and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles…well, it would have if my microphone wasn’t a “JWin” and as a result much of it has been (rightly) cut out.

The Watchers would, of course, go on to become the /Filmcast, and this brief visit would become one of many – it’s always great to chat with Dave/Devindra/Adam on a wide range of subjects, and it’s nice to see how this date’s history reflects our shared journeys.

Season (Series?) Finale: Friday Night Lights – “Tomorrow Blues”

Date: January 17th, 2009

I guess it makes sense, really: in what could be a bittersweet experience balancing the joy of getting a third season and the reality of a fourth being quite skeptical, it makes sense that as the show lays groundwork for a fourth season the balance of things would feel at least somewhat out of whack. It’s natural that we get the “Tomorrow Blues” as we transition from one moment to the next, but at least the tradition brings us another fine episode in a strong season.

The fourth and fifth seasons of Friday Night Lights have been so engrossing that I sometimes forget that there was a moment when we weren’t sure whether they would even exist – I really like the idea of episodic reviews as a sort of archive of popular opinion, but here a review captures a moment in time for a series that would live on until 2011.

Series Premiere: Human Target – “Pilot”

Date: January 16th, 2010

By building that show around three very likeable and talented actors, and by crafting a relationship between them that has just the right balance of mistrust and respect, the show creates the kind of “setup” that promises to be exactly what you expect it to be. There’s something comforting about that, something that has proved to be an admirable quality with other series that I’ve grown to be quite a fan of – I’m hopeful the same happens here.

It seems like so long ago that Human Target was fun and watchable, doesn’t it?


Filed under Cultural Learnings

3 responses to “Four More Years: Another Cultural Anniversary

  1. Tausif Khan

    Are you going to start your own podcast?

  2. AO

    Congratulations on the Anniversary and your success Myles!

    I only arrived here when you began watching Buffy, but in that time it’s definitely been an interesting and enjoyable experience. I can’t always find the time to comment on every post that you write, but I read the majority of them and appreciate that there have been so many insightful and enjoyable subjects and posts. I’m looking forward to the quality of that which is to come, no matter the quantity. 🙂

  3. AO

    “It seems like so long ago that Human Target was fun and watchable, doesn’t it?”

    It’s funny that you would say that. I had also felt similarly, but was pleasantly surprised by last week’s Episodes (9 & 10). The show indeed impressed me (in Human Target terms, obviously it would still suffer if compared to something such as The Wire) as it hadn’t for some time. I’m no TV critic or expert of course, but if you haven’t had the time to check either of those 2 Episodes out, and find some time and yourself in the mood, then I would encourage you to do so.

    It would be quite disappointing if the show finally is finding it’s footing just prior to it’s (almost) inevitable cancelation, but that wouldn’t surprise me. There are many past examples of shows that imo took a little while to find their footing. Programs like Fringe, Buffy, ST: TNG and Babylon 5 are just a few of the many programs that had the time to experiment, gel, build on those elements that worked, refurbish or eliminate those that didn’t, and flourish for having been allowed to do so. Perhaps HT might have become such, but if the past two Episodes are any indication, then hopefully it will at least go out on a high note.

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