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February 1995, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
John McInnes <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 Feb 1995 12:28:42 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
On Mon, 30 Jan 1995 [log in to unmask] wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Charles' posting again resorts to the use of expletives in characterizing
> non-PBS fare. Are American Movie Classics, TNT, Bravo, C-Span, CNN,
> Nickelodeon, etc. not quality channels? Especially for film and television
> studies, don't Nick at Nite and AMC do a better job than PBS?
The essential difference between PBS and AMC, et al, is that PBS is
*public broadcasting*.  While a variety of cable networks--notably
Bravo--provide excellent programming, their very nature results in
limited access to that programming.  Many areas of this country lack
cable service; those that *are* "cabled" often lack a quality selection
of channels (case in point:  locally, Time-Warner Cable added "Channel Z"
to their system in lieu of Comedy Central).  Furthermore, cable
television demands monetary recompense for its delights.  Conventional
broadcasting is available to *all* people in practically every area;
public broadcasting generally provides the best of this fare.  Cable
alternatives to PBS offer programming of equivalent quality--though, as
mentioned before, this programming is frequently recycled from PBS.  But
the unique strength of PBS is that it makes quality programming available
to as large an audience as possible.
> Also, how about some discussion of the PBS "American Cinema" series. What did
> people think?
I have found AMERICAN CINEMA to be quite entertaining thus far, though
its (necessary) appeal to a mass audience occasionally undermines its
potential interest. The primary flaw of the series is an over-reliance
on brief film clips; i'd like to see more actual discussion from the
participating commentators.  I'll also be extremely disappointed if the
series doesn't devote significant time to independent film.  Still, it's
appealing, albiet lightweight, viewing.
                                                John McInnes
                                                University of Illinois