Sinces its inception, television as an entertainment medium has been in a state of constant evolution, from the early live broadcasts to the birth of scripted drama – TV has seen a variety of vogues over its lifetime.
One of the most controversial of these has to be the genre now known as reality TV. Starting its life as an attempt for true to life documentation of a situation, the reality format has since metamorphosed into something that, at its exremes, many now consider to be either grotesque or exploitative.
Reality TV is a general term that is used to describe any programming that takes as its main feature the unscripted action of a set of subjects. While at the tamer end of the scale the reality TV genre offers up documentaries that provide an insight into worlds that the view may not otherwise see, the genre also includes a number of offerings that are much less worthy.
With the prolifeation of cable and satellite television channels, there is more and more demand for programming to fill in schedule slots – and reality TV offers a relatively inexpesive way for producers to create shows to fill these spaces.
Low level reality TV production often involves the placement of subject in situations where the darkest areas of their lives and emotions are held up to the scrutiny and ridicule of audiences. With chat shows offering participants an opportunity to air their dirty laundry in public under the guise of providing guidance, and reality based gameshows tempting people to air the least appealing sides of their nature with the lure of a desirable prize.
Love it or hate it – reality TV looks set to stay.