He shares that today’s shows have a Sleeper Curve which challenges humans to think while watching. Johnson also states that multi-threading is very common in TV programs now unlike in earlier shows such as “Starksy & Hutch” or “Dragnet”. (p. 51) He goes on further to say that this new practice of watching TV has brought on other benefits aside from a smarter audience. The change in TV shows has made more money for the entertainment industry, more complex shows and a more intelligent audience.
Steven Johnson writes that “the Sleeper Curve is the single most important new force altering the mental development of young people today, and I believe it is largely a force for good: enhancing our cognitive faculties, not dumbing them down” (p. 50). The Sleeper Curve is the entertainment’s way of making culture smarter. It is evident in the gradual layering of plots in TV programs such as “24” where a single scene can present more than one plot. In earlier generations, a show’s plot was so simple. “The Nanny” was a series that revolved around an unconventional nanny who managed an uptight British widower’s household and took care of his kids. “Beverly Hills 90210” was about a group of teenagers trying to survive high school. “Melrose Place” gave audiences a glimpse of the lives of people living in an apartment complex. The stories in these shows and other similar ones were easy enough to understand that missing one episode would not affect understanding of the whole story. They did little to get the viewers glued to the screen. People watched without exerting much effort in critical thinking and analysis. Nowadays, however, shows like “Prisonbreak”, “24”, “Sopranos”, “CSI: Las Vegas” and the like cause viewers to eagerly anticipate and theorize why particular events happened or what events would probably ...
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