A decade ago, entertainment coverage began using the term “peak television” and since then the number of shows hoping to find an audience has double. East Hollywood currently produced 559 original scripted series, with no end in sight thanks to more than a dozen major streaming services.
This glut of television comes at a time of momentous change and needed awareness. On the one hand, billion-dollar media companies – including the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery, which operates HBO Max, is entering a heated competition for streaming subscribers. A dozen major players exist todaybut observers predict only half of them will survive in the next few years.
Equally important, several of the top streamers ticked off conservative parents with their blatant progressive advocacy. Disney made headlines after several of its creative executives spoke of a “no secret gay agenda” and “adding homosexuality” into children’s programming. The next from the entertainment company earnings call can reveal whether Disney has experienced any declines.
Meanwhile, the contestants’ supposed family titles have been equally problematic, with Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitters Club” featuring a biological boy (who identifies as transgender) in the girls’ club; HBO Max’s racy “Euphoria” targeting teens; and “Rugratsand Paramount Plus’ “Big Nate” that take pot humor to new lows.
So is there anything good? Anyone who started an overhyped reboot just to bail out quickly knows Hollywood’s frustration at adding unnecessary stuff. And as the outdoors invites itself, many people are ditching screens and jumping into real flows with running water. Still, during downtime, those looking for entertainment that also provides food for enlightening discussion may find these four recent TV entries up to snuff.
1. The Hardy Boys, Season 2 (Family Mystery, TV-PG, Hulu)
Detective brothers Frank and Joe Hardy return in the second season of mystery series ‘The Hardy Boys’. While other nostalgia-packed reboots (read: “Nancy Drew” and “Riverdale”) have added explicit content, this tween-friendly TV adaptation feels straight from one of the Hardy brothers’ more than 300 school novels so as the boys stumble into another adventure in a small town in Maine.
This time around, the brothers work with their detective father, Fenton, as the disappearance of a friend leads them to a dark underground operation. Several elements from the first season reappear, including the mystery surrounding their mother’s death and a seemingly supernatural object called the Eye.
The stakes rise, as the action becomes more explosive and their friends are shaken by the losses. They must detect not only clues but also personal betrayals to uncover the truth in this show that many families have enjoyed together.
2. Star Trek: Picard, Season 2 (Sci-Fi, TV-MA, Paramount Plus)
Renowned star of stage and screen, Sir Patrick Stewart returns to his most iconic role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in this intriguing series that brings together characters from various past incarnations of “Star Trek”. While it’s supposed to move the story forward, in this case Picard and his team venture into the “past” (essentially our own present) in a time-traveling vanity that allows the show to commentate current issues and cultural trends.
Themes of memory, trauma, and the passage of time are at the forefront of the season’s story. Still, viewers must navigate aspects of progressive ideology, such as a biased portrayal of US immigration and customs as purely harmful and romantic same-sex relationships between certain supporting characters. (Although Whoopi Goldberg reprises her role in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” it’s unrelated to her outspoken liberalism in “The View.”)
For those wishing to avoid some content issues – not as pronounced as other recent Trek shows – “Star Trek: Picard” has enough real-life stories and ideas to chew on.
3. Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary Series, TV-14, Discovery Plus)
Following several high-profile scandals — from Willow Creek for Mark Driscoll’s Mega-Churches and beyond – many Christians have rethought how certain models of doing church require better accountability. Premiere just days before Hillsong’s Brian Houston resigned as the world’s senior pastor, “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed” provides insight into the troubling scandals that have entwined Pentecostal-evangelical power.
With a focus on the misdeeds of the pastor of Hillsong in New York Carl Lentz, who allegedly had several affairs and misused church funds, he sometimes goes into sordid details. Overall, the account draws on religious journalists, first-hand interviews with alleged victims, and several prominent evangelical voices to understand how ambition, money, and image became determining factors. for church leadership. Perhaps Hillsong offers a case study for the whole church to consider.
4. The Dropout (True Crime Drama, TV-MA, Hulu)
Today, audiences can’t get enough of true crime dramas, especially an emerging subgenre of high-stakes scam thrillers, with current “WeCrashed” (the downfall of WeWork) and upcoming examples.” The Big Conn” (about half of Eric Conn). one billion in social security fraud). Still, it’s “The Dropout” that examines med-tech company Theranos that’s perhaps the best of the current crop, despite some foul language and a few steamy, easy-to-skip (and unnecessary) scenes.
As ambitious as its protagonist, Elizabeth Holmes, who posed as a female Steve Jobs to revolutionize medical technology, the series stars Amanda Seyfried (“First Reformed”) in a role that is both serious, part turn of sleight of hand and above all without mixing. narcissism. Holmes’ self-confidence tricked Larry Ellison, Henry Kissinger, Jim Mattis and dozens of other power players.
Although this series should have been limited to more than six episodes, cutting out superfluous scenes from Holmes’ morning routine, it’s likely to win multiple Emmys for good reason.
Josh Shepherd covers culture, faith and public policy for several outlets, including The Stream. His articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion & Politics, Faithfully Magazine, Religion News Service and Providence Magazine. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he previously worked on staff at The Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family. Josh and his wife live in the Washington, DC area with their two children.