Mad men had terrible ratings. Why? Well, people are interested in different things. And with CSI and American Idle being so popular, perhaps we live in the age of stupid. On the other hand, we are talking about TV, shouldn't smart people be reading books?
With literacy rates sky high, an interesting phenomena in the English speaking world are books aimed at the stupid masses and TV shows aimed at an intelligent audience. Both are fairly fragmented niche markets. Most stupid people still don't read much and, when they have jobs, the educated don't spend that much time in front of the idiot box. You, for example, have access to 150 TV channels, and yet you are reading this blog.
When shown with no ads, perhaps shows like Mad Men and House of Cards make even less sense. Assuming their target audience does indeed watch less TV, you'd think they could attract a premium from advertisers. On the other hand, educated smart people tend to earn more, so perhaps they are the ones willing to pay more for AMC and Netflix. Apparently, even in the age of digital video recorders, product placement still isn't that lucrative.
The problem with intelligent TV is that most of us get tired, drunk or surround ourselves with ignorant people (our children, for example). We can also surf the net, tweet, or read a magazine while watching TV. So we can watch stupid TV. However, it takes alot of effort to watch something when you don't quite get it. Try watching something in your second language. There better be a lot of nudity, because without subtitles, you are going to be reaching for the remote. And even when there are subtitles, most of us are at least slightly put off when presented with a movie or series in a spoken language that is going to require alot of reading. Watching smart TV requires a certain level of alertness on your part and that of your partner. It is generally not advised in the presence of stupid people (aka your teenagers). At any given time, smart TV has a limited audience.
To be fair, neither Mad Men nor the House of Cards require a particularly high knowledge level or intelligence to be enjoyed. And if I still have your attention, you are probably not that smart either (nor am I, as my B.S. degree attained with a C+ average attests).
So what's the conclusion? Frankly I've lost interest. Now where did I put that US IP address? I need to watch Prisoners of War (Israeli version of Homeland) on Hulu before my contact lenses dry up.
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