I’m gonna whip out the old student favorite and say “To a certain extent”.
I live mostly on Netflix so my opinion is going be slightly skewed but I have tried to do my research a bit.
Recently I’ve seen so many ‘dark’ TV Shows being advertised or added to Netflix, its making me miss some of the more light-hearted TV Shows from the 90s (*cough* Friends *cough*) and even just from a few years ago.
I’ll be first to admit I have a binge TV problem and it does affect my depression. Reading up on it I found I wasn’t the only one, The Guardian posted an article about it almost a year ago but I can’t help thinking its not only influenced by the amount of time you spend watching a single program.
13 Reasons Why
I haven’t watched a single episode of this show and didn’t really give it much thought till my Mum the other day said not to watch it. The explicit depictions of suicide have left more than a few teens triggered (and I don’t drop that T-bomb lightly) adding to my reluctance to give it the time of day. Whilst I understand its been critically acclaimed, I don’t think it’s the kind of show I would promote.
Pretty Little Liars
Another show that touches on difficult topics such as Eating Disorders and cyber bullying. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think we should sugar coat TV and avoid all topics potentially harmful to the more sensitive members of society but writers definitely could have done a better job of dealing with its portrayal of anorexia. I had to stop watching the show because the emphasis on being ‘thin’ outside of Hannah’s storyline (the character with an eating disorder history) made me extremely uncomfortable. Its annoying because I want to find out who A is!
Game of Thrones
This show celebrates and revels in depravity (Its a wonderful show) and I am glad its not on Netflix because I would binge watch the shit out of it.
Having watched the first season with my friend in Korea I did understand what all the hype is about but I don’t know if I could watch it every week.
This isn’t a post dissecting every TV show out there so I’m gonna stop there but I could easily add a few more to my bitch list.
For the record I’m not arguing for only sugar-coated TV shows in the slightest – one of my fave shows of all time is Penny Dreadful for fuck’s sake and that shit’s darker than American Horror Story sometimes.
Moving on …
There are some awesome TV shows that don’t dwell on the less-than-glamorous sides of humanity. The Flash, The Big Bang Theory and Once Upon A Time to name a few.
In my opinion the trends in Popular TV Shows aren’t doing anyone prone to Mental Health issues any favors but as with anything it all comes down to choice. You can choose to watch some of the darker shows or you can choose to stick to the safer and lighter options available.
There is definitely a correlation between mental health and TV in more ways than one. I think there could be more awareness of what tropes may trigger negative reactions from viewers amongst broadcasting networks and Netflix in particular actually.
We don’t need (or want) a massive song and dance at the beginning of each show but even a warning (I’m looking at you Netflix) that some shows have more explicit imagery or motifs that may unsettle viewers.
Okay rant over. I think I came to a conclusion. I dunno.