It occurs to me that I probably should have written this post sooner, but I only just thought of it now. So shove it. The BBC's drama The Hour just wrapped up, I think last night or the night before. I don't know. I DVR'd it. It was six solid episodes of brilliant. It followed the production team of the eponymous news program, The Hour, particularly the investigations of reporter Freddie Lyons and the unpleasant attention his inquiries were drawing from MI6.
[[There was an image here, but it broke. Go look for a picture of Freddie Lyons.]]
I don't want to get too much into it, because I'd rather keep this spoiler-free for any of my hypothetical readers to check it out for themselves.
What I will say is that The Hour does something I see less and less in TV, which might be a trend, but could just as easily be quirks of the shows I'm watching and the time I have for TV. Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of my TV watching is sitcoms, Doctor Who, and whatever drama I've become enamored with, to the exclusion of everything else.
That quality is strength of message.
I mean, not every show needs a deep, resounding message pressed into every episode, but I find I like the shows that do a lot more. (Again, that might say more about me than about TV.) I think it's a sort of high-conceptness, not quite "Snakes on a Plane" high concept, but where you can sum up the moral lesson in a sentence.
"Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism." -- Doctor Who
"Moral ambiguity does not annihilate the distinction of right from wrong." -- House
"Reporters' tenacity in uncovering the story is heroic." -- The Hour
Sometimes, it can feel like you're getting beat over the head with the message of a work. But good TV, where they tell a story that has a strong message without making straw men out of the villains or getting overly saccharine about the point (Or hiding behind a false premise of comedy or satire to avoid responsibility*)... As I was saying, Good TV can tell an engaging story and keep the integrity of a solid moral. TV like that inspires people, and I sincerely believe it makes the world a better place.
Go watch The Hour.
*I love all those shows.