You've heard me complain a lot about the dumbing down of movies to appeal to the 13-18 demographic that has become the primary audience for movies. Adults are staying in to watch cable, streaming and even network television rather than venture out to the movie theater.
So how have the networks and cable responded to this gradual movement to home theater? By stepping up their game. How many people remember the public fervor created when True Blood had a sex scene where Bill turned the woman's head 180 degrees, just so he wouldn't have to look at her.
Sons of Anarchy has some severe violence and drug use. The Walking Dead has corpses walking the streets with their guts hanging out and people being literally eaten and ripped apart. It's not exactly a family affair and much of this stuff would have made it an R-rating.
American Horror Story has bare butts and words that sometimes would even make me blush. We've got twinkling vampires in Twilight and steamy sex and violence on True Blood. This whole area is dedicated to R-movies and yet what truly deserves an R-rating is on television. Sure, you're still getting a few R-movies, but the not very many. Studios shoot for PG-13, but television is shooting for the R these days.
HBO with True Blood and Game of Thrones and Showtime with Dexter can how everything from breasts to beheadings. Basic cable has little less leeway, but they're breaking the bonds of the past. It's not just about old syndicated sitcoms and reality television. Even the networks are pushing past the usual boundaries because they can't compete with the cable companies.