Evan Brown

SAINT JOSEPH, MI – In the cesspool of sewage and used dentures that is 2018, there is enough media to sink a very large cruise ship taped to the world’s largest floaties. Alright, so that was a weak metaphor, but the bottom line is there is a lot of media. So much, in fact, that one must be very selective of what they watch.

FX, an offshoot of Fox, has been in operation since 1994, and while they are cable television channel, they are known for their critically acclaimed original series. These series have been said to inspire subscription services like HBO and Showtime in their quality. So why is there original content so good?

Their strength lies in their ability to recognize what makes creators talent and vision so individual and tap into that talent without corrupting it. This results in two things: one, creators who might not have been able to execute their vision now have an avenue to do so, and two, they are not afraid to make something that might not appeal to the industry standards and may even push the boundaries of modern television.

And while not all their shows are top tier (*cough cough* Chozen) the ones that do well are increible. Take Donald & Stephen Glover’s surreal comedy/drama masterpiece, Atlanta (2016-present). It is healed by critics as “fresh” and “revolutionary,” but what exactly makes it that?

A television show about a young and struggling musician trying to make it in the industry is nothing new. But that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about relationships, race, real human problems, and sometimes invisible cars. Atlanta doesn’t care who’s watching.

Typically if a show or film wants to be controversial or make a political statement, it throws whatever taboo issue it deals with in the audience’s face, as if to say “look at us, we’re brave enough to do this! Aren’t you offended?”

But Atlanta doesn’t do that. The writing staff simply talks about what needs to be talked about in a simple manner. And while the show deals with race, police brutality, guns and many other hot plate issues from week to week, it somehow manages to be hilarious without taking away from it’s message.

Yes, Atlanta couldn’t be the show it is without the Glover brothers, but it wouldn’t be on television without FX seeing the raw creative powers those brothers have. ABC, CBS or any other television network would not take a risk on a show like that or they would try to interfere and change it to fit whatever algorithm they use to determine whether a show is good or not.

It’s meandering structure filled with surreal vignette that the characters seems to just observe as opposed to participate contribute the the show’s brilliance. FX allows them to do this.

Atlanta isn’t the only example of this. Legion, (2017-present) a show about the son of superhero and mutant, Professor X, sounds like any other marvel property in the world right now, but it is far from that.

Legion is psychedelic, dark, twisted, confusing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen on television. It is impossible to describe how incredible inventive this show is. It gives me chills. And, as much as I would like to spend the rest of this article raving about how amazing it is and how everybody should watch it, the really special thing about it is how it is the pure unadulterated vision of the creator, Noah Hawley.

Every FX show, regardless of quality, has a distinct style that makes them stand out from the garbage cable shows that litter the silver screen. Regardless of your opinion on such dark and sometimes disgusting shows like  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-present) and Louie (2010-2015), you have to admit that they are incredible original and could not exist anywhere else than FX   

Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Sopranos, all shows that are widely considered the best of all time, are all shows that never would have existed as we know them had they been interfered with by networks.

As we continue to venture into the golden age of television, let’s continue to support the original creators and allow them to make things that are beautiful. Let’s phase out the fluff, the nonsense, the garbage, the rules of our televisions and replace it with beautiful properties that mean something and make you think.