I recently read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” This dystopian story is about a world where books are outlawed and firemen burn books instead of putting out fires. It has often been misinterpreted to be a book about government censorship. Its real message is that modern media simplifies complex topics to the point of making them meaningless.
In the story Shakespeare is reduced down to a one page summary in order to hold the attention of the audience. This example is chilling considering the number of 3-5 minute recap shows that are cropping up everywhere on regular TV these days. If you can show me everything that I should know about a 44 minute episode of “The Shield” in 3 minutes why did you bloat it to 44 minutes in the first place? (The cynical answer is advertising revenue but thats for a different rant)
I appreciate the “previously on..” recaps at the beginning of a show because they don’t attempt to show you everything that has happened they are meant to give upcoming events in the story context that otherwise would have to be done with boring exposition. Recapping every episode in a few minutes though is dangerously close to the nightmare that Bradbury envisioned with complex and vivid dramatic works reduced to lifeless bits of imagery.