In pop culture terms, the new trend for major television networks throwing live musicals our way every few months feels like the ultimate in post-modern malaise; a glaring confirmation that, yes, America, there are no more ideas. It's over. We got too spoiled, and now we must pay.
Attempting to bear witness to these pseudo-theatrical debacles only makes the darkness descend further, for the message is clear and the message is this: not only are we out of ideas in 2017, the ideas being rehashed for us are typically presented in a manner that is distinctly crappier. Perhaps the networks think that we, as a nation of gif-making mockers and Twitter-based critics, simply don't deserve the undiluted joy of the originals. Perhaps they want us to make do with secondhand productions that neither capture the excitement of a real live theatrical play nor the flawless gloss of modern television productions, because our cynical eyes just don't deserve the effort.
Even after the nation suffered through 2013's constipated Sound of Music and the unintentionally comedic nightmare that was 2014's Peter Pan Live, the networks have continued making these live musicals. While improvements have been made -- 2015's The Wiz Live had the decency to throw some Cirque Du Soleil stuff in the mix, 2016's (still reasonably pointless) Grease Live made some efforts to impress, and Hairspray Live was elevated by appearances from Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson -- these oft-outdated musical "events" haven't been well-received enough to justify how many more we've got coming our way.
In case you didn't know, here's what the nation is facing in the coming months: The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live on ABC this October, Bye Bye Birdie with J-Lo and A Christmas Story this December, Jesus Christ Superstar next Easter and, at some as-yet-undetermined-time, a live production of Rent.