And yet, every fall we’re reminded of a very good question: Why are the lights still on at the CW? Sure, it creates not very good television for not very discerning young viewers and there’s a place for that in our culture beyond MTV. But why should anyone who spends less than 14 hours a day texting care?
After seeking an answer for years, here’s the latest summation: Because the CW is like putting training wheels on young people, allowing them to experience various genres, plots, actors, etc. You can give them bad vampire shows and sticky-sweet coming-of-age dramas and tell life lessons and stories in easily palatable doses. One day the CW viewer will watch something truly great (on another channel) and say to himself, “Oh, wow. I see clearly now.” And an emerging adult will pass through the gateway to understanding visual criticism and culture. It’s a success story of sorts. And even a public service.