Has anyone other than my fellow TV lovers at the Daily realized how many ghost-hunting shows are on TV these days? “Ghost Lab,” “The Haunted,” “Paranormal Cops,” “Ghost Hunters” and its spin-offs “Ghost Hunters International” and “Ghost Hunters Academy” all came out fairly recently (with the exception of the original “Ghost Hunters,” which aired in 2004).

And because networks keep spewing out this repetitive programming, I guess someone must be watching and enjoying it. But let’s be honest, “Ghost Hunters” isn’t a brilliant and incredibly well executed concept. And even if it were, does anyone appreciate the products of dirty idea-stealing and show-copying?

Hopping on the good-idea bandwagon isn’t a new thing for TV. It’s really to be expected these days. Before ghosts, we had dancing. “Dancing with the Stars” came out the same year as “So You Think You Can Dance” and not too much later the world was blessed with a lesser-known gem “Pants-Off Dance-Off.” Based on titles alone, I think we all know which one isn’t around today.

Sometimes the drama surrounding having a stake in the next big thing is more exciting than the shows that come of it. Remember NBC’s “The Singing Bee” and FOX’s “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”? The concept was exactly the same, they premiered within one day of each other and they were both hosted by charming B-list celebrities (comedian Wayne Brady for FOX and former ‘N Sync member Joey Fatone for NBC). Neither show was spectacular, but the race to air first was epic.

And when we’ve passed the point of network competition, we get reincarnates. “If you loved this show, just wait for our 40 dozen spin-offs!” the networks scream. We’re practically assaulted with competitive reality shows that can be described by interchanging the words “hair stylist,” “fashion designer” and “chef.” Not only do we have “CSI,” “Law & Order” and “NCIS,” but we also get “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Crime & Punishment,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

It’s frustrating. When I turn on the TV, I don’t want to be bombarded with the same show reinvented and repackaged as though the network executives think I won’t noticed I’m being fed leftovers.

But before we give up on TV, let’s take a look at the larger picture. Trending is common in all forms of art. Novels have undergone romanticism, realism and transcendentalism. We have cubism, impressionism and pop art in the realm of visual arts. And music has been revolutionized by rock, soul, hip hop, grunge, indie, techno and scores of other genres all in the past 50 years.

But no one ever complained that Thoreau totally copied Emerson and no one ever got sick of Picasso’s repetitive style. And even though lo-fi indie bands with buttery smooth melodies and hauntingly poetic lyrics outnumber water molecules on Earth, tons of people still listen to and love the sound-alikes.

These trends are considered “movements,” but television doesn’t get the luxury of a pretty title. In the fine arts, the creators are allowed to expand upon ideas and concepts from each other without criticism, but on TV it’s branded as repetitive, annoying and even insulting. No one is going to call the onslaught of ghost television a “movement,” because quite frankly, that’s ridiculous (what movement would that even be? Paranormalism?). TV can be an art, and in my mind has every right to undergo movements. But there are good reasons why TV is especially prone to the type of criticism I’m talking about.

TV is inherently commercial. While writers, musicians and other artists create primarily for themselves and personal expression, TV is created as a commodity. When was the last time you heard the creator of a TV show say “I make the shows for myself?”

Some TV creators honestly do love their stories and jobs, but there is little room for creative expression and experimentation in the TV industry, which relies on ratings much more than music and film, both of which have strong indie markets. Artists should support each other’s work, but network competition and ratings create bloody battles to the death — we all saw what happened to Conan.

What the industry needs is a little more love and tenderness. Shows need to be created for the sake of creation, expression and joy. TV needs people who are passionate about telling stories, capturing them in a compelling way and sharing them with the masses every week. And while a strong love of the small screen probably isn’t enough to disrupt 50 years of trying to make big money off cheap programming, it’s a step in the right direction. If more people treat TV as an art, a movement will swiftly follow.

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