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How modern television is changing its viewers—for the better

The recent rise of foreign language dramas proves that it is now a medium for concentration rather than distraction

By Lucinda Smyth  

Louis Hofmann in Dark, on Netflix. JULIA TERJUNG/NETFLIX

Nearly twenty-five years ago, in 1993, David Foster Wallace wrote “E Unibus Pluram: Television and US Fiction”—an essay in which he extolled the virtues and pitfalls of watching television (among other things). Wallace saw TV as an essentially low-brow but important cultural force which reflected “what we as Audience want to see ourselves as.”

In other words, he believed that it operated at a level of desire, placating viewers rather than challenging them in the way that good literature does.…

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