Consider Star Trek: The Next Generation. There were women on the show, and they had full figures, and they were not ugly, but they weren't a selling point of the show. Fast forward to Enterprise. To sell more air time, the producers implicitly have a busty Vulcan woman who will occasionally get in situations where clothing isn't required. Somehow, "to boldly go where no man (or no one) has gone before" got lost in translation. Frankly, tits are somewhere that many men have gone before. Where's the intellectual stimulation? I'd say where's the excitement, but it's obviously in most viewers' pants.
The Verve have a line in their popular song that goes, "the airwaves are clean and there's nobody singing to me now". It's interesting to think that, back in the day as I sang along to the lyrics, I would eventually come to more deeply understand the meaning of the line. On the other hand, if I'm understanding the line now, does that mean that the leader singer felt that way back then? If that's the case, I find it troubling, because back then music still seemed good/decent, and TV still had (I think) DS9. I suppose one could throw out the Voyager theory: once Star Trek started to become more broadly popular, and inversely become dominated by popularity gripping elements, the whole of society lost some of what it was moving towards.
The other day Jim and I went downstairs to watch some anime on Toonami with Bill. One show was Eureka 7 (or, as the characters would say, *I just threw up in my mouth noise 7*. Really, it's like.. euhrka. It sounds sort of like they're gagging or something). As I watched the show, I could basically pick every character in the show and match them to a Neon Genesis character. Bill mentioned that the person who did this series was the same one that did RahXephon, another NG:E clone, so I guess (?) it's not surprising. What really surprised me, though, was that not only had another anime come out about a dickless little boy and the world that misunderstands him, but that the proposal had been accepted to even draft the show and that people were consuming it enough for mainstream airplay.
I guess I should get the point out of the way that I have found, over time, that I really strongly dislike Shinji and the archetype of characters that he represents. Much like the person going 55 in the passing lane, who when given a five car gap in the middle lane swerves slightly in to the lane without a blinker but then hovers between the two lanes, and from experience has a good 60% chance of staying in the high speed lane, I just want a character like Shinji to grow even a cartilage-hardness spine so that he can make up his own goddamned mind and not fuck up the rest of the world for everyone.
The interesting thing is that I actually like RahXephon. The main character isn't really Shinji, he does sort of have some self-determination. The other characters aren't exactly NG:E clones. Plus I found the whole musical thing interesting. But with Eureka 7, it seems like they wanted to make a nearly perfect Shinji clone, plus add "cool" things like.. fucking surf-boarding mecha? For all that I complain, NG:E actually had a lot of good things about it.. the mecha were designed with fairly realistic seeming flaws. They weren't fast enough to dance out of the way of bullets, or run quickly enough to leave a little spark trails of just-missed bullets hitting the ground behind their feet. Another anime that was on, called Blood Trilogy, I think, had something like the latter. It was a bunch of cheesy character archetypes acting out a five cent play for the ooohs and aaahs of the masses.
One of the last shows was FLCL. It's funny that Bill was fairly quiet throughout the first two anime, but then he started packing up and talking while FLCL was on. By contrast, Jim and I were both much more intent on watching it than the other shows. FLCL is weird, it's cracked, but it's also amusing as hell and funny. However, it's only six episodes long. I wish more modern shows could match the quality of that.