Seattle and the misplaced halo effect from TV shows


A lot of TV shows are set in Seattle. However, most of those shows are actually filmed in Vancouver, BC. And if you’ve ever visited the downtown areas in both cities, it’s pretty obvious why they don’t film anything in Seattle: its downtown core is a dump. Vancouver certainly isn’t perfect, but aesthetically, there’s no comparison.

Thinking about the average TV viewer, they probably have no idea that the “Seattle” on TV is a total fabrication. But TV and movies are all about fantasy, right? While that may be true, I think Seattle gets more of a halo effect from its show business persona than any other place. Things set in New York City are typically filmed there, and the same is true in LA. But Seattle gets the benefit of Vancouver’s vastly more attractive skyline and soaring mountains, which lead to disappointment once you go there and see that Seattle is mostly a dump.

The people who run tourism for the city of Seattle must love the halo effect they get from all the TV shows that supposedly take place there. But I wonder how many visitors get to Seattle and feel a vague sense of disappointment — without knowing that the city they were expecting is actually a few hours up the coast.