Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Network TV pisses me off Part 2

This whole thing about "Defying Gravity" really has left me in a tizzy.

My time is precious and television has to engage me. I look for smart dialog, interesting environments, clean effects, and strong casting. Clearly I am not cut out to be a television executive. Now I know that I do not actually have the knowledge required to run a television network, but seriously, how hard can it be? Maybe it is the need to placate the lowest common denominator in the audience.

Reflecting, I am moving farther and farther from network television offerings. I despise reality competitions, all daytime programming, and most formulaic sitcoms and dramas. I like thinking and being engaged in the shows that I watch. I can only think of two shows that I followed that ended on their own terms, one was Star Trek: The Next Generation and the other was Law & Order...oh wait that spin off maker is still going. So just Next Gen. Wait wait....Sopranos! Ooops that was cable. Okay, just Next Gen. then.

Looking back at the graveyard of shows struck down before their prime for me includes: Everwood (the CW), Gilmore Girls (the CW), the Unit (CBS), the West Wing (NBC), Firefly (FOX), Defying Gravity (ABC), Alias (ABC), What About Brian? (CW), and E-Ring (NBC). If you've never heard of some of these shows, that is okay. Many only lasted a season or two, if they were lucky.

I have wished for years that shows, when it was decided to take them off prime time, would be allowed to finish out on a cable channel. I am starting to see this transition a little at a time. Leaping to mind is Law & Order Criminal Intent making its home on USA for new episodes. Also, Southland was just canceled and then revived to live on TNT as it was too dark for NBC's evening line up. So what happens to other shows. I would love to see full seasons ordered and then if ratings are not strong, given the chance to move into other media, be it cable channels, Hulu, or iTunes. There has been evidence that shows can find audience bases if they are given the time. Would shows like Friends, Sienfeld, Sanford & Son, the Cosby Show make it in the modern programming climate? Would they have made it past episode 3 (the dreaded cut off point)?

What could happen if Joss Wheadon's Dollhouse took flight from FOX's chopping block to find refuge on Mike's Savior Network? Would it build its fan base into something more? Move from cult favorite to rival something like 24?

Speaking of 24, I have to say I loved Season 1. I loved the idea and the presentation, but FOX went and whored that concept out as well....seriously we're on what? season 6? They "Die Hard"'d that one way too much [John McClain is the MOST UNLUCKY cop in the world]. My suspension of disbelief does have some limits.

Interestingly, (to me at least) I have become an actor stalker of sorts. Nathan Fillion is one who steps to the forefront. I became a huge fan through Firefly and Serenity, but ended up following him to Wisteria Lane? What the hell? Luckily my wife watches that show, so I got to tv stalk him while spending quality time with my spouse. Now he has moved on to his own show Castle (ABC) and I am thrilled to find him with smart dialog again. Another one that I have followed is Mark Harmon, now leading the cast of NCIS, but had gotten me hooked by his performance as CJ Craig's secret service detail on the West Wing. In a happy convergence of talent Michael Weatherly I stalked from Dark Angel...

So 10 years ago I had a bunch of shows that I loved. Now I have two different time delay recording technologies that I barely tax to maintain my televsion needs...

As soon as NCIS & Castle's ratings dip and they get axed, I think I'll be done with network programming completely.

Eff 'em, I hope Hulu and iPad put them out to pasture...greedy bastards.

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