Monday, May 18, 2009

Bastards. They always cancel the good TV. Call me pessimistic, but it is true. Start with Gilligan's Island; 3 years of broadcasts and then nixed. The thing that saved it? Syndication. Point of fact, I was born in the 70's--I most likely would not have been exposed to this show at all if it were not for syndication (but that discussion is not for today). What I really want to ask is why the recent trend of good shows being canceled before they are allowed to really develop. Before I lose you here, M*A*S*H was an eleven-year series about a three year war. Do you think they exhausted the material? I bet if they really wanted to, it could even be revived. Why? it was a great idea, had excellent writing, has scope, and made us laugh (it still makes me laugh). And it was allowed to develop.

It would seem that I am a fan of shows too late--that I come into them after the fact that they have had their heyday run. As I stated above, I was not around for the premier of Gilligan's Island or for Green Acres. I wasn't even around (for other reasons, commitments mostly) for the premier of a few other shows which I like; Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Jericho, or Chuck. And I came into them later--a friend bridging the gap for me with a DVD, or getting me to watch the shows online.

Don't get me wrong, I love syndication. I do want to ask why the numbers game is so damned important that a station will pull the plug on shows as compelling as the three modern shows I mention above. I am new to all of this, new to the TV rankings, how funding is allocated, how costs are tabulated, where calculated viewership translates to revenue. Brilliant suits with college degrees whisper into the ears of the presidents of TV companies, words of honey and unfortunately sometimes hemlock. They have the education which justifies, I just have a measly remote in my hand, a non-universal one at that.

My wife recently got an invite from Nielsen, "The TV people for the last 50 years!", to participate in their program. They sent an envelope with 5 crisp dollar bills and a plea to take their test. She did it, and I hope they pick us, because I will not watch a single banal reality TV show. No, not a one. I will watch stuff that is well written, has scope, and none will have a single person singing, losing weight, shagging older women, living with room mates and arguing, or anything else the current networks offer in the realm of reality TV. Hell, I ride motorcycles and HATE American Chopper.

I guess I should feel out of touch, as people love shows like American Idol. I could give a rats ass, honestly about who the next big thing will be in music. When I sit down in front of the TV or the computer, I want to be entertained, not get all the greasy bits on who voted whom off the island. I have three kids under ten; they offer the best reality one adult married male can need.

If for some crazy reason Mr. Silverman reads my blog (I am more likely to be bitten by a shark in the land locked state of Utah than that may happen), please keep Chuck. Do something right. The other networks already effed up Jericho and Firefly, you can go down in history as the guy who saved the show and turned it into another one of the greats. An Everybody Loves Raymond but with sexual tension and an Intersect computer.

Hey it could happen!


MojoPhotoCo said...

Well you know TV exists to make money and not to entertain you, right? Reality TV vs. traditional drama and sitcom all boils down to one little acronym: ROI.

Yes, your favorite shows are canceled because of Robotic Omnivorous Insects. They're terribly pesky little things.

Jarubla said...

I just read this, WOOHOO!

And Paul, I do realize it is a business, it just stinks that sometiems the stories can't develop to full potential. In my world, the entertainment industry would consider ROI a bit less (and in my world the finacial markets would be a mess...oh wait...) and would consider developing a regularly excellent product.

Down with bad TV/Movies!


MojoPhotoCo said...

I'm with you, Jay. I suppose it is only the entertainment industry, but still seeing mediocrity celebrated makes a person worry about society...

Jarubla said...

I have been enjoying Burn Notice, and catching up on the current season by watching for the first time seasons 1 & 2 (another introduced-to-me show) and am glad to say USA Network doesn't seem to be cancelling it anytime soon.


Jarubla said...

Nearly forgot The IT Crowd. Hillarious!