Monday, September 22, 2008

Annual Fall Preview part 1 of .. oh I don't know

It's Monday, I lost two and a half hours of my life last night that I'll never get back watching the 60th Emmys which were awful other than a singular moment that made watching it almost worth the effort. Naturally being appreciative of anything intelligent and slightly subversive, I'm talking about Tommy Smothers' comment something about 'truth is what we get you to believe". Fantastic. Anyway, you can read my commentary about the night at Roland's Extra Criticum where I am a columnist. I'll probably post more reviews/views now that the TV season is returning after the disasterous 2007/8 season.

Like global warming, the writer's strike seems to take the blame for every problem that network television is having - from an anemic fall lineup to lost viewership to even more game and reality shows. In a business that relies on viewers to supply advertising dollars, why you'd program things that people don't want to watch is beyond me. I guess they feel that viewership is going to be down no matter what they do, so why not save some money and do everything on the cheap. The problem is: doing it on the cheap with junky game shows and junky reality shows is one of the reasons why viewers are flocking to the internet in the first place: because there's stuff to watch there/here. I wish I knew some network/advertising types whom I could nudge and say "if you fill up my screen with more advertising than actual show, I'm going to turn the tv on even less than I already do". but sadly, I do not.

What's also sad is that after thumbing through the Entertainment Weekly fall preview guide, I can't believe that there's very little I'm looking forward to seeing. There have been years when I genuinely fretted over nights where I would have to choose to watch this show or that show. Granted, that is why DVR's were invented but as of yet I don't see anything that I want to add.

The other day I went through my DVR and erased Jericho from the list. Goodbye you sad yet fun little show. I will miss you and you're very hot cast members. I will miss the strange pacing and yet oddly well written show. I will look forward no more to wondering if Skeet Ulrich is ill, just doesn't eat a lot or the studio pestered him to have that gaunt "I'm a homeless meth addict" look.

I will also miss Moonlight, the vampire show, Journeyman, the time traveler show and Reaper, the show about the guy who is the devils bounty hunter. OK so I know that Reaper is still on but I've given up, my patience with the dimwit characters came to an end as I struggled to watch the last handful of episodes (I ended up skipping a couple of them and it turned out that I missed nothing).

I'm fascinated by Pushing Daisies if only to see how long they can sustain such a charming show before it falls into itself with too many gimmicks and oversaturates itself with cuteness. I wish that American tv could take a cue from British television and figure out how many hours it takes to tell a story rather than assigning 21 hours for several seasons on end to a concept that would barely make a good movie. PD has a lot of potential (more than just a two hour movie) but I don't know that I can see it reaching 100 episodes much less 50 or even 25. Nine hours of it last season was perfect and the writers strike (see? that again) was a blessing for this show. I wish the networks had the courage to say "ok only ten hours this season". Leave your audience wanting more. It's the first rule in showmanship. Ah well. No one has ever accused the suits at the networks of knowing how to put on a good show.

Well, this is more than I intended to write this afternoon but more on the upcoming season as it unravels...

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