This Presidential Election has been rather divisive, but I think we can all agree on one thing – it needs to be over. So after you cast your vote on Tuesday, why not take your mind off things with some TV. No, I’m not recommending you watch the 24-hour news cycle, I recommend checking out these election day-inspired episodes.
How some people manage to watch an episode of something live and then not stayed tuned for the promo is beyond me. I need those few extra seconds of whatever I am watching and always make sure to set my DVR to run a minute or two late so I don’t miss anything, which includes the ‘next time on’ portion of my program. Even when I’ve watch TV online I’ll seek out the show’s promo immediately after.
But there is a real art to making TV promos and trailers. Of course a TV show’s genre is going to dictate the hook or the tease, but sometimes I really feel like less is more.
For episodic and procedural series, I get it, networks need to show something crazy in order to keep the casual viewer coming back for more, but for serialized series, I’m going to assume that viewers will be tuning in again and again no matter what airs after the credits. (Spoilers Below)
I’ve got a theory that most TV promos, and movie trailers for that matter, are going to make something look better than it really is. After all, 30-60 seconds is not enough time to really highlight flaws.
But with that being said, I do think it is possible for a promo to oversell how incredible the next episode will be. In fact, the more an episode becomes a ‘must see’ or ‘can’t miss’ I become weary of what I am about to see.
From my experience, ER is the most notable repeat offender of setting unrealistic expectations, especially in its later seasons:
Maybe the oversell is unavoidable, I mean they are meant to create hype, but spoiling big plot points is not. In fact, it’s my biggest pet peeve with TV promos – Is it really necessary to give away a major twist or character death just to ensure viewers will return?
And I’m not talking about the ones that allude to an upcoming ominous event, I’m talking about ones that flat out say someone is going to die:
Much like ER, as House M.D. aged it began relying on more and more ridiculous plot twists and similarly crazy promos, but I do have to give them props for this more-subtle preview for “Simple Explanation” (5×20), the fifth season’s infamous Kutner episode.
I don’t want this blog entry to only be a rant about TV promos, so I figured I’d also share some of my favorites:
Fringe promos were, and are, some of the most creative previews I’ve ever seen. To check out more of the series’ standouts I recommend reading E! Online’s interview with Ari Margolis, the mastermind in FOX’s special ops department.
The following Smallville and House M.D. promos are also effective, but for me they are more memorable for their choices in music:
So what’s your TV promo pet peeve? Do you even watch promos? If so, are there any previews that standout to you, either for their excellence or absurdity? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.
Happy Thanksgiving y’all. I’ve got a lot of things to be thankful for this year – and no, those things are not TV related (I do have a life outside of the box), but in the spirit of this blog – here’s some entertainment for your turkey filled day.
Frankenstorm coming your way? Assuming you have power and/or the Internet, why not wait out the storm with some of your favorite TV characters who are likewise feeling the effects of mother nature’s fury.
After 10 seasons and 217 episodes, Smallville came to an end last night. And all I can say is, “Finally!” When I first began watching the series it was in its third season and I was in high school. A lot’s changed since then, including the quality and/or my tolerance for its terrible dialogue, ridiculous storylines, and increasingly annoying characters. But I’ve stuck with it.
To be honest though, most Smallville episodes were must-see TV for me. Actually, when I first started watching it, the show was on The WB on Wednesday nights right before Angel, which is kind of why I started watching it in the first place. My friend was never home when Smallville was on so I started recording it for her – but because I recorded Angel on the same tape I didn’t want to hand it over. The compromise was that she would come over and I would watch it without much mocking.
It only took a few episodes for me to be hooked though, so I marathoned the first two seasons to catch-up. I’ve since bought the first six seasons on DVD. Of course those now sit on my shelf of regret, next to Dark Angel and a Region 4 Scrubs season 1 set that I can only view on my laptop, after changing some settings.
Once I was in college Smallville moved to Thursday nights, and thankfully we usually didn’t start ‘partying’ until 9 or 10pm so I was still able to watch new episodes live. And then Smallville finally made its way to the Friday night death slot, which thankfully meant it wasn’t on during anything else and I could easily watch it or record it for later.
I even loved the show so much that when I was in Australia I made sure to go to the Supernova Pop Culture Expo, which featured guests stars like John Schneider (Clark Kent’s dad) and Summer Glau from Firefly and Serenity. Now granted I was more excited for the Serenity screening but still, the Smallville stuff was a draw too, plus I was basically out of cash when I decided I needed to go and bought my expo and train ticket anyway.
My friend and I have even been to the ‘Daily Planet’ building. On a cross-Canada road trip we made our friends, who were driving, detour when we were in the Vancouver area to find the building they use in the show. While it didn’t have a giant spinning globe on top, the building was impressive nonetheless and its exterior was featured throughout the remaining episodes.
At some point though, keeping up with the show become a chore. I used to love the characters, except Lana, and even its storylines, which were particularly strong during season openers and finales, but all that slowly vanished. I mean there was always a snarky element to my viewing, after all you can only take a character being conveniently knocked out so as not to remember seeing Clark save the day so many times. And Lana being tramped by a horse in the season three episode “Shattered” is still one of my all-time ridiculous highlights, but how long can you really enjoy spending your time on something you don’t actually like anymore?
Apparently in my case a lot, but I don’t typically give up on TV. After all, I watched all eight seasons of Charmed and watched ER until the end. What’s weird about Smallville though is that I can’t even enjoy older episodes because they are just as cringe worthy. But, if for instance I caught an older episode of ER on TNT, it was still awesome and had George Clooney.
Smallville is also different from a lot of series in that we all know how it ends. The whole point of watching a show about a young Clark Kent is getting the chance to see his journey towards becoming Superman. But when the journey takes like 10 years, you can’t blame someone for getting impatient. Storylines continually went back to Clark’s self doubt or disinterest in his destiny all while other plot lines weaved more and more convoluted back stories and mythologies, which made episodes feel like we were taking one step forward and two steps back.
But despite all its flaws and storylines resulting from meteor rocks and memory wipes I still looked forward to watching the show come to a close with my friend, who I blame for all of my lost time. And when all was said and done, Smallville ended the same way the series has always been – with some really nice moments, like Chloe living happily ever after and Michael Rosenbaum reprising his role as Lex Luther … and some equally infuriating ones, since we never really got to see a good shot of Tom Welling as Clark Kent in his Superman suit.
At least he finally learned to fly though.