NBC’s been on the receiving end of a lot of questions and criticism for their upcoming mid-season TV schedule; however, this time it’s not because of some new show that looks terrible. Instead, all of the flak is coming from what’s not there – it seems that Community didn’t quite make the grade this time around.
While Community has continually been ratings-challenged, this isn’t necessarily the end. On the flip side though, it’s never a good sign when a show is unexpectedly pulled from the schedule with no established return date.
Besides the general anger directed towards NBC, critics and fans have primarily reacted in one of two ways: rationalizing why NBC wouldn’t actually cancel such a beloved and creative show, especially since NBC’s ratings suck in general or declare doomsday and rally the troops for a save-the-show campaign.
While I really don’t want to see Community cancelled, I’m more willing to believe that NBC’s overall disarray will ultimately save the show. Well that, and the fact that one more season gets the show closer to the magic number needed for syndication. (Although so was Arrested Development.)
Not quite convinced, the seemingly intelligent people at AV Club and Vulture have also provided a number of rational reasons why everyone should just calm down. It’s too soon to whip out the felt goatee and embrace the evil timeline.
Plus, to be honest fan campaigns only work when there are other important factors involved – like money or sponsors. And as much as I love signing online petitions, voting in SOS polls, and mailing bags of marshmallows to network executives, I’ve become a bit of a realist. You can’t just cause a ruckus and hope that sheer will power will buy you an extra season or at the very least a couple of episodes.
If you look back on other shows that have been saved or more notably failed to be saved, a not so surprising pattern emerges. Networks need to have a good incentive besides boisterous fans in order to renew a show.
Jericho fans barrage CBS with nuts – they earn just seven more episodes to wrap up its season one cliffhanger.
Rabid Roswell fans similarly utilized a mailing campaign. Bottles of Tabasco sauce were sent to The WB, which kept the show alive for two seasons before the ax fell. However, another fan campaign and a deal between Twentieth Century FOX and UPN that included Buffy the Vampire Slayer extended the life of the show into an 18-episode third season.
Veronica Mars was another UPN show constantly on the verge of cancelation, but committed fans and the creation of The CW helped the show last three seasons. Low ratings however finally triumphed over a last ditch marshmallow-mailing effort by the fans and a willingness to reboot the series by jumping ahead by the show’s creator were not enough. Although rumors of a movie continue to circulate by both Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell.
The beloved series Friday Night Lights may have went out on top and when it was ready, but for a while it looked like it was going to join the cancelled too soon club. Low ratings combined with the Writer’s Strike caused NBC to question its future. Fan campaigns that included DVD purchases, football and light bulb mailings, and donations to charities were great and all but a deal with DirecTV ultimately gave the show three more well deserved seasons.
And on the completely opposite end of the spectrum is Family Guy, which was cancelled by FOX in 2002. No fan campaigns were ever launched. The show simply found an audience in syndication on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Coupled with outstanding DVD sales, FOX resurrected the show in 2005 and it continues to be a staple on FOX’s Sunday Night Animation Domination block.
There’s plenty of other successful and failed examples out there too, like Angel and Chuck or One Tree Hill and Everwood. So while I am not trying to discourage Community fans, since I am one, I’m just trying to present a more realistic picture of how fan campaigns play into a show’s overall lifespan. Also it never hurts to let networks know that there are fans out there who want more.
So let’s enjoy the remaining few episodes Community has to air and then hope that whatever NBC has lined up for the mid-season fails terribly. But just in case, here’s the link to make your very own Community evil timeline goatee.
If you prefer to sign a petition, visit Save-Community.com. And here are more Community fan campaign ideas to run with if you’re interested in a more active approach. And lastly, if you need posters for whatever campaign idea you’ve concocted, check out these awesome non-NBC Community posters created by graphic artist Jon Defreest, two of which are pictured above.
Fairy tale fans don’t have to wait until this Sunday to watch ABC’s new series Once Upon A Time. While the first eight minutes of the pilot has been making their way around the Internet, the entire first episode is now available thanks to IMDB.
Once Upon A Time officially premiers this Sunday, October 23rd at 8pm.
If you prefer your fairy tales to be a bit darker, NBC’s Grimm premiers next Friday (Oct. 28th) at 9m.
While this isn’t news to anyone who regularly watches TV online, all new episodes of FOX shows have an 8-day delay on Hulu and Fox.com.
Now I’ve known about this decision since this summer but since the TV season is officially in full swing I’m just now feeling its effects. Yes, I find the delay annoying but I’m also kind of perplexed by their thought process. And apparently I’m not the only one feeling inconvenienced, a quick Google search for the phrase “FOX delays hulu shows for 8 days” comes back with a barrage of results about rises in piracy.
From a business standpoint, I get it. The Fox Entertainment Group owns a part of Hulu.com, so clearly they are hoping to profit from their content by offering exclusive access to their shows. If viewers aren’t going to watch it live, I suppose the next best thing is to charge viewers.
But from a live ratings stand-point, I don’t understand their logic. Unless you’re a Hulu Plus subscriber or utilize ‘alternative’ sites for streaming, you either have to watch episodes out of order to catch up or will always be a week behind. So if the ultimate goal is still to get people to sit down in front of the TV to watch commercials, then why wouldn’t FOX want their viewers to catch up in time to see the next week’s episode live?
While most of the broadcast networks seem to have different online streaming options and time frames for episodes, FOX is the first network to really hold their content back – especially after it was so readily available. On the other hand, NBC and ABC, also Hulu.com partners, make their new content available immediately. New episodes are also on their own sites but I find the clean look of Hulu.com to be more appealing, which is why I do as much of my online viewing on it as possible.
Although CBS shows aren’t on Hulu.com, new episodes are available the very next day on their own website. I don’t watch a whole lot of shows on CBS (especially since I’m not an old person), but I went and checked out their site and everything from NCIS to Two & A Half Men had new episodes ready to be streamed.
On the flip side is The CW. Interestingly, the network most geared towards young people has the least accessible online content. New episodes only appear on cwtv.com about five days after the original air date. At least they provide a small window of opportunity to catch up before the next new episode. Their shows also aren’t available on Comcast On-Demand.
So this all raises some interesting questions. Will other networks jump on Fox’s bandwagon? While great for viewers, will Hulu continue to be seen as worth while investment for its owners? Will new episodes of TV continue to be available online for free and legally? And how will cable provides, networks, and the Internet ultimately blend together?
NBC just extended Parenthood‘s season three to 18 episodes. While that’s not a typical 22-episode order, the addition of two episodes just three weeks into the current TV season is certainly a showing of good faith.
Parenthood is loosely based off the 1989 movie of the same name starring Steve Martin, but the series was reconceived by Jason Katims, of Friday Night Lights fame. Katims involvement alone should be enough of a reason to watch this show, but it also stars some pretty great actors including Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Craig T. Nelson just to name a few.
And while NBC’s Parenthood is defined as a drama it certainly finds the right mix of humor and lightheartedness to make it one of those rare feel-good shows that still manages to reflect real life. So yeah, I am totally recommending that you check this series out.
Although it’s not essential to watch the last two seasons to understand what’s going on, I always recommend it. But if you don’t have time to completely catch up, here’s some essential episodes I recommend watching:
Parenthood airs on NBC at 10pm on Tuesdays. The last five episodes of the current season are always available on Hulu.com and the first two seasons can be found on DVD.[via Deadline]
Last week I decided to marathon the CW series Nikita – the third remake of a French film with the same name. I had no real reason to marathon the series. No one I know watches it, I’ve been trying to cut down on my CW shows, and while my Dad used to watch La Femme Nikita, I don’t remember anything remarkable about it. Yet for some reason I found myself on Netflix bumping all five discs to the top of my queue hoping to catch up before its second season premier.
With a 22-episode first season, it took me almost the whole week to catch up leaving little time before Friday night’s premier. I have to admit that I not only sped through the series because of the last minute timing, but also because the story and characters had me hooked from the pilot. I’m not going to say that this is exactly high-quality TV, because it’s not but it’s addicting and not afraid to take risks and that counts for something. Nikita also reminded me a lot of Dollhouse and Dark Angel – in a good way. Apparently it’s also very similar to Alias, but since I haven’t gotten around to watching that series yet I can’t say for sure.
To me, the entire series begs the question; does the end justify the means; and I find that to be a fascinating topic to explore.
“Don’t get me wrong I want to stop running, been running my whole life. I want a home, I just want to be able to live with myself when I get there.” – Nikita “Game Change” (2×1)
Many of the main characters, inside and out of the Division are morally gray, neither fulfilling the role of hero or villain. Nikita both kills and saves lives in her revenge mission / mission to right past wrongs. And even Division occasionally takes on jobs that stop terrorists or prevents the production of dangerous weapons. Allegiances and trust are blurry topics on Nikita. Friends often become foes and vice versa as many of the characters sacrifice relationships for missions or their concept of the ‘greater good’.
The biggest example of this theme plays out through the character of Alex. Even though there’s always ‘collateral damage’ in action based TV shows and movies, the audience typically isn’t given the chance to relate to those affected because their story comes to a close with the end credits. On Nikita however, audience members are given a chance to see how decisions and actions have consequences, as Alex is often caught in the middle of fights that really aren’t hers.
From the very beginning I questioned Nikita’s (Maggie Q) motive for allowing Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) to go under cover in Division. If she was so worried about her and wanted better for her, why would she ever let someone join the very program that turned her life upside down and into someone she didn’t want to be. As it was later revealed, Alex did have a personal stake in the defeat of Division, but Nikita was slow to divulge the complete truth behind her parent’s death. In doing so she kind of pushed her down the very path she was hoping to help her avoid – working for Division and being able to take another’s life.
Although she may have broken ties with Nikita, by the end of the first season Alex become entangled in Amanda’s (Melinda Clarke) new plans for Division. While Amanda offers to help her bring down the people who orchestrated her parent’s death, its obvious that Amanda is just as interested in using Alex for her own objectives as Nikita was. But Amanda also wants to return Division to the crime stopping / national security agency it once was, so its not like she’s on team evil and actively recruiting. However, with Oversight more interested than ever in Division, Amanda has even more reason to look out for herself.
Michael (Shane West) also played an active role in Alex’s Division training and overall season one transformation. On one hand he looked out for her, especially after he re-connected with Nikita, but he also sent her on a number of engagements and training exercises that were less than safe because those were his orders. And although Michael may have questioned Division’s motives and tactics he didn’t take an active stand against the organization until he too learned that his wife and daughter were killed in a Division related attack – in which he was actually the target.
Over the course of the season Alex may have become more self-reliant, stronger, and even more ruthless but I very much doubt that she’s either in control or calling her own shots. But does that make her a victim, an unwilling participant, or a pawn in this entire thing? Based on the season two premier, I’d say this is something that will be explored more and I can’t wait.
Over the last couple of years, the number of high school based TV shows I watch has slowly dwindled down from a handful to only one or two. Perhaps its because I’m getting older, or because the TV characters in my shows are too, but that genre just doesn’t suck me in like it used to. Which is fine, everyone’s tastes change over time and its not like I’ve given up on TV, because we all know I’ve found plenty to keep me busy – but I’ve got to say from the first MTV promo for Awkward. I was excited for this show.
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.