Contemporary Clichés

Fiction by K.R. Martinak

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TV Show Depression: Why can’t a network commit?

Posted by Kyle Martinak on April 15, 2009

I’ve become so enthralled by the entertainment business, I’ve forgotten how cut-throat and despicable it is. These executives sit high up in their offices at Rockafeller Plaza, or in L.A., and they are the ones who make the hard decisions about which shows to cancel. Should they have that responsibility? Hell no!

I know damn well that those cats don’t even watch TV anymore. So they base their decisions off of the almighty Neilson Ratings system. Therefore, if Show A gets consistently decent ratings for two years, and Show B got terrible ratings for two years and terrific ratings for half of season three, these fools go with Show B.

Meanwhile, the people who watch the most TV (the ones that tune in EVERY WEEK for their favorite shows) are getting shafted and alienated. I like the occasional episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” but I NEED to watch “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Chuck” every week. It just doesn’t make sense that these big-wigs cater to the casual viewer, rather than the religious viewer.

After all, in any business with a consistent service it costs ten times as much to sign a new client as it does to keep an old client (I learned that from “The Office”). So, why do these people (Who see TV purely as business) try every year to sign up millions of new clients, when they could just let a show have a second or third season, and keep millions of clients?

The problem, I think, is that they are trying to anticipate too much. For example, Fox cannot hold onto a prime-time science fiction/drama. They try these wild shows with odd, scary, or epic premises. They show courage in their choices; “Firefly” looked like it could become the new “Babylon V”, while “Dark Angel” was a really ballsy and profitable show. But, these pukes who run things looked at the ratings every week, and tracked them. “Firefly” didn’t last one season, and “Dark Angel” barely got two. Fox actually axed shows created by Joss “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Whedon, and James “Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, need I go on…” Cameron.

And my point is, look at every sci-fi show that geeks love and watch religiously: “Star Trek” (three seasons), “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (seven seasons), “The X-Files” (nine seasons), the current  “Doctor Who” (four seasons), and even the new “Battlestar Galactica” (five seasons). These shows all got plenty of time to develope characters, plots, even mythologies.  These aren’t sitcoms, and there is no Joey or Kramer to keep the audience interested.

Also, I wish these chumps would learn to understand time-slots. On NBC, at least five or six shows have died in less than one season because they were aired at 10:00 pm, on Monday nights after “Heroes”. That’s five or six shows in three years. That’s fucking ridiculous. No one will watch those shows, not because they suck, but because their time-slot sucks. At 10:00 pm on Mondays, I’m thinking about how much Tuesday is going to suck, and I want to go to bed early. Fox can’t speak too loudly either; they have killed more shows with time-slots than anything. “Family Guy,” the show that Fox praises like a God, was canceled because no one watched…because no one knew when it was on. If I had known that it switched from Mondays to Wednesdays to Fridays, I would have kept watching. Ditto for “Arrested Development” and “Futurama.”

This rant is courtesy of Fox, TNT, and NBC, who are cancelling three of my shows after this season: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” and “Trust Me,” and “Chuck.” Suck it, executives! I’m going to go watch old episodes of “MASH” and “Quantum Leap”!

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