Sunday, June 26, 2011

TV Eye

So, finally, my Television season is starting. Yes, I actually prefer mostly "summer shows". Now, for those unaware of the evolution, it goes something like this: all TV revolves around the school year working week. So, in other words, if you're a Network TV programmer, traditionally, you'd put your strongest shows mid week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and coinciding with the start of the American school year ( September). You'd shoot 22-25 episodes of your strongest stuff (Read= Stuff that moves units in advertising) and 10-15 episodes of stuff you're taking a small chance on, with only a pilot of stuff you're shotgunning ( that is, TV concepts you're entirely unsure will sell anything, but you're willing to throw out there to try for as broad a range of consumers as possible). That formula worked for many years- y'see, kids do their homework on Mondays, and are out on Friday nights. People are not watching as much TV on weekends and summers because that's when they're on holiday. However, technology, as always, wouldn't let that sit. With VCRS and TiVO and DVR's, and DVD boxed sets of TV Shows, and changes in the American work week (the traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday is all but a myth, at this point) alongside the creation of massive amounts of broadcast space ( I've got 400 channels, how about you?) really made programmers' lives much more difficult. In the new Millenium, premium channels ( that is, pay TV networks, that aren't included in a flat cable TV rate) getting into producing TV shows really has changed the game. In particular, HBO's The Sopranos completely changed the programming rules. So, now, TV seasons are stretched out, and episodes get divided, and so on and so forth. Basically, TV programming is almost "asynchronous" with Programmers filling in 52 week slots with two seasons of Reality TV shows, and shorter seasons of scripted dramas (17-22 episodes, often with a break- the break being an "innovation" brought about by the massive writer's strike of the mid decade). The only TV still clinging to the old schedules would be Half Hour Sit Coms on Network (regular broadcast) TV.
So, my individual season, since we can have those now, would start this year near the end of June, with Burn Notice coming back on the USA network, True Blood coming back on HBO, Rescue Me coming back on FX in the beginning of July, the re-broadcast of Boardwalk Empire on HBO in July, followed up by the second season in september. Add that to my regular watching of sports (both Fake- wrestling- and real- racing, boxing, and some Football) and movies, and News, and I've got a pretty complete schedule of TV coming up for me. Mathwise, this comes out to about 12-14 hours a week, which makes for about 1.5 to 2 hours a night, which is about how much TV I watched in the fall as a kid.
The only one I've seen so far has been the season opener of Burn Notice. Now, I'm not here to say that Burn Notice is particularly deep TV. I watch it for the pretty colors and witty one liners. However, I do like that they're trying to add a little depth to the characters. Michael, it seems, is not so much motivated by a desire to serve his country, as he is by petty revenge, and preening vanity. That's interesting. Likewise, Fiona isn't so blindly attached to Michael, as she is addicted to the action he can provide. Again, interesting. They even managed to tie Michael's personality to his Mother; a nice little twist near the end. I don't know that I'd want that every week, but it's nice to add just a little depth to our cartoon spies.
True Blood, which is on tonight is more my wife's thing than mine, but I am looking forward to seeing Sam go real dark. He's one of my favorite characters on the show, and I hope they let him be a real bad guy for awhile. He's got every reason to be bad, and no real reason to be good. I'm also looking forward to seeing more Eric Northman, and less Bill, err Lux Interior (What? I can't be the only one to notice the similarity?) . So, yes, my TV season has started....


  1. They show Burn Notice here every day, good show. i like that guy from Evil Dead, whatshisname... you know. But, Its always sunny in Philly and Med Men are something i rarely miss. Mad Men are pretty weird show, with or without Kristina Hendricks breasts - preferably with.

  2. Yes, I was amazed at how good TV was in Finland, and I can imagine it's probably just as good in Serbia. For one, MTV scandinavia didn't totally suck, like it does here. For two, The Fins were total hung up on Gambling and Cars, so they had old episodes of American TV shows like Lucky and Titus, but they also had every poker tournament I could hope to watch. On top of that, the football coverage was much more to my tastes- minimal commentary, lots of good camera angles on the game (Oh, and btw, I like three kinds of Football- American, "soccer" and Australian Football- I purposefully didn't specify what kind because I like some games of each)
    Yes, Bruce Campbell does light up every screen he's on. Ever seen "Bubba Ho Tep"? It's this crazy film he did where he plays Elvis fighting Zombies and Mummies from his nursing home. Pretty cool, if you ask me. I can't really get into "It's always Sunny". All my friends seem to like it, but I don't know why, I can't get into it. Mad Men, again, my wife really likes it, but if I watch it, I'm mostly waiting for the Redhead to show up- I've got a thing for redheads. Actually, if you must know, I've got a thing for Redheads, Spanish girls and Belly Dancers. So, the obvious selection for my wife would be a Finn, right? Well, actually, she's part spanish, and looks spanish, not Finnish. Yes, she can Belly Dance. It's all good. Maybe someday she'll dye her hair red, but I don't want to push my luck....

  3. Hahahaha! Good luck, anyways! Hell, i would like to see Bruce fighting Zombies antime, anyday... ill check it out. The thing with Philly is probably De Vitto and Olsen (Sweet Dee), and we, people from these parts of the world enjoy political incorrectness a lot (not very surprising). Mad Men, besides pretty colors and tits has a very sinister atmosphere, dunno, it gets depressing at times.
    I like that everyone smokes ALL the time, not something you see in normal show.

  4. Y'know, the lack of "political correctness" appeals to me, as well. Did you ever see John Corbett's show "Lucky"? About a down-and-out professional gambler? Here's a clip:
    it was awesome for political incorrectness...