November 1, 2007

Fall 2007 TV wrapup

Now that I've watched all of the fall 2007 pilots, I can sum up the new shows and identify for you who the winners and losers are. And the big winner for the fall 2007 TV season is...

Peter, Bjorn and John. Their song "Young Folks" was prominently played on three of the new pilots. I heard it on Gossip Girl, Big Shots, and Dirty Sexy Money. I also heard it on Journeyman's second week. Oh, and the iPhone, which I also saw on three different shows.

As far as which shows are destined to be hits, I have no idea. When I was young, I used to think that whether a show stayed on the air depended on whether or not it was any good. I long ago disabused myself of that notion. Until fairly recently, I thought it was based on what other people thought was good. I've since learned that that's not really the case either.

Even if you judge success based on simple ratings, those ratings don't come from people making their viewing choices of their own free will. It comes down to a complex calculus of what's scheduled when, what the other networks have on against it, what it's lead-in is, et cetera. It seems really odd to me, because if I want to watch a show, I just point at the TiVo and watch it. It doesn't make a difference to me when it airs or what's on the other channels. And I certainly don't watch a show because I left the TV on that channel after the previous one ended. But, apparently, the majority of people still do.

Of course, success isn't even based on simple ratings. Lower-rated shows can stay if they cost less to produce, or bring a more desirable demographic, or draw viewers away from another network, or any of a number of reasons. So, I've stopped even trying to guess what will work and what won't. There are shows that are so bad that it's obvious to everyone they won't last long (Viva Laughlin), but beyond that, I don't even pretend to know anymore.

Viva Laughlin is actually the only show to get cancelled so far, which is very strange. In a normal TV season, several shows would have got the ax already. However, this season with the writers' strike and all, the networks need to hang on to every scripted show they've got. That makes Viva Laughlin's cancellation even more notable, because they're essentially saying, "If it comes down to us running out of TV completely, we'd rather broadcast dead air than this pile." So, basically, every show that isn't Viva Laughlin won.

Here's how my choices panned out:
I gave season passes to Dirty Sexy Money, Journeyman, and Carpoolers. The first two because they're good shows, and I'm intrigued enough in their continuing story lines to want to watch and see them resolved. Carpoolers because it's silly enough to keep me laughing, and because Becki really likes it.

I was really treating this season like a normal TV season, and completely forgot any potential impact the writers' strike would have. That was a big shortsighted mistake on my part. There were three shows that were on the fence for three episodes before finally getting dropped. They were: Pushing Daisies, Samantha Who, and Chuck. Once the writers' strike started, it finally hit me that I was going to run out of TV to watch, and saving episodes of marginal TV is better than getting stuck with the crapful reality fest that's coming our way in January. So I went back and gave all three shows season passes. But now, I've missed two episodes each of Chuck and Pushing Daisies, and therefore I can't watch any of those that I've recorded until I catch up, either from the network's web sites or from iTunes. My hope is that if I wait a while, the networks will start reruns, and I'll be able to get the missing shows within a month or two.


Scott said...

I have some praise to give your blog up to this point, but I have a real fear that praising you will actually make you worse as a blogger. So I will avoid pointing out the specific things I like and just say it's good.

This will avoid the chance of you turning into a caricature of yourself in reaction to praise, or purposely discarding the good stuff to avoid becoming a caricature.

I guess there's still a chance you will react adversely to praise about writing at all, and so maybe this is all better left unsaid. I take it all back. I have no opinion about your blog.

Aaron said...

I was going to say "Thank you", but then decided to take that back as well. Now I will simply offer a neutral acknowledgement of the existence of your comment.