How does one explain the current state of programming among the television networks? Is it an issue with current quality of programming? Yes. Is it an issue with pandering to a sub-genre they know little about? Yes. Is it money hunger and pandering to the lowest common denominator? Of course, but I am coming to the conclusion that there is more to this ill conceived plan than meets the eye.
EXAMPLE 1 – THE WALKING DEAD. AMC takes it’s one of its highest rated shows, The Walking Dead, showcases it at ComiCon, Parades the cast and show-runner from panel to panel for the three day event, then summarily fires the show-runner and slashed the budget in half. Frank Darabont was truly a dead man walking and never knew it. Cast and crew were stunned and were given the cryptic explanation “This isn’t working”. Seems to me it was working just fine, great show, interesting cast, explosive concept, and deviously crafted. Yeah, it wasn’t working, was it?
EXAMPLE 2 – EUREKA. SyFy Network, perhaps most noted for a few great series and a plethora of horrible made for TV movies, takes one of its highest rated shows and shortly after announcing that it is extended for another season, abruptly cancels it, not allowing the writers to bring it to a conclusion. In an interesting corollary, their propaganda magazine, appropriately named SyFy, has a feature article in this months issue about how wonderfully the now terminal show is doing. The explanation given was, it was too expensive. “We just couldn’t make the numbers work”. To be nice, SyFy has ordered one last episode to be shot beyond the current contract to allow for some closure.
EXAMPLE 3 – WONDER WOMAN. This was a mess from the very inception (hey wait…INCEPTION the television series, you dream and you get to…oh never mind). So here is what we get; Wonder Woman in spandex tights, Adrianne Palicki pouting, no hint of where she comes from or why is she here and who the hell knows what to do with a female Super Hero anyway? (….um…Marvel) Its premiere at ComiCon led to it’s demise , although the network quashed it after seeing the final cut and rightfully so. The question is why was it made so poorly, what were they thinking?
“What the hell were they thinking?” is a question worth asking as we grind inexorably toward the new season of strained lamb baby food /television. Well, if we are to believe LiveScience.com, Addiction is now defined as a Brain Disorder, not a Behavior Problem. Network programmers are addicted to ratings. These ratings are elusive and hard to command and when they don’t get them programmers act as any addict would: destroying both good and bad to get their fix. How could we possibly expect them to behave rationally, or for that matter make intelligent decisions?
This is Dome, sayin’: I am pitching Inception the TV Series, starring Dane Cook and Jennifer Aniston. Any takers?