Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

I forgot just how cramped things would be tonight, so the Deadwood review will have to wait. Sorry to the three of you that were anticipating it so highly!

Some quick thoughts. . .

--Voting continues on the best-of-TV survey. If you've voted, you're sick of hearing me talk about this, but a few series keep popping up with an "Is this eligible?" tag, so I thought I would answer those questions. 1.) Sons & Daughters is eligible, unless ABC declares it to be dead sometime before May 1 (it won't happen). 2.) The Shield is eligible, since it has several episodes coming up in 2007. 3.) The Daily Show and all talk shows are eligible. 4.) Once again, Arrested Development is not eligible. 5.) Reality shows are eligible too. Thank you for your time.

--Let's keep those ballots flowing in. It'd be nice to do a top 20 (or even 50), but I'll have trouble justifying that with the current paltry number.

--I hate articles like this where the journalist begins from a predetermined conclusion and writes backward to support that. The Boston Globe is a pretty good paper (even for entertainment stuff), but this article jumps to exactly the WRONG conclusion about Lost. I'm sure there are some people who are really, really frustrated with the reruns, but those who have abandoned the show over that fact have to make up a tiny number. The same complaints about too many reruns dog ALL shows with devoted followings and serial storylines (it gets even worse when the show is a hit). Indeed, the same grumblings dogged Lost LAST year, and the series saw no appreciable slump.

What's happened this year is, I think, two-fold. Firstly, Lost is up against American Idol, which is the biggest show on television. What's more, American Idol is bigger than ever for some reason this year (the personalities are more interesting this year than they were last year, I guess). So that's taking a small chunk out of Lost (AI has decimated Criminal Minds even more, though that show is still a hit).

Secondly, Lost very subtly shifted from being a show about characters with an overriding mythology as a backdrop to a show about mythology with characters as a backdrop this season. When the characters blasted open the hatch and found a man living down there, the show's larger story became an even bigger reason to tune in. As mocked as the writers have been in some corners of the Internet for saying that fans tune in for the characters, that's true for many, many fans (the people who dissect every little detail are probably a vocal minority). What's more, when you examine the show's numbers for this season (as the article linked above points out), the show is actually UP among 18-49-year-olds. It's DOWN among older people, though. And that has to do with the fact that younger people have grown up in a world full of serialized storylines, while older people have not. When the show made that jump, I'm willing to bet, older people probably didn't see what could appeal to them in the show anymore.

That said, this is all speculation anyway. But the reruns probably aren't hurting this show. All shows have reruns on network TV, and they don't exactly decimate something like Grey's Anatomy. More likely, it's the subtle shift Lost made from populist hit to cult hit (though still a very big cult hit) in its underlying philosophy.

--In my paper, Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine run side-by-side. Needless to say, Tuesday's strips caused great concern until I backtracked to Monday's Get Fuzzy and saw what was going on. You don't get a lot of meta-commentary in the funnies. I'm not sure that this works, but at least it's trying something different.

That's all for now. Check back in for Deadwood excitement tomorrow.

1 comment:

Moses said...

Why can't those people interviewed in the Lost article just read a stinking TV Guide!?