Saturday, November 8, 2014

First Blood

As I mentioned in my review a few weeks ago, the television program Selfie was decent and had some potential, but there were enough things wrong with it that I wasn't in a hurry to keep up with it. As of a few days ago, it has officially been cancelled.

In a way, it's a shame; by all accounts it was getting better. But a subpar pilot combined with some poor marketing (along with that atrocious title) doomed it from the start.

Any time something like this happens, I just have to scratch my head. Presumably, television executives are pretty smart; they spend most of their days making judgement calls that none of us, as viewers, have the experience to make. We all know that extensive focus groups, marketing, and research goes into every single thing that goes on the air, so when something like this misfires it just seems mystifying.

Now, I'm not talking about the garbage you often see. There are some shows that are just bad at first look. I'm talking mostly about things like Seflie--all the appropriate ingredients are there, there's plenty of talent, the potential is there...and then something like that horrible, horrible title balls the entire thing up. It's like setting up a perfect chess move and then having an elephant knock the table over and shit on it.

This is, of course, nothing new; every season for the past 80 years, a few dozen shows make it on the air, and you can count on one hand the number that make it past 13 weeks each year.

It almost seems like the entire premise is broken--if TV shows are that expensive to produce that if it doesn't turn a profit (or looked promising to do so) after two or three episodes, then something is wrong. Maybe find some way to lower costs so all shows get at least 13 weeks, or somehow mitigate the risk of a show flopping. Because like most huge projects, a ton of money goes into launching each of the dozens of shows, and the payoff is only keeping four or five? It seems like the industry should be more forgiving, rather than spending a bunch of money and immediately cancelling it.

Hopefully, pressure from places like HBO and Netflix will revolutionize things. I would love to see a network guarantee all their new shows 13 episodes, ratings be damned, and adjust their budgets accordingly (and giving writers and actors the security to not try scammy ratings-grabbing stunts and go for quality). Then again, it's really hard to justify that when you can churn out an incredibly cheap reality TV show and probably get better ratings. The TV Industry might be screwed up, but not nearly as bad as us viewers are.

No comments:

Post a Comment