Saturday, May 31, 2014

GOOD ON TV? RERUNS! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, THEN YOU BETTER STREAM IT, 'CAUSE THEY DON'T SHOW RERUN IT ANYMORE! (And it's time to change that back!)



I haven't done a "Good on TV"? blogpost in a while, and there's a reason. Oh, part of it is that there's nothing good on TV. But actually that's not even true. It couldn't be, there's a 1000 channels and that's not even including the internet, just by the law of averages, while there's more crap than ever, there has to also be good shows on as well, and many more of them than ever before. And you know what, I barely get to see any of them.

It's not just a lack of decent cable either, making my List of TV shows I have to watch, getting surprising close to being as long as my list of films to watch. Somewhere along the line, reruns became extinct, and relegated to syndication on local independent stations, and classic television channels, and you know what? I don't know why! Seriously, Summer used to be the time, when reruns were king! Yeah, networks would throw in their dump-the-garbage shows sporadically throughout the lineup, but basically it was an opportunity to re-watch the good shows to begin with, or occasionally catch up on things we might've missed the first time around, instead of having to wait 'til the DVDs or to stream on the internet. And don't tell me, it's all DVR now, if it's all on your DVR now, than you ain't watching it. It's waiting to be watch, like everything else.

So why are they gone? Well, first of all, it makes no sense that they are. I get that reality's cheap, but so are reruns? Literally they're cheaper and you can probably make just as much money, if not more out of advertising, especially for the hit shows. And you know, why just the hit shows? Seriously, that was never the standard, in fact many times, it was the reruns of as a show that saved series! "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was canceled after it's first year, bad ratings, but then they replayed it in the summer reruns, 'cause they didn't have anything else, and it climbed to a Top Ten show, people hadn't seen it originally, they caught it the second time around, it got new life- I mean, how often is this happening now? "Family Guy" reruns on Cartoon Network, beat out all the late night hosts, combined, and it came back from a three-year cancellation; reruns are what save shows and networks, and actually give us a better view on how the audience sees a show, and now, there's nothing on, but a bunch of new reality shows mostly, and they're not even the good ones, they're the Summer ones, that aren't good enough to be apart of the Fall lineups. And btw, there's nothing wrong with rerunning them either, some cable channels seem to do nothing but that sometimes, and you know, they wouldn't do it if it didn't work, and it does! You think people wouldn't want to relive "American Idol", those who missed it before? So they don't get to vote, big deal, blur out the phone number, tell them not to call, it's a rerun, if they don't understand why, then they're idiots. Or rerunning all these serial story-arc shows, that supposedly we have to watch from the beginning- and you know what, I know that that's the majority of great television shows, dramas and comedies these days are like that, but, seriously why are we disregarding rerun-ability as a legitimate credit to a TV series? You know "Law & Order", was created specifically for reruns? Seriously, Dick Wolf, was tired of how TV dramas, this was in the eighties, and it's happening all over again now, btw, TV dramas would be popular but would have no rerun appeal, so they wouldn't earn any extra money in syndication from reruns. Now, he didn't conceive, that an hour-long rerun was a concept, he thought one of the problems, was the length of dramas, being an hour-long, so he imagined, in reruns, the show being broken into half-hour segments, so you'd turn in one day for the "Law" and then the day for the "Order", and that became the structure of a show, that's lasted, three, four incarnations, 25-years later, and is still airing in reruns and is still a hit. Still being copied. And it wasn't a hit originally either, in fact it was canceled from two networks, and struggled for a couple years, before they got the greatest note in TV history from Warren Littlefield to "Add females characters". That's happening now. People look at me weird when I say that nobody's gonna remember "Breaking Bad" ten years from now, but it won't be airing, so of course they will! Some might, hear about it, and a few of them might actually be bothered to seek out the DVDs and/or steam the show online somewhere, but is that what this is coming too, with all these options, all these TV channels, all this time and creativity and great series, one after another being made, that we still have to go out of our way to see them, because, instead of rerunning them, we get to watch mothers "Bet On Your Baby"? Yes that's an actual network show this summer, is new and fresh and if we're not new and fresh, then...- Then what? What's so damn good about this crap, that the networks have to put this on, instead of maybe, reviving that crappy show that ran for only six or seven episodes that no one watched; if they're both gonna be crappy, why create more crap? Maybe just one episode was crap so we didn't watch further but it got better, and how are we gonna know if we only get one chance to see it again? It's more likely we'd find that by accident through reruns than seek out something we thought was crap to begin with, but we can't do that if it's not on multiple times. I get that some people like how it's more free now and personal that we can watch what we want when we want to, but you know what, we're missing too many shows that way, and is that choice so damn good? That means, we're limiting ourselves to only the few shows we want to watch immediately, instead of possibly finding out something completely different and new that we might enjoy ourselves. Sometimes we never know what we're gonna like until we see it. In fact, most of the time, that's the case. You think we we're craving a TV show about a bunch of science nerds? Or a family that runs a funeral parlor? Or a mobsters family? Or the insides of the White House? A '60s era advertising executives? Or we we're all, begging for years, and hoping and praying that a decent show about a teacher-turned-meth dealer would be made, weren't we? Fuck no! We didn't know we wanted to watch 'til we saw the damn things! "A reality show about fashion, I don't want to watch that?" That's what I said once, and now I'm streaming "Project Runway" reruns on Roku when there's nothing on, and that's happening a lot more often lately.

It's a chore to look up other shows, and now that there's new shows every few weeks and new seasons of shows starting every few months that we're still three years behind on and haven't caught up yet- I'm sorry, if it's between more, worst crap during the summer, and being forced down our throats the crap that didn't work the first time, at least, we chewed the first crap once before and it's easier to swallow now.

It's too late for this summer, we're already three episodes into "Last Comic Standing" and that's as good as it's gonna get folks, and I sat through an hour of "Undateable" to get to it, 'cause apparently giving "The Michael J. Fox Show" one more last-ditch try was simply not possible. (Alright, supposed you hated it too, but which would you rather have, something that sucks with Michael J. Fox, or something that sucks more and doesn't have him? At this point why the hell now, what's the difference between old shit and new shit if they're both shit?) So, I'm calling for every network, to put a moratorium on new shows, next year, from June to the end of August! That's right, I want to bring back Summer reruns. Just next year, we're gonna go back to the old format. An experiment, and see if it still works. It'll save the networks extra money, they don't have to create any extra Primetime product, maybe come up with a new promo or two that they were gonna come up with anyway, but that's it. They can find and showcase the shows they actually care about, and force it down our throats and see if we'll eat it, or hold their noses and shove it down and hope for the best. Either way, what's the difference? All networks, and I'm including cable here, 'cause I want to bring back the rerun standard; let's see what they end up putting on the air, if they know they're gonna have to rerun it later. They get nine months of the year to figure it out, let's use the summer three months to show off the best of your best a second time. We shouldn't there be an encore?  Give us another chance to see that great show or shows that we've been hearing about but completely missed before, even if they're canceled, let's get one last shot at it. If it's still bad, no harm, no foul, if it's turns out it's halfway decent and more people are interested, plenty of time to reconsider, plus, more data to figure out your mid-season replacement options, just in case. You might need to take another chance on Whitney Cummings pilot after all. We'll be given the opportunity to see more things, a real second try, not have to be beholden to anything else. I bet you money, shows that everybody discarded will get rediscovered, and I bet shows that we miss the first time, become bigger hits this second time around and something will get renewed, and television is gonna get better across the board 'cause how it always happen. This myth that since reality became predominate television in Primetime and the serial dramas became the norm that now, we need to constantly put something new on all year long, is just crap, and I'm tired of actually having Summer time to watch TV, only to now have nothing on to watch anymore.

You know why this every-few-month a new set of shows has worked in England for years? 'Cause for years they only had three or four channels! That had to do it to fit everything good in. Now, we're doing it, with a thousand channels? I'm done with it, and I hope everyone else is too, 'cause it needs to go back, and it's time to force this on the networks. If your shows are really that damn good that they're worth airing, then why not leave them on the air and keep replaying them! Promote them like their new, let them be on 'cause they're still as good as they ever were to begin with.

Now, I don't know how to go about this, whether this is something we take to each network, or to the FCC, or how to get this reversed, this trend, and return to the rerun schedule of old, but we gotta work at it. We need a "Network"-level Paddy Chayefsky moment, and let the networks know that, enough is enough, and mad as Hell, and, maybe I'm the only one who sees things clearly, but there's no water cooler shows anymore. There isn't. There's no shows that we're discussing the next morning, there's shows that have been on the air for five years that your friend's gonna walk up to you one day and go "Hey, have you ever heard of this show, I streamed it last night, it's good," as though they're shocked and I haven't been telling that person how good it's been the whole fucking time. I'm done with that. We're gonna make the public know and care more about good television, by pushing it down our throats as often as possible until we get it, and if they don't, it's there lost, and if that means a few extra reruns of shows that suck, to make sure everybody gets the reruns of the good shows, (scoffs) it's the same trade-off we've been making for years, and it's worked out fine. It's time to make it work again. Networks, don't just give us, the option of seeing it. Nobody's more powerful and influential in the cultural sphere of America than the guys that own the airwaves, not the other way around, so act like it, and "make" us watch it!
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