25 July 2012

A serious lack of Community

It appears that NBC is desperate to sink 'Community', the funniest TV programme on 'tv'. It will sadly mope along the lonely road to where Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Sarah Conner:TTC, Defying Gravity, Dollhouse, and many more reside. 

Britain has largely given up on US tv. We sell them tv now like Dr Who and Top Gear. Mainly because by the time we get a show, it's been cancelled. Programmes like Firefly, Community, Lie to Me, & Pushing Daisies are ideal for Europe but networks don't promote them or sell them abroad. It's like "We made this... but we don't care." US Networks need to start firing people who don't give a toss. 

THIS is how they think, and what they think is important to them.

Public -think- tv show
Nielsen -think- market share
Network -think- network loyalty

This disconnect is killing tv as we know it.

When was the last time you looked at a show and thought "Oh, it's on X network. It must be good!" Me? Never (except for porn channels). It's always been about the content.. and you can get that anywhere these days. NBC is the first in a long line of casualties as the world goes BBC or HBO and actually gets what they pay for. Other channels will start to crowd themselves with advertising that doesnt work in an effort to stay afloat. Like two tramps fighting over a rat

I'd love to watch these shows legally, ya know, like I'm in the 21st century or something and have the interwebs and not from the past... but all I get is 'This great funny show is not available in your area n' shit.". So, it's off to the hi-def streaming site I go.

The numbers that Firefly & Pushing Daisies used to get would put it in the top 20 shows in the US easily today.. but I haven't watched a tv for YEARS. I went to a mate's house recently and he put his lovely 60" LED on and I saw... (gulp) a commercial! I thought he'd switched channels! (and the standard of tv ads are now as good as radio ads and radio ads now seem like post apocalyptic warnings from the afterlife. Everytime I hear a radio ad now, I imagine it's coming out of a echo filled rusty car radio in a nuclear wasteland from Bioshock or 9 or Fallout). Post-irony tinged with tragedy. Conan O'Brien shouting out to an empty city that cannot hear him. Maybe we'll see Jay Leno stood on his own, waiting sycophantically for a bunch of zombies to rush up and shake his hand.

The Nielsen ratings, I think, are primarily to blame. Most of us who like good, well written programmes  watch tv shows online now because we're busy, or out, or roleplaying, or pretending we have girlfriends so we catch up on 4OD, or BBC iPlayer, download sites, or, God forbid... if we're really desperate, ITV Player. Nielsen ratings in the US are like shampoo or make-up ads, in that they ask a tiny amount of people what they watch and 'guesstimate' the results for the nation. You've seen those ads. '61% of 211 women thought it was the mutt's nuts.'
No idea why people cling to this Neilsen thing. At first I thought it was a Danish cop drama like 'The Killing', 'Borgen', or 'The Bridge'. But no, it's the death throes of tv. All that will be left is a smashed screen in an alley with chalk around it.

I'll miss Community. But in the scheme of things it just goes to the same place as Pushing Daisies & Firefly. A feeling of helplessness. 'There's no use in trying.' We've all become resigned to good tv dying which means there's no reason to invest in US tv anymore (in general). TV execs know sweet FA and, as yet, they have failed to realise that programming has spread to other devices and the tv is now the domain of those who watch big brother and (country)'s got talent. TV, by association, is for numb brained insaneonauts.

I have just discovered that Community IS shown in the UK. On a channel called Viva. Which I've never heard of. It looks like a cable channel and Community competes with shows like 'The Fresh Prince', 'Punk'd', and Teleshopping. I'd be surprised if it has a thousand viewers.

As a fan of MLS and US tv shows I think it's imperative that US networks cease their failing protectionism by making content global, throw out Nielsen ratings so they can gain accurate data, and fire half the staff who won't take a chance on tv.

If you think I'm wrong then ask other Browncoats (Firefly fans) how they feel. Joss Whedon was treated terribly by Fox. They ruined Firefly's run and cut it short... He recently directed The Avengers. How's that for vindication?