Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Lords of Television

There's been a trend of late that's been bothering me more and more. In the past, it was only natural for television programs to be cancelled due to a lack of ratings. Shows were watched by families or single viewers and that was it, that's all you had. Sure, with VHS coming in you could record it, but you could never rely on the quality and if you wanted to keep it you needed a library as large as your home - besides the fact that the VHS machine never seemed to be hooked up onto the right channel.

But, in this modern day, we can pause live television, TIVO our favourite shows and even, using the miraculous curse known as Pay TV, even press a single button and record an entire series, just in case you aren't there to watch it live.
In an age like this, it no longer makes sense to cancel shows due to poor ratings - odds are, with the prevalence of recording devices and Pay TV, most people aren't watching any shows live anymore. Sure, there are family nights watching certain shows and that kind of thing, we all enjoy it, but that doesn't deaden the fact that we mostly record our shows and watch them later.
With this, ratings should play far less of a role and quality should be the only consideration.

Recently, two shows were cancelled without any reason other than ratings. The tremendous show - created by Juno writer Diablo Cody and starring classy Australian actress Toni Collette - The United States of Tara was cancelled due to lack of ratings in its third season.
Admittedly, it was a lot more lucky than the best new crime drama on television in recent years starring ex-Sopranos star Michael Imperioli and created by Jason Richman, the show Detroit 1-8-7 was cancelled last week after it's magnificent first season. Due to ratings.

TV lovers will be aware that this happens all the time, most notably the followers of classic show Firefly, cancelled for the same reasons, as well as Huff - though, admittedly, Huff's writing went WAY downhill in season 2.

I don't know, I guess I'm just saying that ratings don't matter nearly as much as they used to and do more damage to good shows than anything else. Kind of like how useless the preliminary opinion polls of US Presidential candidates is, but that's another story.
Give them another shot on Pay TV and the will flower, damnit.

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