Monday, December 17, 2007

Support The Writer's Strike

It really doesn't matter how much of a cost savings the networks think they are going to have due to the Writer's strike and the increased reliance on reality shows, that will dry up soon. While America may be a superficial nation in more regards than are seemly, reality television is only attractive to those who like to see others suffer and fail. That glow will pall soon. Perhaps if networks would let new shows air more than once or twice, they wouldn't have to produce so many pilots. Some shows are so bad that the don't need more than one or two airings before being canceled, but shows like Firefly were canceled even though they had a loyal following.

I worked at Universal for several years and the one thing that was made clear to me, even more that years of television watching, is that the majority of shows are made for the lowest common denominator. That doesn't require much talent from anyone involved. Heroes was a brilliant show last year, but when they dumbed it down at the beginning of the season it lost viewers. I watched the first year of Desperate Housewives but three episodes into the second season, I was done. Brilliant writing, not notations from executives trying to homogenize everything to increase viewership, is the key. This explains my love of the third season of Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and other "arc" shows.

The Writer's strike is having an effect because the writers are valuable. Actors, directors and studio heads can, and have, been replaced and the shows have continued successfully. Usually when you replace the head writers or creators, the show goes down hill and gets canceled. Bionic Woman is the current example.

I miss The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, they need to come back so we have truth in news again. I know they are supposed to be comedy shows but they are the only ones who bother to comment on the important stuff that is glossed over by the news organizations in their efforts to be the Bush administration's mouthpieces.

The holidays will be over soon and then the networks are probably going to notice a big drop in viewership as people rediscover talking with friends, playing with their kids and pets or surf the internet for entertainment and intellectual stimulation. Paying the writers a decent wage and continuing to pay them every time the shows are aired, no matter what medium, is the smart thing to do. Trying to keep all the money for themselves will leave the studios all dressed up and no where to go. Not even to the awards ceremonies.


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