Archives For TV Shows

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Moman is fresh out of DVR-ed HD content and wondered if I (or any ZNF readers) have any suggestions on how his family might weather the remainder of the writers strike.

Unfortunately, things will get worse before they get better. Even if a deal is struck soon, it’ll be months before we see fresh content that hasn’t already been written and filmed. And speaking of that content – though I haven’t yet decided if I like it, the Terminator spin-off recently began. Plus Jericho and Lost will premiere shortly. Brent Evans is maintaining a list of other winter series.

I’ve really enjoyed both seasons of Dexter and know Moman will too, but he’s going to have to stay up late and watch it when the kids are sleeping. CBS will be running an edited version during prime time, but I suggest Mo pull the trigger on a Netflix subscription and check out the original. And speaking of previously aired shows, Burn Notice finally showed up on Amazon Unbox and iTunes a few weeks ago – I raced through the entire season on TiVo, iPhone, and MacBook Pro. Highly recommended.

Otherwise, with scripted television and college football mostly over, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing Call of Duty 4 and intend to Netflix Firefly. Though, that may have been the case anyway as the studios haven’t been allowing good content to incubate/blossom before pulling the plug. Fortunately for Melissa, she’s content with Bret Michaels, Snoop, and American Idol.

For continued strike coverage, a show status Wiki is being maintained and the LA Times is blogging the situation. Any suggestions for new series, past series, or smart reality content to check out?

My primary means for surviving the writers strike has been to load up my home theater PC DVR with recorded shows to watch through Spring and Summer 2008. Additionally, I’ll continue renting movies from Netflix and catch up on movies and TV shows that I missed out on before. While I’m at it, I’ll also spend some time outside.

Still, if I were a TV Network exec and trying to find several months of worthwhile programming, here’s what I’d do while waiting out writers strike. It’s actually a pretty easy solution and could revive some decent shows that deserved to be saved.

  • Firefly – Re-run the Firefly television episodes in their originally intended order and conclude with the Firefly Serenity movie. Promote the heck out of it and bring in tons of viewers who never saw it the first time. If Firefly gets decent rating, FOX could bring it back with new shows once the strike has ended for an easy hit TV show.
  • Jericho – With the new, second season of Jericho coming soon, CBS should air the first season once more in prime-time and promote it in a big way. They did this during the summer, but it was right around July 4th when many potential viewers were not watching television. Run it again now to get the attention it deserves and bring in new viewers ready to make the second season of Jericho a success.
  • Heroes – Show Heroes from the beginning, promote it, and bring in new viewers while audiences are desperate for quality content (read: not reality TV).

Bottom line is that networks can air quality re-runs and sufficiently promote them as must-watch “classics” – which could be supplemented with behind the scenes special clips and interviews.

What other shows should the networks resurrect for reruns? I’m thinking shows that have either been canceled and/or haven’t received the attention they deserved their first go-around. Also, how are you planning to deal with the writers strike fallout?

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

TV Studios Leveraging BitTorrent?

Dave Zatz —  December 16, 2007

According to a few recent stories, including this write-up from Last100, some studios may be intentionally seeding content onto BitTorrent:

pirate-bay.gifWhile the Motion Picture Association of America is uploading fake torrents of movies to discourage torrent use, mainstream television show producers are engaging in flirtatious trials with torrents as a viable new way to promote their programs and reach new audiences. Broadcasters aren’t posting their shows directly on PirateBay yet, but they are talking informally and giving copies of shows to a friend of a friend who is unaffiliated with the company to make a torrent. The Weeds show producer Jenji Kohan hinted at both her approval of the leaks and the reasons behind them […]

Unlike, music and movies which have historically relied on the sale of physical media, most television shows are disposable and don’t end up in syndication or as DVDs on our shelves. So, it’s a reasonable strategy to give away episodes as a means to draw in new viewers – whether the giving be done on a website or via BitTorrent. Those services have made a viewer out of me — Torrents for Dexter led to a Showtime subscription (good for them and Comcast) and catching up with torrents of Traveler led me to watch the show real-time with commercials. (Though the mini-series non-finale was BS, and I want all my time back.) Not to mention, if you’ve been keeping up with ZNF lately you know, I’m now a Burn Notice fan thanks to web-streaming via Hulu and awaiting Season 2 – which I’ll watch live.

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Canadians looking for alternative ways to consume their media are having a pretty good month… Though much later than their southern US neighbors, in the last three weeks TiVo, Xbox 360 movie downloads, and now iTunes television downloads have been made available. iTunes TV purchases run $1.99 CAD which closely mirrors the US dollar. (For comparison, not everyone is pleased with Microsoft’s Points exchange rate.)

In other digital TV news, dedicated video download STB Vudu ($399) is also offering show purchases for $1.99 USD. However, until they significantly drop that hardware fee they won’t have many takers.

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More news came out today on both Hulu and NBC. First, Last100 picked up on a new site called OPENhulu which allows anyone to access Hulu content. No beta invite required. Read all the details on the Last100 post, or just go straight to the site and start watching shows. Only some of the Hulu content is up so far, but it’s a good start, and genius Matt Schlicht promises to keep adding. (Please don’t sue him, Hulu…)

Meanwhile, while NBC’s joint Hulu venture with News Corp is going well, other aspects of NBC’s business are not. Word has it that NBC is writing refund checks to its advertisers for missing ratings guarantees. Ouch. Remember when NBC was must-see TV? Dave and I compared notes and he says he’s still watching 30 Rock and Journeyman on the network, while I’m hanging on to Chuck and Scrubs. I guess there’s not a whole lot else on NBC worth watching. I was going to try out Heroes, but after hearing that season two hasn’t been that great, I’m not sure I’m willing to invest the effort.

Finally, back in the good news column, several folks wrote today about NBC starting to offer content through SanDisk’s Fanfare service as of this January. The content will be DRM-protected of course, but you’ll be able to watch it on a PC or using one of SanDisk’s TakeTV USB gadgets.

Two good news items and one bad for NBC? We’ll call it a good day.

(Thanks, Todd!)

The Writers Strike Aftermath

Brent Evans —  December 5, 2007

tvfuzz6.pngDue to the writers strike, I’ve been keeping a running tab at how many television episodes remain and it’s beginning to look pretty grim. Here’s a rundown of the casualties and where a few favorite television shows stand:

Season Canceled
24 was set to premier in January 2008. Fox wanted to air all 24 episodes without interruption, and since they haven’t all been filmed, there’ll be no 24 this winter.

Zero Episodes Remain
Heroes, Desperate Housewives, Big Bang Theory, Bionic Woman, The Family Guy, The Office, Reaper, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men

1 Episode Remains
Chuck, Criminal Minds, Girlfriends, Life, Pushing Daisies, Shark

2 Episodes Remain
Back to You, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy, K-Ville, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Moonlight, My Name is Earl, Private Practice

3 Episodes Remain
Bones, Brothers and Sisters, CSI, Dirt, House, Journeyman, Numbers

For a complete listing of remaining shows, including air dates and information on other shows premiering in 2008, check out the frequently updated Brent Evans Geek Tonic: How Many TV Shows Remain.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  December 3, 2007

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs: