Archives For TV Shows

It used to be that once the spring TV season ended, I’d pretty much shut off my TV and take a break for the next three months. Occasionally, I might check out a rerun, but by and large, the time between the end of basketball season and the start of football was always a TV wasteland for me.

Of course that was before TiVo. Once I got a taste of time shifting, I realized that my television season never had to end. Over the years, I’ve missed a lot of good TV, but between the TV syndication agreements and TiVo’s ability to automatically record every episode, the summer has turned out to be a perfect time to catch up on shows that I’ve missed. Whether it’s been going back and watching every single Twilight Zone or catching the X-Files a decade after it aired, TiVo’s season pass functionality has supercharged my reruns in a way, that was never possible before.

Some shows are better suited for summer TiVoing, but when it comes to episodic content, there is a downside to TiVo reruns. The shows aren’t always in the order that they originally aired and it’s almost always impossible to catch the first episodes. This isn’t a big deal for sitcoms and some reality shows, but when it comes to episodic content, it leaves you confused over the storyline and can spoil earlier episodes, you haven’t seen yet.

That is where my Netflix account kicks in. If I know that I really want to see a series that tells a story, I’ll use Netflix to make sure that I get to see it in order. If I’m not sure if a show will be interesting or not, I’ll record a couple of episodes on TiVo and test drive it before committing to watching the entire series. This has improved my overall television experience because there is always at least some fresh content that I can watch.

Over the last few years, the studios have also started releasing more and more new series each summer. It’s a chance for them to try out more experimental shows or concepts. A lot of these new shows are things that I probably wouldn’t check out during the normal TV season, but with a little extra downtime, I’m willing to experiment with new programs, even if there is a good chance they won’t be back again next summer.

So far there have only been a couple of the summer premiers, that have become favorites, but if I can find two or three decent shows to start following, it would be enough to keep me busy. Here are some of the new shows, that I plan on checking out over the next couple of months.

Continue Reading…

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I heard some interesting news on a call today. Apparently this past weekend may have been the worst ever for the big three TV networks. On Saturday night CBS, ABC and NBC got a total audience share of 14. Eek!

I was just remarking yesterday that there seem to be fewer shows on network TV that I want to watch (both Studio 60 and Veronica Mars were canceled). Not that I’m spending much time watching online video today, but no doubt that will change over the next few years.

In the meantime, basic cable seems to be stepping up to the plate. USA Network’s Starter Wife had a good first week, and my favorite new show (which thankfully got renewed for the fall) is The Riches. (Don’t tell me about the season finale because I haven’t watched it yet!) It used to be you could get good shows on premium cable channels, but not so much on the basic tier.

Is cable finally starting to live up to its promise now that Internet TV is looming? And how are the broadcast networks going to survive?

ABC Online in HD

Mari Silbey —  May 16, 2007

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Anyone else worried about what online HD streaming from ABC is going to do to Internet connection speeds?

Multichannel News reports that ABC is claiming to be the first major TV programmer to stream HDTV online. The network will start its HD test in July with content (full episodes?) from Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and Ugly Betty. Broadcasting and Cable adds an interesting note that ABC is not detailing what bit-rate it will use to compress the HD video.

Um, bandwidth issues anyone?

It’s good to know that the head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is a big TV fan. In an interview with Broadcasting and Cable’s John Eggerton, here’s what Kyle McSlarrow said he records:

  1. Lost
  2. Medium
  3. 24
  4. Battlestar Galactica
  5. Stargate
  6. Shark
  7. CSI
  8. Monk
  9. The Closer

mcslarrow.jpgMeanwhile McSlarrow is presiding over an eventful trade conference this week in Sin City, The Cable Show. It’s not eventful so much because of activities at the show itself, but because of a tragic and unexpected explosion outside the Luxor Hotel and the news of HBO CEO Chris Albrecht’s arrest in Vegas just after his success with the broadcast of Saturday night’s fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The sideshow may be taking over for the main tent.

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Between the two of us, Dave and I managed to give away over 50 Joost invites and probably sacrificed a couple of hours to the cause. However, GigaOm has managed to find a solution to the difficulty of emailing these puppies out one at a time. Working with Joost, they’ve developed a landing page where all you have to do is fill in your own info for an invite. Problem solved.

Sorry to the folks we didn’t get to in the comment lists. Enjoy your newfound access. But one word of caution, Gizmodo reports that new beta users are inundating the Joost system, causing it to “stumble” rather than “sprint.” Good luck.

For avid TV watchers, May is one of the best times of the years. The networks strut out their best quality stuff, there are plenty of cliff hangers, NBA finals (Go Lakers) and don’t even get me started on the season/series finales. It’d be nicer if we could just have fresh content all year round, but for whatever reason the networks want to make consumers gorge on television, just to take it all in for one month. At least there will be time for sunlight during summer reruns. ;)

For advertisers and the studios though, May marks the start of a vicious frenzy of negotiations, where fortunes can be won and lost in a bizzarre game of chicken, that I’m not sure I’ll ever understand. Every year, we see the same dance, the studios unveil their A list stuff and the marketing agencies come drooling with their blank checkbooks.

Last year though, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Issues like DVR usage and streaming internet video started to creep into the negotiations. The marketing agencies demanded that they only pay for live viewers and the studios tried to convince them that DVRs were somehow actually good for them.

The truth was though, that the studios had lost control and eventually the ad agencies were able to negotiate rates on their terms, instead of having to cave to last minute pressure. With May sweeps about to start up all over again, you can bet that both sides are positioning themselves for how they plan on dealing with these irritating DVR owners. Continue Reading…

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Dave and I are having a disagreement about the plot twist in the season finale of Battlestar Galactica (I liked it; he didn’t). Fortunately, BSG now has something of a choose-your-own-adventure option. Fans are being encouraged to create their own BSG video clips online. The Sci Fi Channel site gives you visual effects, sounds and music clips to use in your own video masterpiece. You put the whole thing together and submit it by June 1st for a chance to have your clip aired during an upcoming episode. (“Upcoming” means 2008, which is when BSG actually continues…)

Personally, I think the Sci Fi Channel should provide actual footage of the BSG actors for fans to use. Watermark them or make them low-resolution, but don’t make people rely on the bad acting of their friends.