Monday, September 30, 2013

TV is Fantastic But Television is Frustrating

With the state of television changing, networks are scrambling to figure out how to stay relevant in the age of Netflix, piracy, DVRs, OnDemand and TV on DVD.

Honestly I want to see bolder tactics by networks. Now AMC probably doesn't think it needs the advice considering the Breaking Bad finale had over 10 million viewers (which for all of you playing at home, is nuts.) This final season was incredible and I know it's going to play a whole lot better on DVD.

Imagine if AMC didn't try to force the season into its framework, but vice versa. Looking at the episodes, it would have been an amazing night of television if they made "To'hajiilee" and "Ozymandias" a two-parter. Label them as two separate hours so you can chart two different ratings. Don't worry about drop-off because who the hell would not see what would happen after that cliffhanger.

Then make "Granite State" and "Felina" a two-parter because that tonally fits a lot more than giving them a week apart. In fact, go BBC style and have limited commercials for the final episode and then about 15+ minutes of ads between the two. That gives the audience a nice breather and a chance to go to the bathroom before it all ends. Then the final episode can be as clean as possible. (Yes, I know sponsors want that time in the middle of the episode but at the rate the world's moving, nobody is going to watch shows live within a few years.)

Ultimately this doesn't matter because the show will hold up on its own and people discovering this in a few years won't even know how stupid it was that there was a ridiculous hashtag on-screen the entire time or the ad breaks felt very awkward especially for the first half. People will just see the season as a set on Blu-Ray or Netflix and feel the compulsion to watch it all as soon as possible.

I'm still holding out as liking the time in-between episodes because of the chance to discuss it all week and then it becomes an event that you can gather with friends to watch the new episode (or episodes). Not looking at the quality of the shows, it's always a more fulfilling experience to gather to watch Game of Thrones than Breaking Bad simply because of how the product is presented.

If everybody in the world is going to continue to compare the quality of TV shows as cinematic, when will networks start to act like theatres?