All Jason wants for Festivus
It's that festive time of year when children put tinsel on the television antennas and hang mistletoe over their favorite DVDs. Where celebrities check into rehab to spend the holidays with all their celebrity friends. And where the rest of America is invited to corporate non-specific, non-religious, non-alcoholic generic winter holiday luncheons where they can mingle with their co-workers and say things like "Remember when this company used to have real Christmas parties?"
But while political correctness may have ruined most holiday functions, nothing can ruin Festivus! That magical season in which TV Squadders hope and pray for televisions dreams come true. And I know just what I want...
1. The strike to change American television
I'm not going to say an end to the strike, because it has to end sometime ... right? But there's a lot of opportunity here to rethink the way we do things in this country with television. And I'll start with one simple thing. No more adherence to a strict "fall schedule," no more crap filler episodes (if you only need 18 episodes to tell your season story, than only use 18 episodes), and no more interruptions for repeats throughout a season run. Run the whole thing through and then go back and repeat it if you want to. If not, put it on DVD or syndicate it. Okay, maybe that's three things.
But Lost got sixteen episode seasons which will air uninterrupted by reruns, and reality shows get all sorts of varying lengths depending on what they need, so why can't scripted shows do the same? I know most comedies and procedurals can do as many or as few as needed and be fine because there's very little continuity, but I hope the Lost model leads to inspiration. Make every episode count, start airing them when they're ready regardless of season and the viewers will reward you with greater loyalty. Other countries have been doing it for years!
2. Jericho and Journeyman to make it
They seem like incredible long-shots but I'm pulling for both. Journeyman seems almost impossible to hope for, but man has that show gotten great these past few weeks. Dumping the last two completed episodes together, but on different nights, this week doesn't bode well for it. But there's always the strike. If it goes too long, it may be easier to renew bubble shows like Journeyman and Bionic Woman then try and pick up a new ... oh wait, there are no new shows in development.
As for Jericho, while it's "Nuts" campaign gave it a very short seven episode second season, the fact that it's only seven episodes means that the networks weren't too confident that ratings would increase, and I don't know that I am either. Maybe the strike absence of most of the bigger shows this winter will help more people give it a try. One can only hope as this post-apocalyptic drama had a lot of heart and a sense of hope that most shows of its type lack.
3. Networks to stream every show online
They don't have to leave them up indefinitely, but if nothing else, I hope this strike allows all of the shows I watch to be available for online viewing. As it stands, I can watch a lot of television online, but not The Amazing Race, Boston Legal or Smallville. And you can forget about cable shows. And I know I'm not going to convince a pay channel like Showtime or HBO to let me see their shows for free, by why doesn't AMC put Mad Men online or FX put all their goodies over at FOX.com.
As I know this is a big button issue in the strike, maybe they do get the potential of streaming these shows online. Certainly the mandatory and repetitive commercials that come with online viewing get the advertisers messages across. Young people spend a lot of time in front of computers and working people spend a lot of time screwing off at work, watching videos on YouTube and playing Solitaire. Wouldn't you rather they be watching Damages and at the same time getting bombarded in the face with an advertisement that the last season of The Shield is coming soon. Oh and that Bounty is the quicker picker upper.
4. To own every TV-Show-on-DVD and have the time to watch them
As great as it is to see all the great shows I remembered and loved come to DVD, and as quickly as I try and snatch them up, there are way too many and I don't make nearly enough money to get them all, and if I did when would I find the time to watch them. I currently have Soap, Arrested Development, Carnivale, The Muppet Show, Sliders, Babylon 5, Looney Tunes, Family Guy, Lost, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos and Deadwood waiting for me to finish watching them. And yet there's Quantum Leap, Little House on the Prairie (sue me, I liked it!), The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Smallville, South Park, Star Trek (all), That '70s Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H and many more that I know I'm forgetting. I'd have to retire now and do nothing but watch TV for a few decades! And hope that nothing good comes out in the next thirty years ... maybe I don't want the strike to end after all.
5. To finish moving so I can get back to what matters
This one is purely personal, but we're in the middle of moving and nothing makes you feel more completely out of sorts than being "between" places. Nothing is where you expect it to be, your whole life feels just off, and if you don't have your satellite/cable hooked up yet you're missing all your shows and your TiVo isn't doing anything at all. I just want it all to be done so I can get back to sitting on my duff watching TV, curling up on the couch with a good book, or snuggling up with the missus in my own bedroom.
And finally, I hope for the best in everything for the writers, producers, actors and everyone involved in television from the folks who make the shows to the folks who watch the shows to all of you fine readers who join us every day on this blogging adventure to discuss the shows.