When will we be able to see the first season of Life again?
Or Chuck, or Pushing Daisies, or Private Practice for that matter. With the announcement that FOX was going to offer a marathon of The Sarah Connor Chronicles starting on August 10th I got to wondering about the other freshman shows that made an impression on viewers before the Writers Strike abruptly ended their seasons. Many of these shows haven't been seen since the end of last year.
For Life, the last original episode to air was December 5th. With the second season premiere slated to air during the first week of October, it will be nearly a year since viewers had a chance to bond with Detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese. That's a bit of a concern when it comes to this show. On the surface Life is a criminal procedural. However, underneath there has been an second story about Charlie's quest to clear his good name for a murder he didn't commit. While the first arc of this story was completed in its "season finale," there is plenty of story to tell.
Question is, who is going to watch Life when it returns? Fans may or may not come back to the show just to see how the story wraps up for Charlie. But, what about new viewers? Will they hook on to a show that already has an underlying story that they need to catch up on? Especially in its new time slot of Friday of 10 pm?
That's why a rebroadcast of the first season of this, and other freshman shows, is most important for this upcoming season. Due to the Writers Strike, there was much more retention when it came to primetime schedules, which means shows like Private Practice, Chuck and Pushing Daisies were given second chances to prove themselves. If the networks don't promote these shows by airing their first seasons ahead of time how will they be able to make any headway with their fans and new viewers?
Sure, you could argue that viewers could go online to watch these shows to get some idea about characters and plot. However, the image they would get of some shows would be incomplete. Take Chuck, for example. Doing a search on Hulu, this show only has three episodes available for viewing -- all of them from the beginning of the series. As the tone of the show changed from those first few episodes viewers may not be able to get a feel for what the new season will be like. Then, there's the intimacy issue of watching these shows online. While Hulu offers all 11 episodes of Life's first season on their site, there are still viewers who would rather watch the show in the comfort of their living rooms rather than on their laptops.
Despite the opinions of some experts, television is still very important when it comes to the popularity and life of primetime shows. By airing the freshman seasons of these programs the networks have a chance of bringing in both the advertisers and the fans for the new season. By not airing these shows sometime during the summer, the networks run the risk of losing the fans they already have and filling empty spots that, due to the Writers Strike, they just don't have the material for.