The Bob Newhart Show
Recently, when the American Masters did a special about Bob Newhart, they showed footage from The Bob Newhart Show. No, not the one with Suzanne Pleshette as Emily. They had clips from the 1961-62 Bob Newhart Show on NBC. It was a variety hour, showcasing many of his now classic routines. It looked really funny, filled with his inspired sketches and bits. And it was critically acclaimed, too, winning Emmy and Peabody awards. Naturally, NBC canceled it after just one season. I'd love to think that there's enough footage from those shows to create a DVD.
As I'm sure you've heard by now quarterlife was a huge failure on network television. Those of you who read my unfavorable review of the show last week know that I didn't see much of a future for the show anyway and yet, I feel that the show was still treated unfairly by the people in charge, i.e. NBC.
Producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz designed this show to appeal to a very specific audience, men and women in their mid-twenties who spend a lot of time online. Now, that may seem like a very small demographic if you're a 40-year-old TV addict like me. but I actually know people in their mid-twenties who don't watch network TV. One of my friends, who is chronically hip insists that the only time he watches network television is online or on DVD. Aside from making me feel very old, his revelation cleared up some things for me.
Herskovitz and Zwick reportedly launched the series (about a twentysomething video blogger and her friends) directly on the web in order to maintain complete creative control. However, after viewing the series online , I began to suspect that quarterlife simply wasn't good enough for primetime. In fact, I doubted it would ever gain a strong fanbase or end up on network television.
Shows how much I know.
I mentioned last week, that I am a huge fan of Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (creators of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again), and I was eagerly anticipating the launch of their new webseries, quarterlife. Lots of people have talked about producing programming for the internet, but nobody has been able to launch a completely original successful series with mass appeal and excellent production value -- yet. So, I put a lot of faith behind the professional team of Herskovitz and Zwick, and applauded their bold experiment.
Unfortunately, their experiment, at least to me, went horribly wrong.
Luckily, Herskovitz and Zwick are back with a brand new series, called quarterlife. The series, however, will not currently be available on ABC or any other network. Herskovitz and Zwick are bringing this new series to life on the web. And in a recent L.A. Times item, Herskovitz explains why they've left traditional television behind.
Herskovitz believes "the business of television has become an exclusive club, closed to new members," which has some producers "turning to the internet to have a voice."
One of the things that resonated with me as I watched the DVD extras, watched the early shows again, just for some perspective after a year of watching, is that this is a really good show.
Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, who count Thirtysomething and My So Called Life among their credits, are getting ready to premiere their newest project, Quarterlife. This one is a little bit different though, as it's not another conventional TV show. Instead, Quarterlife is a web based, advertising supported, series that will air on Myspace. The episodes will be about eight minutes long and follow the lives of a group of college friends that have just recently graduated.
Despite the pleadings of many fans, DVDs of the 20-year-old Emmy-winning dramatic series thirtysomething have yet to be (officially) released.
While fans (like yours truly) patiently wait for thirtysomething DVDs to go on sale, the four actresses who starred in the yuppie-focused show spoke with People magazine about being in their 50s, about cosmetic surgery, about the fact that they're spokeswomen for an arthritis prevention campaign (Arthritis? It has been a long time!) and about their love lives.
With The Sopranos concluding next year, NBC must be hoping that we'll still want our violent mobster fix.
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