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One And Done, Do The Networks Get It Right?


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#21 of 30 Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 08:58 PM

Network tv always has and always will cannibalize a lot of it's material. If it's not #1, no one should be surprised if it goes away. A lot of cable shows would never last as long had they been on network tv. It's a sad truth that it just out there. A lot of new shows each season will always be cancelled, regardless of how large their audiene is if it's not the top dog or what the network wants. Which can very, some networks do/had given shows more leeway, and some quite frankly don't give any.

 

However i highly disagee that a term like "no one watched it" is pretty much just internet jargon garbage. As someone who's job it is to be able to measure what my own and competitors entertainment does, it is highly ridiculous to not look at things in the bigger picture. The only metrics we have to measure success is money and longevity. Opinions don't mean much of anything to success because every joe has one.And yes the includes the original station. They had to make a business decision and yes sometimes popular things aren't popular enough to survive. If we were to say only successful things aren't hated, we can never say anything is successful because every hit has haters. If we go in the reverse and say that things that are hated by more people than liked aren't successful, we'd be in denial when things that are clearly a minority yet bring home millions each year.

 

For money without financials it's hard sometimes to know the money lines, but the truth is the end product right now in entertainment is home sales and streaming contracts. Where the actual line there is pretty low. And in fact with MOD lines, the line to get to profit is directly made on the price floor. Making just about any one season show stand a good chance to be considered successful. Since it appears being not that high up in ratings in one and done season on tv is still more than enough to be successful decades later.

 

And the other metric of course is longevity. Unless you are one of those repressed people who think growing up, means your tastes get smaller and smaller (which really seems to be an internet problem), people don't forget what they liked. If people are still talking about it years later, that's pretty much a sign it did something right. Hell i'd use some of those one and done shows as an example of exactly how to be a success. If your show hasn't been seen regurally on tv on decades and facebook and twitter light up when it comes to DVD, that's damn amazing.

 

All in all, the entertainment world grows every single day. More things are trying to cement their legacies and stay relevant, and they are all scales of this. While X may be a lot less popular than Y, it's all the easy both X and Y can still be successful. And besides anything that was that unsuccessful in it's original run, wouldn't even be mentioned in 2013 if it was.

Jargon??? This post is nothing but a bunch of statistical jargon that proves..... ? I don't know what it proves. I guess it is some glorified graduate level economics lesson that requires an interpreter to decipher. Despite the verbose nature of the response the point remains the same. Simply put, for we uneducated idiots, if people don't watch it... it gets cancelled. End of lesson.



#22 of 30 Matt Hough

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Posted October 29 2013 - 04:23 AM

It's funny but a lot of these "one and shouldn't be done" shows come from the past decade. I'll piggyback on your list. The Event was a quality show with an interesting premise and personally I believe cancelling Alcatraz after one season was a travesty. There was also another show following the lives of a bunch of ex bank robbery hostages that was pretty good. I just bring to mind the name of that series.

 

I think it was called The Nine.

 

Rob Estes had an entertaining procedural show called The Evidence that I really liked, too.



#23 of 30 rich_d

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Posted October 29 2013 - 04:46 AM

One that comes to mind is The Paper Chase (1978).  Yeah, I know it came back eventually on cable but the original series was some of the absolute best broadcast TV of its time. 

 

I remember that in the fall the show got bounced around because of scheduling playoff baseball to such a degree that it stuck in my mind.  As normally scheduled (not that normally truly applied) it also went up against Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley.  I would still love to meet the scheduler who decided on that.  Such a shame. 



#24 of 30 Jack P

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Posted October 29 2013 - 08:42 AM

Playoff baseball wouldn't have impacted Paper Chase one bit because they were on CBS and all the baseball back then was on ABC and NBC.    Unless you're talking about being up against postseason baseball on the other networks.



#25 of 30 rich_d

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Posted October 29 2013 - 12:11 PM

Playoff baseball wouldn't have impacted Paper Chase one bit because they were on CBS and all the baseball back then was on ABC and NBC.    Unless you're talking about being up against postseason baseball on the other networks.

 

Actually neither.  If memory serves, CBS just didn't schedule them against baseball and moved episodes to another night or just dropped it off the schedule for a couple weeks (I can't remember).  All I can really remember is the show not being at its regularly scheduled day/time.


Edited by rich_d, October 29 2013 - 03:17 PM.


#26 of 30 Brian Himes

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Posted October 30 2013 - 04:42 AM

For the era that you mentioned, I'd say that 80% of the time the networks were right in cancelling the shows as quickly as they did. There were a few that shouldn't have been cancelled so quickly or at least not cancelled for the reasons that were given. Bridget Loves Bernie was cancelled because of the controversy of the mixed marriage and not due to poor ratings. That was a stupid reason to cancel it. People were obviously watching so the controvery wasn't hurting the ratings.

 

Some shows, like the 1991 Dark Shadows, were cancelled because of an internal management change and the new management didn't like the show (no matter how well it was doing) so they axed it. It wasn't the low ratings that killed Dark Shadows. In fact, the ratings for the last three or four episodes were going up. So the show was building an audience and should have been renewed for a second season. However, when Brandon Tartikoff left NBC, Dark Shadows lost its biggest supporter.

 

I think that Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and a few others were cancelled way too early. ABC tried to correct their mistake with Galactica by bringing it back, but it failed. In fact, I really wish Galactica 1980 had never happened. It was just dreadful. God, so painfully dreadful. Also, after what I read of Larson's ideas for the second season of Galactica, I'm glad the show was cancelled. I would have hated to watch the show go into the toilet.

 

NBC found out a couple of years after cancelling Star Trek that the show appealed to the all important 18-35 male demographic. Big oops on NBC's part. However, in defense of NBC, the writing of the third season of Star Trek was pretty bad, so maybe they were somewhat correct in cancelling the show. If it had gone onto a fourth year, I hate to think of what dreadful scripts would have been thrown at us. God, more Spock's Brain type scripts. The thought just makes my head hurt. Then again, considering the mostly good quality stories that the animated Star Trek did, the fourth season could have been one of Trek's very best. Sadly we'll never know.

 

As for why we continue to request these one and done shows on DVD, I think that yes, it has more to do with nostalgia. They were shows that we probably enjoyed as a kid and would like to see again. I know that is why I keep hoping that The Hot L Baltimore is released. I watched it as a kid and I know that most of the humour went over my head. I'd really like to see it as an adult to see if the show as really any good or if it was just bad.

 

You could also throw in the cheese factor. Sometimes people want these shows on DVD because they were so bad that they just have to be seen to be believed. Super Train anyone? Manimal? Lucan? Galactica 1980?


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#27 of 30 Ejanss

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Posted October 30 2013 - 06:36 AM

As for why we continue to request these one and done shows on DVD, I think that yes, it has more to do with nostalgia. They were shows that we probably enjoyed as a kid and would like to see again. I know that is why I keep hoping that The Hot L Baltimore is released. I watched it as a kid and I know that most of the humour went over my head. I'd really like to see it as an adult to see if the show as really any good or if it was just bad.

 

You could also throw in the cheese factor. Sometimes people want these shows on DVD because they were so bad that they just have to be seen to be believed. Super Train anyone? Manimal? Lucan? Galactica 1980?

 

We want to show off that we've HEARD of them, and use the flimsy cheap excuse to bring up the subject in conversation.  Nobody could really want a complete Hot L Baltimore boxset, they just wanted to find out whether anyone else had the same sighting memories too.

In fact, if you want it that badly, there is a Galactica 1980 boxset, http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B000W4KT9G/ , but I seriously doubt that's why anyone brings it up in a "Weird shows you remembered as a kid" thread.

 

As for anything else....enjoy the Smart-app YouTube era.  I've looked up some of the cheesy shows I remember on the Tube, and discover that while there may not be entire series boxsets, there are enough rare collectors with VCR's in the early 80's to at least provide their own little Museum of Broadcasting for you to get your look at just what the heck was so bad about Manimal, Supertrain or Automan.  (Can it be that we have a generation that's actually forgotten the name of Fred Silverman?  When I was growing up in the late-70's/early-80's, junior, the very name was synonymous with why NBC came up with such ridiculous shows, and they carved Supertrain on his tombstone....Er, unless he's still alive of course.)

Case in point, while I wouldn't beg for a boxset of "Project UFO", I'm happily discovering the collector that uploaded the entire set of episodes.  That's one of the perks of the Cutting the Cord era.  :)



#28 of 30 Jack P

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Posted October 30 2013 - 07:26 AM

"Project UFO" is another case of a show that was great in its first season but it made changes for its second season that drove away its audience.     William Jordan leaving and being replaced by Edward Winter didn't help (you just couldn't take him seriously as a strait-laced officer after his MASH guest shots as the psycho Colonel Flagg) and changing the theme music also wasn't good.      That's a case where if it had just run the first season only and not had its brief second season, I'd be more inclined to think of the "what if" potential!

 

OTOH, I've noticed how a lot of short-lived sci-fi series of the 70s that only lasted half a season and became cult favorites and even made it to DVD, clearly lasted just that long for a reason.   "Planet Of The Apes", "Logan's Run" and "The Invisible Man" I have all watched on DVD and I notice how all shows suffer from the problem of how after the novelty of the premise is exhausted in the first few episodes, what then follows aren't very compelling *stories*.    It's usually formulaic repetitiveness galore or a case of straining like mad to come up with a believable story.     "Galactica" in its original state at least had greater potential than that because of its epic storyline that above all was groundbreaking in that it *advanced* its storyline over time.    On "Galactica" important guest stars like Lloyd Bridges' Commander Cain or Jane Seymour's Serina were still referred to in subsequent episodes and not simply discarded to not be heard from again like on all other shows of the past.   



#29 of 30 Ejanss

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Posted October 30 2013 - 10:42 AM

"Project UFO" is another case of a show that was great in its first season but it made changes for its second season that drove away its audience.     William Jordan leaving and being replaced by Edward Winter didn't help (you just couldn't take him seriously as a strait-laced officer after his MASH guest shots as the psycho Colonel Flagg) and changing the theme music also wasn't good.      That's a case where if it had just run the first season only and not had its brief second season, I'd be more inclined to think of the "what if" potential!

 

Haven't gotten to the second season shows, but doesn't really seem like there was any shark to jump--

It's a Jack Webb series, and it's unintentionally hilarious watching Jordan do his EXACT dead-on channeling of Joe Friday, right down to the same dismissive shake of the head right after some insensitive average citizen says "I know it's a conspiracy, you Air Force guys are just hiding the truth!"  ;)

The show was just too stuck in formula, and spent too much time dis-proving UFO's to appeal to the little 70's kid audience, no matter how "cool" the cheap 70's-TV special effects were.



#30 of 30 Jack P

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Posted October 30 2013 - 08:36 PM

But the thing is, in Season 1 they maintained more crediblity by mixing and matching the stories where it was unexplainable with ones that were outright hoaxes.   In Season 2 this changed to a very tiresome repetitive format where at the 40 minute mark, Winter would breathlessly give us his natural explanation that explains everything, and the EVERYTIME the final act would be the emergence of a surprise witness that undermines the "natural" explanation.    End result, Winter looks stupid and the show is cheating more in the direction of deciding it needs to throw a sop to the "they're all real" crowd week after week (I might add that one reason why I got bored with "The Night Stalker" and "X-Files" was because if every week the story ends with it being a monster or an alien, your ability to be scared goes out the window after you can guess what's coming all the time).

 

Jordan I felt had more credibility, but it would have been better if they'd given his character some more humanizing touches of the kind that even "Adam-12" would give to Malloy and Reed.      It was the failure to give his character that edge that prompted Jordan's departure.






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