The premieres are scattered; some not even airing in their regular time slots. Or they premiere and are re-run later that same week. Or re-run on a sister cable network.
Some shows premiered in August. Others will debut after the World Series (which is now what, Christmas?).
And many shows now have two premieres. This is primarily a cable convention. A series is on for six weeks in the summer and then returns in January.
A few network series don’t even premiere on television. They get sneak previewed online. I once got a DVD of some new show in my ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.
And the notion of the Fall Season itself is becoming antiquated. Shows are premiering all year long. What’s a TV nerd to do?
This is understandable, of course. With the current dizzying number of channels and series, anything conventional or unconventional a network can do to scare up an audience is good programming.
But what’s lost in all of this is the “event” status that the Fall Season used to have. Back in the Pleistocene Era when there were just three networks (there’s a real good book about life in the ‘60s written by… oh wait – that’s my book). Shows premiered only twice a year – the Fall and Mid-Season (January). New programming in the summer was either “Failure Theater” (airing the pilots they didn’t pick up) and variety shows hosted by guys hoping to snare a regular slot (some like Johnny Cash made it, others like John Gary didn’t).
There was great anticipation for the Fall Season. Promos ran all summer. And by promos I mean fifteen seconds, not the movie trailers we see today.
By September we were whipped into an utter frenzy. Only two weeks left before the world premiere of CAMP RUNAMUCK! How will I last that long? After a summer of interminable reruns, suddenly there was NEW STUFF again! Oh, the joy!
Today I don’t even bother to watch premieres. Most are so dreadful anyway. Jami Gertz moves into a neighborhood of space aliens. No thanks. If a show is good and gets decent buzz I will catch up with ON DEMAND or find it online. But I miss the days when the Fall Season was important to me. On the other hand, spending an afternoon studying a glossy multi-page brochure for NBC WEEK is the true definition of “Get a Life.”