Monday, January 23, 2017

Is THAT still on?

There are hit shows on television that I didn’t realize were still on the air.  Someone recently mentioned QUANTICO and I said, “That’s still going?” Apparently it’s doing very well without me thank you.   This kind of goes along with that survey I posted recently that revealed that most Americans don't even know shows that are nominated for awards. 

My normal viewing habit is to sample a show if it seems intriguing for any reason and then either give it a few more tries or never come back. But in the past, I remained aware that those shows I abandoned were still on the schedule. Perhaps it was because I was more in the business and would check the weekly ratings but also because there were far fewer shows, and the way I view television is now radically different. And it’s probably even less radically different from the way YOU watch television.

When watching shows in real time you see promos. So even though I might not be on the QUANTICO train (I watched the pilot, thought it was stupid, bailed), I was still aware of its continued existence. But I never watch shows in real time anymore.  Does anybody?  Now that I record everything, and zap through the endless commercials and promos, these discarded shows get erased from my memory. Also, since I record everything for later playback, I have no idea what the time slots are for these shows I snare. They just appear.

It doesn’t help that series are making fewer episodes so they disappear for long stretches. Is the show on hiatus or gone permanently? Unless you’re a TV critic who’s going to keep track of all of this? And I bet a few of them channel surf and go “QUANTICO’s still on?”

There are so many shows, so much clutter, and new viewing habits like binging. There will come a point where it’s not just the viewer who doesn’t know if a certain show is still on the air – the showrunner will be confused as well. For all I know CBS is trying to reach me to say “When are we going to get the next episode of ALMOST PERFECT? We can’t keep running NCIS in its place forever.”


20 comments :

Mike said...

Do you not buy or view a weekly TV Guide and work through it for the week ahead, marking the programmes you want to see or record? Like the rest of us do.

Roger Owen Green said...

I know people who watch Scandal in real time (I don't watch it at all)
Yesterday, I watched football live, but during the commercial breaks, wart=tch segments of the Sunday news shows. Very efficient.

Chris in Cowtown said...

Friday Question:
I was thinking about the "Mad About You" episode, "The Conversation" where it was done in one shot, as a continuous 20 show without commercial breaks. It this something you ever thought of attempting yourself? Apparently the term for this is a bottle episode, where the show only uses one set/ location (usually to save money).

Irv Goldstein said...

"Rules of Engagement" has to be one of the all-time "is that still on?" shows.

In fact...is it?

Tom said...

"Bones" is still on. Can't be killed.

Jason V said...

It's hard for me to commit to the first season of any show until I know it's going to be around for a second season. So I'll binge the first season right before the second season starts.

Eric J said...

There's a parallel with books. (Those are still made?) There's an enormous number published every year. Nobody has time to find them all let alone read them. We stumble on interviews that mention a book, surf B&N, book review sites, discussions with friends, etc. We make decisions about reading a book from the barest of information and often toss the book aside after the first chapter. When we find something we like, we "binge" read. If it's series and we like one, we buy them all and read them one after another.

Having to read them "live" hasn't been a problem since we lived in caves, and we haven had the problem of very few choices since Gutenberg invented his TIVO thing.

So it isn't a lot different than any other area where we have to sort through a lot of sketchy information to make some sort of decision. The difference is television execs haven't figured this out yet.

Thomas Mossman said...

"Bones" is actually ending this year.

jean satzer said...

What happens more for us is seeing a promo for a "hit" show (aren't they all?) entering its 3rd season....and we've never heard of it. By the way...we don't own a DVR. We watch things in real time. We watch the ads..muted...but we still see ads. To me that's a clear indication of bad advertising. And we watch a number of things, including TNT, A&E, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Disney....and CBS. We scan the digital guide and check out all sorts of things....

Mark P. said...

I recently binge-watched Veronica Mars, and I can't imagine watching such an arc-y mystery show and having to wait a week or two between episodes. I'd forget most of the context after a few days. Maybe that's why Rocky and Bullwinkle spent like one minute of every four-minute show doing a recap.

Ted said...

Shows like "Quantico" are why my DVR is constantly getting full. They seem entertaining enough that I might want to watch them sometime in the future, but never interesting enough to watch now. And because they're serialized, I can't watch the new episodes until I've caught up on the old ones. Eventually I'll just have to delete the whole season and assume it'll eventually turn up on Netflix.

littlejohn said...


A Friday question: What do you think of the shows, which take a long "seasonal" break, especially those with multiple plot lines ? Is this a mistake ? (OK two questions...)

For example, with a show like Designated Survivor taking such a long break, and with so many moving parts, I think people end up dropping shows, because they can't remember who's on first. My wife and I have stopped watching some shows that took extended breaks, because we had lost some of the story lines, & found out we really didn't give a shit. Or at least we didn't care enough to search out answers for who did what to whom, so we could enjoy watching the story unfold.

It's different if you are at the end of a season, even with a cliff hanger for next year, but I would think they run the risk of losing viewers by taking such a long break in the middle of the season.

I'd be interested in your take.

Thanks !

littlejohn

Tracy said...

I was lucky to stumble upon the Cheers pilot when it first aired. I can't imagine that happening now since I'm usually planning which series to watch once I've exhausted whatever I'm currently on. The plans usually come from recommendations by friends. It does feel a bit weird not even knowing what's on or which network is showing what, but there's too much to keep track of. I used to know what was new, getting moved or cancelled on the major networks. Then again, I've watched the compilations of show openings for particular years on YouTube, and I always see ones I don't remember, so I may not have known as much as I think.

Kaleberg said...

I think it started when cable increased the number of channels back in the late 80s. TV guides just started getting impossible to follow, and those cable on-screen guides were even worse. Sure, you could channel surf, but that doesn't work when there are 100 channels. That's also when the old season-season-reruns structure started breaking down, so shows would vanish and reappear without rhyme or reason. I think cable had a pernicious impact, even more than the DVR and streaming.

It's actually easier to watch video these days. As others have noted here, it's like reading books. You hear about a book or a show, you decide to take a look. If it looks intriguing, you read or watch more. Even better, you catch up on author's backlist or watch some older episodes. In some ways, books are now in direct competition with television shows. It's a rare thing to watch a show just because it is being broadcast at one particular moment.

Mike Barer said...

I was shocked a couple years ago to learn that "Grey's Anatomy" had still been on the air. I don't know if it still is.

DwWashburn said...

With me it's not a matter of "Is that still on?" but more a matter of "I didn't even know it was on." I'll see promos for a show I've never heard of advertising the premiere of their sixth season or a promo saying "now in its new time". I've never heard of the show.

Marcel said...

I use an app called "tv show tracker" which keeps track of all the shows I care about. Especially for shows with low episode counts (Sherlock, Red Dwarf for example) it's a god send.

Pat Reeder said...

I'm still waiting for season two of "My World and Welcome to It."

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Yes. It is.

Pamela Jaye said...

Mark P. may never see my comment on Veronica Mars. Turned out it had a winter hiatus it's first season. After such a long break, the Previously On broke my brain. I dredged the web for an ep guide but ep guides could not help me. Thank goodness some fans trying to save the show created a very detailed website called mars investigations dot net. It was the only website I had ever seen like it. No matter which episode you last Saw you could select it from a drop-down list and it would hide all the spoilers in the entire website and only tell you everything you should know up to this point. It was magical. I think it's still out there.