Geeks Rule TV

Posted Monday, May 18, 2009, 6:31 PM


The general principle you should expect the world of TV to run by is if it's your favourite show of the new season, it will be cancelled after half a season, and never tie up the loose ends.

Mostly because the current crop of TV Execs and Producers are of my generation, the first to have been brought up with Star Wars as a primary influence, and with fond memories of the action and SF shows and movies of the 70s and 80s, there has been a neverending onslaught of geek concept shows.

Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Files found the formula for success in the 90s, and they've been trying to re-create that magic bullet ever since. The first to achieve that for a while was the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, a show nobody expected to work at all, and yet was a runaway hit and a fantastic adventure. It completed its four season run earlier this year, and was quite an influence on many other attempts at re-imagining.

Lost, and Heroes, are SF concept shows with an epic outlook. Lost has managed to secure itself a definite ending, which has increased the pace of the story, and heightened its energy.

Whereas Heroes is floundering. After one of its better writers left the show to create his own, it immediately lost focus, and now he's back it may be too late to find its feet again. They do have at least one more season to come, so if they can figure things out and get back on track, it may be worth continuing to watch, but right now I wouldn't miss it if it ended.

Then there are the myriad of smaller geek shows, like Eureka (a new season is imminent), Reaper, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Life On Mars (all recently cancelled), and the UK shows like Primeval, Ashes To Ashes, and Doctor Who (all are going well, but are lower budget and much shorter than any US show).

And then there's the action shows with no significant SF element: Numb3rs, Castle, NCIS, The Mentalist, Lie To Me, Fringe, Eleventh Hour, which are cop shows but with rather unlikely methodology or technologies, therefore stretching credibility, unless you accept that TV always has a sprinkling of fantasy by definition. They all seem to be healthy, especially The Mentalist which has rapidly become one of the highest rating new shows of the year.

I am not an obsessive fan of any show, and never really have been, but my favourite new show of the last couple of years is Chuck, a great show about a geek who has a supercomputer implanted into his brain, which he uses to help the CIA in their spy missions. The problem is it's really popular amongst the geeks, but not actually getting the ratings. They're downloading it and swapping it, or watching it online or on DVR and Tivo, instead of actually watching it live, so the ratings are being hit.

But I'm lucky, as it's been renewed despite this. The only reason it's been saved each year is because the Execs seem to love it, the same aforementioned Execs who are of my generation and were brought up on shows just like it.

Chuck was renewed today. It will be some time before it returns to our screens, as the cast will be all off doing their own thing for a while (Yvonne Strahovski, for example, is here in Melbourne making a comedy movie), then they have to go back into production sometime in July, ready for the new season debut in September.

I can't wait.

1 Reasoned Responses:

ReaperDMV said...

Yes, help us save Reaper! Reaper Fans! Write your CW affiliate and say there's a fanbase in your area and it would be a ratings boost for them on Sunday nights! Look up your CW affiliate here: http://www.cwtv.com/stations. Also write to ABC Studios -- http://abc.go.com/site/contactus.html?lid=ABCCOMGlobalFooter&lpos=CONTACT -- encouraging them to keep promoting the syndication of Reaper! International viewers, write your affiliates/networks too. Draft emails and other ideas at reaperdmv.com.

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