Saturday, April 28, 2007

What's so hard about making a good show?

I'm flabbergasted at how quickly shows come and go on TV these days. Smith, which had a ginormous push before it went to air, only lasted something like five episodes. It had Ray Liota in it, and a pretty interesting story line. Its gone. There have been shows that were on and off TV so fast that I never saw them. Its amazing. It probably also explains why there's so much junk on TV. Ya can't spend that much money on a show and not have it hit, which explains the continual march of new reality shows (which are nothing of the sort) that get run out every time its the season for new shows.

I miss some programs that should have lasted and didn't. The problem is, in some cases, that the producers of said shows are too PC to take any criticism, even if the show was a great big fat hit. Case in point: Combat Missions. The only "reality" show I ever watched, and I never missed an episode. I watched the re-runs. If it was on, I was in front of the TV for it. The premise was to get martial professionals from several different jobs and have them compete. There were Special Forces, SeALs, Marine Force Recon, big city SWAT dudes, and even a guy from the CIA's Operations Directorate. They had tactical problems to solve, were given time to formulate a plan, and then the teams would execute the plan. At the time, it was a great big fat hit for USA Networks, and the producer of Slurvivor, Mark What'sisface. However, since 9/11, ol' Mark seems to think that nobody wants to see this kind of stuff. Oh, how wrong you are, Mark. It could be the feel good story hit of the year; hell, the decade. But he's afraid to do it again, and instead we're stuck with Dancing with the Has-Beens, and American Idle, and controversies about Mangina's (or whatever his name is) hair.

I was thinking recently about some of my favorite shows that aren't with us anymore. Sadly, there aren't that many that were just great and didn't catch on. There were a few:
The first season of Soldier of Fortune, Inc. That show was great. Actual weapons handling, actual tactics used, strong characters for the most part, and decent story lines. What it lacked was a sizable enough budget to pull it off as it shoulda been. It couldn't find an audience because of its weird time slots, and they screwed it all up in the second season. The concept was awesome, though. Even in the second season, with Dennis Rodman on the show, I never missed one. Firefly was obviously ahead of its time, and there are still a heck of a lot of viewers out there that want it back. That the movie ever got made speaks volumes regarding its popularity.

There is no new Miami Vice. There is no new Tour of Duty. There is no new SWAT, although they made a mildly entertaining movie loosely based on the characters from the series. I guess the bottom line is that its just to expensive to give the people what they want. By all means, lets run another cheap piece of crap "reality" show out there. Who cares if nobody is watching Big Brother. Its cheap. We'll keep making them.

Is this just a conspiracy to keep action off of TV?

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