Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More thoughts on MNTV

I've been thinking a lot about why there is no community forum on their website. I don't think its an oversight. My only assumption at this point is that perhaps they want to wait a little while till more people are "hooked" and the discussions online will be more positive. Is that cynical? Maybe they were afraid that the first week too many people would dis the show. I'm not sure. Then again Fox Community puts a page for a new show as soon as (or actually before) it airs.

But MNTV shows are sort of risky. I think they could have invested a bit more into the first week . . . but then again, there was little buzz or news about the premiere week. I still feel like I'm backing the wrong horse. And yet I still really believe that this network is a brilliant concept. I think in a few months (maybe with the next cycle) when it really catches on people are going to write articles that say "no one saw this coming". Ha! I did. But the thing is, it's never going to have HUGE ratings. It will never be one of the top shares of the night. But, it will eventually do consistently well, far better than UPN ever averaged. Towards the end of the 13 week runs there may even be some peaks.

So now I feel I should weigh in a bit about the content. Well, I've already given up watching Desire. I mean, I'm interested in the commercials a bit, and if I'm around I could watch it -- maybe on Saturdays. But I already feel somewhat committed to Fashion House. By committed I mean if I'm home I'll most likely be watching. But I won't tape it (not yet anyhow). But since my new all-in-one TV/VCR combo won't let me watch one thing and tape another, it's very possible that I will be choosing another show to watch at 9pm. BTW, it's a good thing I like FH better than Desire, because the 9pm slot is better for me all around. I'm often not home till around 9 anyhow. And Survivor will ABSOLUTELY win my eyes or my VCR on Thursdays at 8. So far that's the only given competition. I don't know what's going to happen with the O.C. -- but that's not till November anyhow. There may be one or two of the new crop that sticks. I'm interested in 30 Rock/ Studio 60 and maybe the one with Ally McBeal (Sisters?) . . .
Oh, so getting back to the content: Not great, but not bad. Cheesy as to be expected. I think what annoys me the most is the extensive use of flashbacks to make sure the audience "gets it" in case they missed an episode or two. It's sort of insulting. I've followed daytime on and off for years now and it's just a given that sometimes you'll miss episodes but eventually you can catch up. You don't need extended flashback scenes next to every other line of dialogue to get what's going on. I'm hoping this is a temporary style since they're so new, etc. It's annoying (especially if you did watch the episode they're flashing back to). It seems like the plot is moving faster on Desire. But the problem with that show is there are not enough characters and differing storylines (and the main underlying storylines are way cheesy -- first of all, I don't buy that the mob dude is that obsessed with revenge because his daughter had sex. Yes, she lied and called it rape, but he was ready to kill the kid before he knew that. Like she hasn't had sex before. Weak. Further, the whole both brothers in love with the same girl thing is lame. who cares. but then again, that's why I stopped watching). So on FH the plot feels dragged out a bit. And I'm sick of the shots with just Morgan Fairchild's lips. Fine once, but I think they've done it at least 3, maybe 4 times. We know who she is, just show her already. Annoying.

Well, that's about all I feel like babbling about the content right now. Like I said, it's okay, but it's not great. But I'm still watching and I guess that's all that matters.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is Rupert a Genius?

I thought so, but now I'm not quite sure . . .

I have been anticipating this My Network TV thing (or MyTV as I first came to know of it) for a while now. For those of you that are out of the loop (and shockingly I'm beginning to realize that that is almost everyone -- I cannot believe how many conversations I've had with people over the last couple of days, many of whom are media/communication academics, who didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned MNTV), here's the basics:
Back in January the big announcement was that the WB and the UPN would merge and become one network, the CW. Neither network ever really took off but each had a few solid shows, and for the most part they had similar demographics (young) -- so it makes sense. Put the 2 networks together and you have a fairly decent line-up of shows. But, that means that in every market there will be two stations and only one will be "lucky" enough to continue as the CW. (For those that don't know this, there is a difference between the local affiliate, i.e. the channel with the call letters starting with W or K and the parent network). So these stations all over the country start freaking out -- what's going to happen with them??? Will they go completely independent, shut down, or what? Right away certain markets know which station, the UPN or the WB one is going to "win" the CW (mostly it's the WB one). Then, about a week or two later comes the new announcement: Rupert Murdoch is going to start a new network, called MyTV, later to be referred to with the name Network inserted. (At first I thought it was an odd name for a network, but you'll note he bought MySpace about 6 or so months before). The kooky thing was that his idea for this network is that it would show English language telenovelas. Well, they quickly tried to spin the language differently--but the word telenovela stuck. The idea: 2 dramas during prime time, each 5 days a week with a recap show on Saturdays with 13 week runs for a story. In all, 52 weeks a year of new programming, but with bits of closure along the way. Sort of a cross between daytime soaps and constant mini-series . . .

Yesterday was the day it finally all began.

Why do I think he's a genius? This is a long complicated answer. I feel like I'm betting on the underdog here (and BTW, in case it's not obvious, I'm deeply disturbed by the fact that I am backing his horse so to speak when I am completely not kosher with his politics. but that's another entry; one I'm sure I'll never bother to write). For one thing, I'm obsessed with all of the changes that are happening with the ways that people consume media. I think it's hysterical following the business model free for all in B&C (Broadcasting and Cable) because nobody is quite sure how they are going to make money in the future, what with TiVo, Netflix, iPods, YouTube and content on demand. I'm equally fascinated by the blurring of the lines between media and consumer culture (the original point of this blog). But I also know that the spectrum is far too valuable for those that have licenses to it to give it up. So with the future heading towards all entertainment programming being essentially on-demand in one form or another, it leaves the question, what will happen with terrestrial broadcasting. Radio is sort of leading the way here and providing examples. With digital music and satellite and internet radio, old-fashioned spectrum based radio playing music is naturally dying. But talk radio is a different beast. I could babble on here for pages (maybe even a dissertation one day), but the point is, television that is linear, i.e. broadcast, is going to continue to move towards news, sports, reality and other content that needs to be watched live. My point? Soaps can be taped or TiVoed for a day or maybe even a week, but not much more than that. We've all heard the rumor about the Mexican (or was it some other Latin American country) politician who wouldn't schedule meetings on certain evenings because he had to get home to watch his show.

So I babble. I've always had more than a soft spot for soaps. I know what an addiction feels like. And lately I've come to understand, at least a little bit, the importance of feeling connected to a community via a share interest, i.e. a show, especially via Forums. I'm not quite of the generation to partake in MySpace, etc., etc. . . . but I'm interested . . .

I could go on and on. I think I've clearly hinted at why I think Rupert might be a genius with starting MNTV. But now I want to get to the real reason why I am starting to have my doubts. It's not about the quality of the shows. Yes, now that I've seen two nights of shows I can admit that I have my concerns . . . But I'm not going to discuss content here. After all, it's only been 2 nights. I think I'll have to wait a week . . . My real issue? THE MY NETWORK TV WEBSITE DOES NOT HAVE A FORUM/COMMUNITY SECTION! What's up with that????? That is the KEY to making My Network TV a Brilliant venture (or at least I think). But who am I to say. I can only assume that this wasn't an oversight but a conscientious decision. They had months to think about it.

So I post here. Because I really wanted to check out the MNTV forum, but I couldn't. BECUASE IT DOESN'T EXIST.

And BTW, I know Katie debuted this week (and I do think that's cool. I've actually been watching her). But still, there's been essentially NO news coverage of the start up of MNTV. Again, I feel I'm "backing" the underdog here. Am I the only one out there who thinks this is big?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

sons and daughters

now that it really is gone, i'm a little sad, but I can't help thinking, what idiots at abc . . .

Sons & Daughters had the same potential as AD & Scrubs -- half hour comedy worth paying for/ selecting content (like the office & even a little bit my name is earl).

So why did the idiots at abc schedule it only up against scrubs???? Plus, i always thought the "disclaimer" about it being part improvised was WAY lame (and yet, it might have worked better as a 'gimmick' if more unsaid)

I didn't want to like it . . . but it was definitely growing on me. (Again, fools!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

subway ride

I was reading an essay about the work of Neil Postman(1)

basically there is a lot about the fact that as a culture the written word is not as valued or necessary in a culture with television/media . . . He essentially defines media ecology . . . but that's another point. Anyhow, then later I was reading Broadcasting & Cable (2) and of course I'm reading about the buzz word multiplatform, etc. One article even mentions the ability to buy a show (like The Daily Show) and I think about in my research paper how I need to mention why I did not pay the $9.99 which I had hoped to include in my budget . . .

Then I look up, and honestly for the first time ever I think, I saw a woman on the subway watching a television show on her iPod. Then I look across the aisle and there's another man who too appears to be watching an iPod. And my first thought is, "Wow, I could see myself doing that." And then I think how funny that is because practically the only time I read anymore is on the train. And that's the one good thing about my commute . . . So I think that's interesting. And when I think about Tablet PCs (which, btw I think I should buy soon) and how they have pretty good voice to text capability (and think about the very cool Dr. Who (3) voice/text mail in England). Not to mention the fact that now on YouTube you can "reply" to other video messages -- i.e. chatting without the need for text. What Postman is saying is interesting to think about.