Something I’ve been pondering a lot recently in these new and different post-Writers-strike times, is what compels us to stick with a TV series?Why are we Fickle with some shows and Faithful to others? What makes us want to stick with a show that has disappointed us, while we quickly give up on another show for doing the same thing?Is it a personality thing where some people are always Fickle, while others are always Faithful? Or is it more specific to the show?
The fact that I seem to have switched from a Faithful to a Fickle in the past year, combined with disappointment over some of the Brothers & Sisters plotlines this season, is what got me thinking so much about this. But recent comments from others about being less than impressed with the post-strike offerings has kept me wondering… Are TV series loosing ground to the Fickle, or will the Faithful always be able to support them?
A fine example of a show that has been disappointing lately, but I will stick with for the long haul is Heroes. The first season was exceptional and set the bar quite high, but season 2 was widely viewed as a let-down. And for the most part, I agree. But still, I’m anxiously awaiting season 3 with my fingers discreetly crossed in hopes that it will be good again. On the other hand, Samantha Who? which I was quite enjoying before the strike, came back with a couple of less-than-stellar instalments, and I couldn’t even be bothered to finish watching what was on my PVR.Those crazy ladies on Wysteria Lane can’t seem to hold my attention for more than a week or two, yet I’ll never leave the wacky doctors at Seattle Grace. What gives?
I know that part of the reason I’ve become more discerning with my shows is that my living situation has changed, and I now have to share my time – and the TV – with someone else. This forces me to be more selective, or else I’ll be watching TV at 2 am in order to get everything in since I no longer have free reign to monopolize the TV all evening.
I also believe that the WGA strike has had a lot to do with the shift in my TV viewing habits. Partly because I’m annoyed with the networks for letting it go on so long when they should have been supporting their writers, but mostly because I’ve gotten out of the habit of watching TV.When I suddenly didn’t have a minimum of 3 hours of viewing every night, I found other ways to fill my time. And now I find that those things are more important than making sure I catch every show that everyone is talking about.And as they say… out of sight is out of mind.I fear for shows like my beloved Chuck… after being gone for so very long, will the viewers come back? I worry about this because I know that I for one have lost interest in other shows that disappeared with no signs of return until fall.
The final cause of this shift in viewing patterns has a lot to do with how fast the networks swing the cancellation axe. I’m so wary of premature cancellations that if a show even remotely feels like it’s not going to get support from the network, I’m outta there. I just can’t take any more Firefly/Wonderfalls/Love Monkey/Joan of Arcadia/Veronica Mars level of emotional destruction.I get involved in my shows. I fall in love with the characters. And just when I think they’re going to bea part of my life for a long time to come. Wham! Gonzo. So now I try to stay detached for as long as possible… sometimes this saves me from a painful loss, but I’m betting that sometimes it also causes me give up on a show that could be great.
This newly developed TV Fickleness has really been harsh on my weekly schedule. Desperate Housewives, Men in Trees, Samantha Who?, and My Name is Earl have all been victims of the phenomenon. Coming from someone who used to be almost obsessive about not missing a moment of any show that I was watching, and would follow a show that was popular even if I didn’t love it as much as everyone else – this is a surprising turn of events.Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing mind you… everyone in my life who is not a fictional character seems to think this is a really good thing.
My mantra now is “quality over quantity”. Hopefully this will allow me to still have a worthy collection of good shows to love every week, while still having time for the things in my life that take place outside of the small screen.
What about you? Are you a Fickle or a Faithful? Have you always been that way, or have recent factors caused you to change your habits? Is it merely a matter of quality, or have we changed our expectations? And most importantly… What shows are worth sticking with no matter what? Which shows have you given up on recently? And which shows are on your personal bubble and why?