Streaming Guide September 15 – September 21

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Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place. I’m watching you, Michael.

via What’s New In Streaming For The Next Seven Days — DeciderTV

It’s as if September walked up to me and asked “Would you like to watch a Mike Schur show?” knowing that the answer would be yes. Yesterday brought the gift of Parks and Recreation, and next week we’re getting The Good Place. I’ve seen a few episodes of the first season, and I’m glad it’s becoming accessible. It would have been nice if the first season was available BEFORE the season two premiere, but it’s not really something to complain about.

We’ve also got premieres and finales galore. I’m intrigued by Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and the last of Regular Show drops next week, as well as a preview of the new PowerPuff Girls event about a mysterious fourth PowerPuff Girl. Fall/Spring TV hasn’t even started and I’m already behind on The Deuce and Outlander. I feel like there was more I wanted to mention this week that I wasn’t able to highlight. I haven’t watched any of Bates Motel, but the final season is going up on Netflix, and I also would have liked to highlight either First They Killed My Father or My Transgender Summer Camp. There’s a lot of good content this week, and I’m excited to eventually see it six weeks from now.

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Streaming Guide September 8 – September 14

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The cast of Parks and Recreation. Also a giant teddy bear.

via http://decider.tv/2wLYjy1

Hey, BoJack Horseman is back. I hear people like that show. There’s some great new content this week, mainly Parks and Recreation, one of my favourite shows of all time (and it’s going to be on Stan, my favourite streaming service). But I have to wait until Thursday for that one, so I’m watching Greenhouse Academy. I was hoping it would be some sort of environment show, but the synopsis Netflix sent me said something about challenges, so I went to the media site. It’s a teen show about a ridiculous selective entry private school with riddles. There are elements of camp, but if this show wants to be good it needs to embrace the camp. I’m tweeting about the show, because it doesn’t warrant a full post at this point. If you see me write about it again, it’s because there’s something worth saying. This is what happens when I have to wait for my CW shows to come back.

Writing a synopsis for Parks and Recreation was more difficult than I expected it to be. I love this show, and it’s impossible to fit all of my feelings into some short paragraphs. I got to mention its awards (and lack thereof – Amy Poehler never winning an Emmy for Leslie Knope is the greatest of Emmy Injustices), and that it’s a show about community and positivity that’s just as funny as joke a minute sitcoms. I warned potential new viewers about the rough first season. I would have liked to fit in a sentence or two about “Fancy Party,” but that episode is so perfect that you just need to let people experience it for themselves.

The other big thing is that both The Deuce and season three of Outlander premiere on Monday. Television is coming back, and I’m not remotely ready for it. I haven’t even finished Outlander season two.

 

Ratings aren’t just about the overnight numbers any more: @iZombieObsessed

This morning I read an article on the website iZombie Obsessed about fear that Rob Thomas’ newest show could be cancelled after a second season because ratings are declining, and what fans can do to prevent that. It appears that this information has come from The Cancellation Bear, a character that’s part of the TV by the Numbers website. Yes, ratings are the primary measurement for whether or not a show is renewed or cancelled, but they have to be analysed in context, and the changing way we watch television informs how those decisions are made. I’m not guaranteeing that iZombie won’t be cancelled at the end

Here’s some context in regards to the CW’s schedule: iZombie is paired with The Flash, which is the CW’s highest rated show. Yes, the viewership drops in the second hour, but the fact that the CW is willing to put those shows on the same night is a sign that they think that The Flash‘s audience will also enjoy iZombie. That they ordered five additional scripts for the show before the second season premiere is another sign that the network values the show. Also: just because there’s a decline in audience numbers, it doesn’t mean that those numbers are bad. Despite a fantastic slate of original programming (Mo Ryan’s article about Mark Pedowitz and The CW is a must-read), the CW is still a tiny network, the baby sister of CBS. When people talk about the broadcast networks and where they place, the CW is automatically excluded. None of the shows on the CW are NCIS or Empire, so we shouldn’t be expecting iZombie to be getting those kinds of numbers. Remember NBC’s Thursday Night comedy block? Community and Parks and Recreation never had great ratings, but Community got five seasons at NBC (and one at Yahoo), and Parks and Recreation got six. At their peak both were great shows, but the ratings were so poor that there was always fear of cancellation. However, NBC was performing so poorly at the time that it was a better bet to keep airing comedies with a guaranteed small audience than replace it with an unknown.

I could probably pay more attention to ratings than I do, but as an overseas viewer of American content, there’s not really anything I can do to keep the show on the air. Hannibal lasted for three years because of broadcast licensing outside the US, and given that iZombie is being fast-tracked in Australia on Stan, I’m sure that CBS and Warner Brothers are making money off the show that way as well. DVR numbers also need to be taken into account with Live+7 ratings. Furthermore, as we reach the era of Peak TV, there are more shows and content providers, which means that viewership isn’t going to be as large as it used to be, except in the case of Empire. In his latest ‘Ask Alan‘ video, Alan Sepinwall answered a question about why none of the new fall shows have been cancelled yet. He made the point that if a show performs poorly in a certain timeslot, there’s no guarantee that NCIS reruns are going to perform any better because there are so many other shows on. Some shows, like Fox’s Minority Report, have had their episode orders cut, which is a sign that they won’t be back next season. As I said earlier however, iZombie had its episode order increased from 13 to 18 before the season premiered, which is the opposite of what’s happening to shows that will definitely be cancelled.

Finally, there’s the Cancel Bear himself. As I said earlier, I don’t pay much attention to ratings, and TV by the Numbers is a good guide, but it’s not infallible. Furthermore, Myles McNutt wrote about the Cancel Bear two years ago, and provides the rules within which ‘he’ operates:

The Cancellation Bear is built around a fairly innocuous metaphor and a logical read on how the television industry works. It’s a metaphor that frames series on the same broadcast network against one another, being chased by a bear: in order to survive, a show doesn’t need to outrun the bear, but simply needs to outrun the other shows the bear will stop to devour first. It’s built around the relativity of television ratings, which TV By The Numbers argues is best considered within—rather than between—individual broadcast networks.

Based on this, I can understand why iZombie fans would be worried – The Bear is comparing their favourite show to the CW’s most popular, which is its lead in. Once again, you don’t give your show the best possible lead-in if you think it’s dead in the water, the CW has confidence in this show. What’s more telling is this section of McNutt’s post:

[TV by the Numbers] uses the Cancellation Bear as a front behind which it can insult “desperate fans” who would choose to look on the bright side.

iZombie is a cult show with less than stellar ratings. From Myles’ perspective, getting fans to worry about their favourite show being cancelled is part of The Bear’s appeal. Go and read the whole post, it’s even more true today than it was when it was written. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t love a show because you’ll be devastated when it’s cancelled. I’m still upset about Bunheads. I’m just saying that there are more factors that need to be taken into consideration than there were even five years ago, and combined with what I see as The CW’s confidence in iZombie makes me optimistic we’ll see a third season.

Other thoughts:

  • I love this show, but I’m starting to think that things generally shouldn’t go beyond five or six seasons as a general rule.

Emmy 2015 Reactions: There’s a lot to be happy about.

The huge success story of the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards is HBO, nearly sweeping the drama, comedy and limited series categories, with a few exceptions. Aside from that however, this is the least angry I’ve been watching the Emmys, and that’s because the majority of the awards felt deserved, even when they went to people who had won them previously. I was happy about results and disappointed about others, but this year the majority of the awards felt right, and there weren’t any odd tributes to the year 1963. I’m writing this on the fly, so I’ll see how this goes, I have no idea what happens next. I will put my predictions tallies up at the end of the post though.

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Emmy Predictions 2015: Comedy

In a strange twist of fate, Wednesday to Friday has become the most hectic period of myweek, and between going to the state Wakakirri finals last night and choir practice tonight, I won’t have time to watch Utopia, because I’m fairly sure I’ll fall asleep as soon as I get home from choir. So that means it will be another day of Emmy predictions, this time in the Comedy categories. I’ve seen at least one episode of most of the dramas that have been nominated this year, not so much the comedy side of things. Four years ago I think I watched one drama in a sea of comedies, now it’s the opposite. Half the problem is that the licensing deals for comedies in Australia aren’t as good as those for dramas, so unless it’s on Comedy Central, HBO or by Louis C.K., there’s almost no way to watch them legally. Let’s see how this goes.

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All the TV is back this week! And good news from the TCA

I had a really weird day at work today; I was bitten by jumping jacks and had to get to the doctor, and then it took two hours to get home instead of the usual 45 minutes. Consequently I haven’t had much time to watch or read anything for a review. So I’m going to go through some of the television shows I’m excited to see that have just returned or are returning soon, and I’ll highlight some of my favourite panels that were held at the Television Critics’ Association Press Tour throughout the month.

As I hinted yesterday, there’s a large amount of television shows returning to Australia this week. Justified’s final season begins Wednesday January 21 on FX Australia, and the second season of Broad City is slightly delayed and begins on the same day. In addition, Olive Kitteridge, Girls and Looking all began on showcase. I have no idea how I’m going to watch all of these shows now that Jane the Virgin is also back on, given that they all seem to be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s going to be an interesting time – I have begun to prefer the shorter seasons: Girls, Looking and Broad City are all half-hour shows with ten episodes each, Olive Kitteridge is a four part miniseries, and Justified is an hour long (plus whatever FX gives Graham Yost) thirteen episode season. Jane the Virgin has been given a full 22 episode season and a renewal for a second season, which means there’s slightly more commitment involved, but I’m getting used to it.

In other news, one of my favourite twice-yearly events is the Television Critics Association Press Tour, with one held in January and another held in July. All of the American television networks are invited and hold press conferences about the state of their network as well as panels for individual shows. There are some arguments that this particular form of promotion is outdated, but with the rise of cable television at the end of the 20th and original scripted programming on streaming services since 2013, the press tour has been a useful promotional platform for emerging networks and streaming services. One of the big things that happened during Press Tour is that SO MANY RELEASE DATES were announced. Here’s the schedule for April in the United States (I’ll find Australian release dates where they’re available).

April

  • Saturday 4th: Outlander Season 1 Part 2
  • Sunday 5th: Mad Men Season 7 Part 2 (last 7 episodes ever!); Wolf Hall
  • Friday 10th: Daredevil (Netflix)
  • Sunday 12th: Game of Thrones Season 5, Veep Season 4, Silicon Valley Season 2
  • Saturday 18th: Orphan Black Season 3
  • Sunday 26th: Penny Dreadful Season 2

That’s going to be a busy month, even if I don’t watch Penny Dreadful and I’m not particularly excited for Daredevil (I’m not a big fan of comic book shows).

I’m also quite lazy tonight, so here are some links to some of my favourite panels that were held during the tour (Thanks to Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg over at Hitfix for live-blogging the panels).

Programming Note: I’m trying to figure out how to have a job, write job applications because I’m halfway through a six month contract, and review pop culture at the same time. I have a long weekend coming up, so I hope that I’ll be able to write a few drafts in that time.

Comfort food television, Part 1

I try to watch as many new shows as I possibly can, but when I’m going through something that’s difficult or I’ve had a bad day at work, I just want to watch something that I know I’ll like, aka “comfort food television”. For me, these are shows where the characters like each other most of the time but sometimes they have fights. The shows could be comedies, but they don’t have to be, and they’re usually sweet enough that they’ll make me cry. It’s cathartic. Today (because I’m having one of those days), I’m going to highlight some of my favourite comfort food comedies, and I’ll cover the dramas tomorrow.

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