"s&co" - a photo by Flickr user austinevan
Thoughts on media, culture, and the world-at-large bubbling up from the dusty corners of my cluttered mind
May 15, 2011
The Crew

Bridesmaids was marketed like a raunch-com centered on female friendship and the absurdities of weddings, but there's a whole lot more going on. The film's wide-ranging (and, to some, surprisingly cross-gender) appeal appeal is based on something far more universal.

Posted By Saralyn on/at 9/22/2011 01:09:00 PM

Friends, I have a problem. A middle class, first world nerd problem, but a problem nonetheless. This fall, for the first time in who knows how long, there are several science fiction/fantasy offerings on the major broadcast networks. Rejoice, nerd viewers! We've got time travel, fantasy-procedural mash-up, fairy tales In Real Life, alternate universes, demons and angels....and dinosaurs! There are going to be dinosaurs. on my television.

This is Steven Spielberg, directing a dinosaur for Fox's Terra Nova. How am I supposed to resist this?
But, while I find myself totally stoked for the nerdy action bursting out on my television screen this season, I was distraught when I looked at the Friday night schedule. For some reason, Fox, NBC, and CW decided to schedule Grimm, Fringe, and Supernatural against each other on Fridays nights at 9/8c.  Now, instead of pulling in a population that might be less than excited by other network fare (like Fox might do on Mondays by pitting Terra Nova against Dancing with the Stars and The Sing-Off), it splits the demographic. Terra Nova might not be a ratings blockbuster against mainstream competition reality programming, but it has a chance to forge a strong fan following with a different demographic.  Perhaps there just wasn't enough space on the schedules for every network to schedule its science fiction/fantasy programming this way, perhaps the networks don't really care about these programs.  Perhaps the networks think no one but the nerds is home on Fridays to watch television.  Whatever the case, it puts myself and my fellow nerds in a tricky situation: what do you watch live, what do you DVR, and what do you stream later?

Personally, I will almost certainly watch Fringe live (as I encourage you all to do!). It has been increasing in creativity and quality at a steady pace and the cast has been throwing out phenomenal (if sadly under-recognized) performances.  Also, it almost always seems to be in peril come renewal time.
John Noble, how do you still have no awards or nominations for Fringe?! 
I'm a bit behind on Supernatural, so I don't have to wreck my head too much about that.  It has a pretty dedicated & solid fan following, so it's probably not hurting for my viewership anyway. Grimm, however, poses a serious problem.  It's a new program and has an interesting premise, and it filmed in Portland, OR (supporting the local economy where part of my family lives).  If the pilot lives up to the premise and its buzz, I'll probably want it to stick around a while.  But what do I do, then?  For a new show, live viewing figures are extremely important. I don't want to give up Fringe, though!  There was some suggestion that Fringe's DVR figures boosted it to renewal at the end of last season but, even if that's so, there's no guarantee they will do so again.

I realize that everyone has these issues with their tv viewing, but (with the high cost of high-concept/effects-heavy shows) these kinds of scheduling/viewing issues can be a sci-fi/fantasy program's death-knell.  For an expensive program that struggles in viewership early on, networks have two choices: cut their losses (and the program) early on or throw their full weight behind them.  Hopefully, the fact their networks have scheduled Grimm and Fringe on Fridays isn't a hint at which approach they might take.

What do you think? Should you support a promising new show by watching it live and DVRing/streaming returning shows? Does your tactic change if your returning show came through on the skin of its teeth?

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