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Rex Sorgatz

I'm not passive aggressive. I'm aggressively passive.

nov 3
2008

The Future Of TV

Buried in an otherwise skippable story about primetime television is some bad news about serialized shows. ("Serialized" shows are the ones with the long story arcs that we like -- Mad Men, Sopranos, Gossip Girl, Lost, 24. "Procedurals" are shows where most of the logic is contained within a single episode -- Bones, Fringe, Law & Order. With some small comedy exceptions -- The Office, 30 Rock -- the rise of serials is the main reason the quality of television has improved over the past decade years.) The story speculates that a combination of DVR culture and re-runs make procedurals more desirable for networks "both because viewers may increasingly store episodes of serialized shows to watch them in 8-to-10 episode bursts, and because the shows have no repeat value at all." (One thing this overlooks is DVD sales, which I presume are much higher for serials. However, I wonder if the studios -- not networks -- might be getting the bulk of that money.) Only modestly related: Slate on The Future of Sports Television, which is about that user-controlled, multi-camera dream we were promised.

4 comments

No repeat value? I plan on rewatching all 5 seasons of "The Wire" many, many times.

posted by growler at 5:20 PM on November 3, 2008

maybe if they actually i dunno, repeated the episodes then maybe people would watch. if i miss an episode of top chef bravo has it on again in 15 minutes, if you miss mad men you have to download it, or wait for a marathon. and don't even get me started on lost, i don't know who's in charge of when those air.

oh, and my dvr is full of csi episodes right now. i've watched all my serialized stuff, even fringe, which isn't stellar.

posted by kittyholmes at 1:06 AM on November 4, 2008

1. I think this is what made House successful--on the surface it's incredibly formulaic, but it's also very subtly serialized. It helps that the ongoing aspects deal with personality issues that lend themselves to lots of repetition. I'm not saying it's as good as Mad Men, but I haven't seen a lot of discussion of it.

2. The network vs. studio question for DVD money is interesting, but isn't that just a matter of designing contracts better? Is HBO more profitable than NBC? Is there an opening for a new business model here?

posted by Jared at 10:47 AM on November 5, 2008

The studios get 100 percent of DVD sales. The networks get nothing unless they own the show.

posted by Uh at 9:17 PM on November 6, 2008




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