Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Getting it' when others don't (low ratings).

One of the things that puzzles me is when tv viewers rave about a show that is supposedly awesome but in reality usually isn't.

Like, for example, Arrested Development, an ├╝berpromoted series that even managed to win an Emmy but was eventually canceled because nobody ever watched it. A show that had huge amount of hype, but in the end very little substance.

Fans who supposedly 'got it' say that it's the best comedy series of all time. So many references and inside jokes and stuff...

But when it came to the show's ratings nobody watched. And when nobody watched despite the network giving the show a hard push, that was a bad sign. The show must have had some serious problems.

Indeed, Arrested Development had plenty of those. Among those that can be 'objectively' quantified were things like the shoddy camerawork, quick editing and misleading 'in the next episode' "jokes".

Or how about the fact that about half of every episode consisted of Ron Howard's voice-over. I mean, honestly, can you narrate a 21 minute show to death and still expect the general audience, masses, to watch?

That was a terrible, terrible mistake. No wonder people didn't 'get' it. In the end Arrested Development just wasn't that good.

The thing is that when some people say that they 'get' certain shows that aren't watched by many, in reality it likely means that they're simply forgetting and ignoring the (fatal) flaws that keep the general audience from watching.

That's the most likely reason that shows like Firefly and Pushing Daisies got axed early. There were just way too many mistakes. But some people reaaaally 'got' these shows.

Let's face it, when a show is genuinely awesome, like X-Files, there really isn't much to get. It's simple, it works and people will come.

[Of course just because a show is a hit, doesn't mean that it's any good. But low ratings almost always tell the truth about the quality of the show.]


  1. I have not watched Pushing Daisies, but i definitely recall being fond of Firefly.

    So, what kind of flaws did those shows have that made them unbearable to general audiences?

  2. I think one of Firefly's problems was that it had a 'cowboys in space' premise. That didn't really make much sense.. or should I say that it made no sense whatsoever.

    It pretty much boils down to this: Did Firefly have a:

    Simple premise? No.
    Strong main characters? No.
    Compelling storylines? No.

    On the other hand, X-Files: Yes, yes, yes.