Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Time to Light it Up

Television is a fickle business. Every fall, new shows are introduced, they're hyped in commercials, and we're all encouraged to tune in to what is usually advertised as "the next big hit". However, more often than not, the show is cancelled, and for the average viewer, all of a sudden one day their new favourite program just disappears from the TV altogether.

Every so often, there really is a big hit - like Survivor, or CSI, or Lost, or Prison Break, or Grey's Anatomy - but more often than not, the "hot new shows" are flops. It's a business based on how many viewers tune in and how high their ratings are. Sometimes a show is just destined to fail, no matter how wonderful the actors are or how inventive the premise is. If it's put in a timeslot against a guaranteed hit, then the show has basically no chance of survival. People tend to stick with their tried and true favourites. It's disappointing to become attached to a new show, and get involved in the storyline, only to have it ripped away unexpectedly. For that reason, many viewers just don't even bother in the first place anymore.

I've been a victim of this unjust process more than once. A few shows in particular spring to mind: Jack & Jill, American Dreams, Jack & Bobby, and Reunion.

Jack & Jill was a show that I started watching in high school, and I immediately loved the characters. Jack was the girl, Jill was the (hot) guy, and each week I tuned in to see what they and their wacky friends were up to. At the end of season 2, we were left with a cliffhanger - Jack & Jill had a huge fight, and broke up, but the big secret Jack was keeping was that she was pregnant with Jill's baby. However, due to low ratings, the show never returned, and I was left feeling extremely ripped off.

American Dreams was, and still is, one of my favourite shows of all time. Sara got me hooked on it in college. I tuned in initially just to see this guy that she raved about: Will Estes, who played the shy jock, JJ Prior. The show, set in the '60s, revolved around JJ and the rest of his family, including his sister Meg, who was a regular on American Bandstand. By the third season, JJ was off in Vietnam fighting for his country, while Meg was dating a bad boy and highly involved in anti-war protesting. At the end of that season, JJ had been returned safely home to his young girlfriend and the son he had never before met, while Meg was running away with her boyfriend. And there they left us. No more American Dreams.

Just a year or so ago, I happened to catch a few minutes of a new show called Jack & Bobby, and I was instantly hooked. At first, I was confused by the show. It was set in present day and followed the lives of two brothers - Jack, the high school stud athlete, and his younger brother Bobby, a shy and geeky boy who yearned to be cool like his brother. However, at the beginning and end of each episode, there would be a sort of inteview with some American politician, but the year was 2025. I eventually figured out that the show was a sort of "Back to the Future" kind of experience, and at the end of that first season, it was revealed that Jack would one day, many years later, be killed in a car accident, while Bobby would go on to be come President of the United States. And just as I was starting to grasp the show, it just vanished from my TV.

Last but not least is Reunion. I started watching it mainly because the gorgeous Will Estes, who I had last adored as JJ from American Dreams, had turned up again, but this time as a young man named Will caught in a sort of murder mystery. Each episode represented an entire year in the lives of a group of friends torn apart by the mysterious death of one of them. At the end of each episode, a new twist in the case was revealed, and it was to go on for 25 episodes until the murder was finally solved. Sounds interesting, right? It was. Unfortunately, not enough people thought so, and the show was cancelled after about 12 episodes. Talk about leaving a person hanging!

It's a cruel sort of punishment, to become enthralled in a show and its characters, only to have them torn away from you. It's disappointing, after investing so much time and energy into a storyline. That's why I tend to be very careful about the shows I "get into". For instance, I refused to tune into Lost or Prison Break because I was sure they were just going to be flashes in the pan. Now they've gone on to become super-hot shows that everyone watches, but I'm too far behind in the storylines to just jump in and get caught up. Even Grey's Anatomy was a bit of a fluke - I just happened to watch an episode one night last year with my dad - believing it to be just another one of those stupid doctor shows - and lo and behold, I loved it, so I continued watching, then filled myself in on the back-story by purchasing Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD this past summer.

So this all brings me to the point of tonight's blog: Two weeks ago, I watched the debut episode of a new show called "Friday Night Lights". I saw the movie a year or so ago, and loved it, so I took my chances on the show. Sure enough, I was very impressed, both in that first episode, and again last night. It focuses on the trials and tribulations of a small town high school football team that is the town's sole pride and joy. It's a town that literally shuts down on game nights - store owners put signs in their windows that say "Gone to Game", while teenage boys are in the spotlight much like pro athletes and movie stars would be. The show centers on these boys and their coach, and the pressures they are put under to succeed. The oppressive need to win and the expectations of everyone from the mayor, to their parents, to their girlfriends, and to the children looking up to them - it all weighs heavily on these boys, and how they handle it is indeed fascinating to watch.

I should have been more prepared today when I read on the Jam! Showbiz website that the show is pulling in low audiences and poor ratings. I should have known. But instead, I felt my heart sink. Once again, I'm destined to lose a show with a great storyline and intriguing characters. That's why I'm making this plea to you, my friends and fellow bloggers: Watch Friday Night Lights next Tuesday.

Give it a chance.

And if you like it, spread the word to others. I just think this show needs - no, deserves - a fair shot. Maybe, just maybe, if I can get word out that there's a hot new show on TV that everyone should be tuning in to, then maybe, just maybe, I won't have to get cut off in the middle of yet another story that I've already immersed myself in.

If it doesn't work...well, I'll always have the movie to watch over and over again. And perhaps this time, I might learn my lesson and not bother with that "hot new show" next year. It's just not worth it.

But I'm gonna give it one last shot. Check out Friday Night Lights. I promise, you won't regret it.

PS - There likely will be no blog Thursday night, as I'm heading out to Scotiabank Place to watch the Sens take on the Calgary Flames. However, I'll write on Friday about the game and I'll try to get in a re-cap of Survivor and Grey's at some point this weekend. It's going to be a busy one, with Car Rally on Saturday (yay!) and Caden's 1st birthday party on Sunday (holy crap, how fast can a year go?!), but I'll try to fit it all in. Until then...Have a great weekend, all!


Anonymous said...

solid. Huet for Redden.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jill,

Unfortunately I never got into American Dreams or Jack and Jill or Jack and Bobby. I was however heart broken when they said that last season was the last season of 7th Heaven, but then it came back because the viewers wanted it back. So I was happy. I am waiting for a posting from Josie and the City apparently there was a fist fight between two of the main male characters of Grey's Anatomy... I will post when I find out.


Jill said...

To my "anonymous" poster - No thanks ;o)
Sharon: I actually read about the fight on Jam! Showbiz yesterday. It was Isaih Washington, who plays Dr. Burke, and Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. McDreamy. They've downplayed it, saying that they had a small argument, which is bound to happen in tightly knit families like their cast. However, apparently people who were on-set said that Washington said something rude to TR Knight, who plays George, and when Dempsey jumped in to defend him, Washington snapped and grabbed Dempsey by the throat, shoving him away. Rumours are that Washington is jealous of McDreamy's coverboy image. Let me know what you hear on Josie and the City though...I'm very intrigued by this story! I hope all my doctors play nice and get along! ;o)

Stacy said...

Good Morning
who is that anonymous person?? LOL
I never tuned into any of those shows you mentioned either but I'm with Sharon on the 7th Heaven and I didn't realize that the new ones playing are actually new...i hadnt heard they were back - I was left with Lucy finding out she and Kevin were having twins and so was Mary and maybe Sarah and Matt too?? So this is still the plot? I'm excited now.
Anyways, sounds like you are going to have a busy weekend Jill - we have Car Rally, that's all for me really - Friday
Tonight is Survivor - last night on America's Next Top Model, Rocker Megg was sent home - I didnt really like her anyways, but hholy cow apparently she had some friends (unlike Monique) because everyone was bawling. Melrose I think is the "bitchy" one - I know Monique was a bitch but lastnight with her going on and on with Anshol or whatever her name is, I think that was just mean. She thinks shes better than everybody else. Now, after lastnight, I may like Caridee - I really like her picture lastnight with the elephant trunk - hard to say whos going to make it to the end though. I think AJ has some cool spunk too. Anyways take care on this cold, blustery day again.

Stacy said...

OH - have fun at the game tonight Jill - see if the good ole Emery will do better in nets!!

Priscilla said...

For you anonymous ppl, just in case you don't know, if you click on other instead of anonymous when leaving your comment it lets you enter your name, then you don't come up as anonymous and have to sign your name at the end of your comment. Unless you want to stay anonymous like the first guy. So have fun at the hockey game tonight Jill. I hope the Sens win. Maybe I just jinxed them. Who are you going with?

Anonymous said...

Stacey: It is the same plot line and has been playing for a couple of weeks now. Lucy lost her twins and that's why she's a little crazy. Ruthy still isn't back from Europe but I am sure when she comes back more chaos will stir up. They didn't air an episode this week because of the holiday but it should be back next week at 8:00 on monday nights.

Jill: Here is what Josie said "On Monday Isaiah Washington, the actor who play’s Burke on Grey’s Anatomy, and Patrick Dempsey who plays Dr. McDreamy, were on the set waiting for T.R. Knight (who plays Dr. George O’Malley) so they could start filming a scene. When T.R. showed up, Isaiah who is a trained theatre actor was angry that he was late. He ended up insulting T.R. which Patrick didn’t appreciate so he told Isaiah to pick on someone his own size. That’s when Isaiah lost it; he grabbed Patrick and shoved him back several feet. T.R. jumped in to break up the pair, Isaiah looked at him, called him a bitch, and then Isaiah stormed off the set. After a bit of a cool down period everyone returned to film the scene, but you could cut the tension with a scalpel. I guess the violent outburst was inevitable, Isaiah is jealous of Patrick and all the attention he gets because he believes he is a better actor. ABC hasn't commented on the incident but producers, directors, and network execs met to discuss it. Patrick’s publicist confirmed that an exchange happened on set, but said in a statement that it was resolved. "There was an argument on set. In any close-knit family, sometimes people argue. But everybody made up and went back to work.""
Also I am glad that they are finally putting Emery back in nets. When we were watching the last game, I was getting so mad and I was yelling at the TV for the to pull whatshisface and put in Emery, he kept the SENS alive while Old Man Fancy Pants Hasik had a "lower body" injury. I hated Hasik... now that I am thinking aout it I don't even know if that was his name, but I am sure I will be corrected... you know that dumb ass who used to flop around the ice like fish out of water with his fancy helmet. He was old enough to be my grandpa, he had no place on the ice.

I am going to be joining Aquafitness at the Nepean Sportsplex as of soon. I am quite excited about that so I will be Aquaing it up 4 nights a week!


Sara said...

That sounds really cool'll be a fish in no time!
Thanks for the info PK- I won't have to sign my name anymore!

Sharon said...

Yeah that's a great find Priscilla... and hopefully I will be a fish. I used to swim like a fish back in the olden days... when we lived at the peir eh Sara... I think it will be pretty tough at first... but I will get the hang and in shape.

Anonymous said...

oh come on some of us are allowed to dream. I was never that crazy about Jill's man Wade but I do admit he'd look great in red. A world class defenseman...I can dream can't I?

Jill said...

OOOOoooo...the anonymous poster, trying to stir the pot! Don't worry, guys, I know who it is - and after last night's game, there's no WAY I'm giving up my Wade to you, "Bridget"! ;o) You can have Spezza in Montreal, though - Seriously thinking he'd be great trade bait, and he's far too fancy for my liking.
Sharon: I had to laugh at your description of Hasek as a fish out of water! (Actually, I got off early yesterday and didn't read it, but when I met up with Luke last night, he said, "Did you read Sharon's last comment? It's hilarious!" He thought it was funny that you said Hasek flopped around like a fish...and so did I!)
Anyways, I hope to getting around to posting a re-cap of the evening at some point today! Wish it had been a win, but at least they looked more like a cohesive team last night! *sigh* I'm tired, I stayed up when I got home to watch Grey's, and I missed Survivor, so if anyone can tell me what happened there, it'd be muchly appreciated!

Stacy said...

Good Morning All!

Who did you go to the game with lastnight Jill? Anyways tomorrow is the big car rally and I really really wish that it wasn't calling for rain, but not much we can do. I did a cool thing lastnight for the rally - have to show ya's - if you dont like it, we'll just do it over - it's not that GREAT so dont seem anxious. Are we getting together tonight still? i guess it depends on Sara and Graham - Graham can always come over to our place and play playstation with Ricky and the girls can go to Jill's - doesnt matter!
Survivor - it was Stephanie who got the boot - she kept talking about how she wanted to go home and eat mashed potatoes or something. The challenge was won by one team (i dont even know whos on whos team etc...) and they won, wine, and spices and maybe some steaks?? The other team, with Cao Boi - took an expedition to another island to get some coconuts and stuff cuz they're running out and the island was the other tribe - so they stayed for a bit while Cao Boi bored them all with chinese stories - then has the nerve to ask them if they could have some of their spices...anyways nothing exciting really happened. Christina (the cop) has taken over JP.s role at camp by being boss - so the team says and the votes were originally going for her but then some turned around and voted Stephanie with the other alliance. Christina was really mad that her team felt like she was trying to be boss and stuff - i dont know why they just didn't tell her - anyways gotta get back to work - only half day today and i have a doctors appointment today. Talk to ya's later - have a great day!

Sharon said...

Well Jill, that is what I have always thought of Hasek. Gardell (Waynes dad) always said that he was a really good goal tender and would role his eyes every time I would bitch about him. Same with Don Cherry, I HATE him! SO BAD! He bugs me right under my skin. And again Gardell likes him so we get in min scraps with me stating that he's an ASS HOLE and Gardell saying that I shouldn't call people that when they are not ASS HOLE's for real... but I still DISLIKE ROYALLY Don Cherry AND I think that Hasek was not really a goalie, he just pretended... because he sure didn't have nice form.
I watched snippets of the game and was glad to see that Emery was holding them. Unfortunately someone had to give. But they are playing MTL tomorrow and perhaps they will pull through. I will be watching. I love HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA... EXCEPT for Don Cherry...
I saw you Jill, yesterday on your way to the game. I waved and you waved back but just in case you didn't know who it was... it was me!!! I saw the White Rav and then the SENS plate. But then I was unsure because a man was driving... but then I saw you in the passenger seat.
Survivor was okay last night. It really doesn't float my boat this season but Wayne enjoys it so I watch along with him.

Anonymous said...

You should only be flattered about Wade. Ohhh I'd definitely take Spezza cause a big forward would be nice for once.