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10 February 2012

This occured to me only the other day, and I’m now wondering just how much damage our ability in this area can do. What am I talking about? Well, it was like this. I’ve been watching a continuing series I like that’s on late one weeknight and I’ve also been watching the repeat series that follows. The latest Listener arrived, and I saw that the repeat series is ending and a new one beginning, one I’d never heard of. I was on-line next morning checking short story markets, and out of interest I googled the series title.
I found that it had only ever had one season, and that was only 13 episodes – black mark. I don’t like getting hooked on a series and the characters and then finding that I don’t get a decent amount to watch. I also found that – another black mark – the series is the same type as Fringe, Lost, Haven, and has a continuing strange thread running through it that a watcher is going to want resolved with almost all loose ends tied up by the end of the season or series. It was clear that this one didn’t do that (despite the producer apparently promising that it would) and other overseas watchers had been annoyed.
So I marked it as a series not to bother watching – and I won’t. Now if there wasn’t an internet, if that didn’t tell you all about a series before you watch it, I might have watched the 13 episodes and liked them – to be disappointed when I found out it was one season only and didn’t fulfill its promises. And if I was one of those people listing what I watched for the NZBC, this series would have rated lower because I’d never bothered to watch.
So now I wonder if this may not be occurring more than I’d realized. If a new series appears, is googled and checked out by a lot of would-be watchers, who then decide against it, and the series ratings never get off the ground. Will this lead to producers having a write-up of a possible series done, posting it on line, and only making the series if they get sufficient numbers saying they’d watch it, that they like the plot, characters, and actors? The future of TV series if this is so could become interesting in a whole new and different way…


  1. This is of course an artifact of shows playing here many months after they’ve aired elsewhere, usually in the US.

    The sad thing is that it becomes a self-fulfilling deadlock: non-US viewers stay away until season 2 is made, while producers hold off making season 2 until season 1 has enough viewers.

    Now if season 1 doesn’t get enough viewers _immediately_, it never will.

    Comment by Martin — 16 February 2012 @ 13:32

  2. Yes, that’s what I thought might be, or is, happening. The end result may be as I suggested, but it may also make producers realize that disappointing viewers (by saying that the series will do something and then not living up to that promise) is counterproductive if you want to sell season one in any other country.

    Comment by lyn — 17 February 2012 @ 16:18

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