Friday, May 02, 2014

24: Live Another Day

I used to talk about the television show 24 so much, I gave the show its own tag. That was many years ago; the show basically ran its course, and they picked a good time to end it, if not a season or two later than ideal. But four years after it ended, Jack Bauer is back! For 12 more episodes, anyway.

Ever since 24 and Lost ended within a couple nights of each other, I've been watching for shows to "take their place", if you will. There are have been many television shows since then that I've enjoyed - or, more to the point, been as obsessed with - nearly as much as those two (Breaking Bad being at the top of the list). There are also a few other shows that I don't watch, but other people are obsessed with to similar levels as with 24 and Lost. (The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones fall into that category.) Bascially, these are the types of shows where "everybody is talking about it", and you really can't wait for the next episode.

But here's the thing: today, almost all of these "high buzz" shows are on cable, and not over-the-air network television. What happened to network television? Most of the shows on over-the-air network television these days are boring, run-of-the-mill, non-serialized police procedurals or crime shows that are "safe", and certainly a lot of people watch, but really aren't all that interesting or buzz worthy. ("Hey, did you watch NCIS last night? Wasn't it awesome?!?! I can't wait for next week!" I have NEVER heard that conversation.) I guess that's always been the case, but 24 and Lost stood out to me. A few shows have come out on network television since then that are trying really really hard to be like them, but none have really done it for me.

Now, the types of shows I enjoy the most are now on cable networks like HBO and Showtime, AMC, and more recently FX. These cable channels now have higher budgets than ever before, and are trying to put out the sort of "critically acclaimed" dramas that, in my opinion, are far superior compared to most everything on over-the-air network television. Some of these shows - The Walking Dead in particular - get better ratings than even CBS/ABC/NBC/Fox in the same timeslot. As AMC has proven, all a cable network really needs to be viable is two or three really good shows, as opposed to an over-the-air network which needs lots of different shows to air (including many reality shows), most of which are not all that interesting. These cable networks don't even need full seasons! 13 episodes per season is more than enough, as opposed to the 20 or 22 that is standard on network television.

The main point I'm trying to make here is this. For various reasons, network television ain't as good as it used to be. So, Fox's decision to bring 24 back is likely just an attempt to recapture the glory of years gone by, no?

So, anyway...I have no idea if 24: Live Another Day is going to be any good, but if it isn't, maybe I'll just recapture the glory days myself and re-watch Season 2 on DVD instead.

1 comment:

bubba0077 said...

In addition to the shift to cable, there has also been the emergence of Netflix-originals like "Orange is the New Black" and the fourth season of "Arrested Development", with Amazon Prime soon to follow suit.