Feb 23, 2008

Wisdom Questioned #1

I've been reading Sitcoms Online's news blog for a number of years, and I love it. It's probably one of the most comprehensive news outlets for all things situation-comedy. At times, however, I feel it's catered to an older set at times, and nothing illustrates that more than Solomon's Weekly Rants. Some are enjoyable, but most tend to be rantings of an out-of-touch guy that pretty much hates television as it is.

Before you all go "Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black" on me, I do look at things through all perspectives and can be unbiased on occasion. It's just that the negative, opinionated side of me that gets noticed. Some of Solomon's opinions are grating to the point that it illustrates him as the old man on the porch shooing the kids away with a cane. I'm an old man too (well, if you consider 30 old), and I'm questioning some of his wisdom based on everything he wrote that week. I might actually agree with him on a few points.

I think I'm going to do this every weekend, so this is only a test Read this week's Solomon's Weekly Rant first and then read my counterpoint later.

Wisdom Questioned #1: Malcolm's Newer Than Strokes, Countdown to Shutdown, and Defending TV One

In case you haven't heard, BET recently acquired several classic sitcoms, including Malcolm and Eddie, Diff'rent Strokes, and a pair of returning sitcoms Sanford and Thea, to the lineup. Finally, something other than wall-to-wall videos, pointless reality, and tired comedy shows (though, I must admit, I do miss the news programs). And yes, Malcolm and Eddie airs more than Diff'rent Strokes. Some folks have a problem with that, but one should recognize the belly of the beast that is distribution costs that can determine how many times something can air a day. Some shows are more expensive than others to air. Diff'rent Strokes is more expensive than Malcolm and Eddie. It's older, more familiar, and actually not really aimed towards the BET age demographics, the 18-34 crowd. Malcolm and Eddie is cheaper, more recent, less familiar (remember, it WAS on UPN as were Moesha, Girlfriends, and a bulk of what's on TV One [more on that later]), and actually aimed towards the demo.

For the record, I hate the UPN reject label. UPN was a legitimate network and one of the few that actually programmed shows for urban audiences unlike the other broadcast networks. Is it a reject because it aired on UPN or is it a reject because it's an urban comedy? It can't be a reject because it was a short-lived series. I don't recall anyone calling Firefly or Arrested Development FOX rejects.

Still, the notion of favortism for Malcolm and Eddie over Diff'rent Strokes isn't true, at least from my perspective. I think the St. Louis-based sitcom is less expensive than the New York-based one to air.

The countdown towards digital television continues. The general public has been aware of it for about a few months. They've should have been aware of it for about a decade now. I think the government should have been educating the public earlier than they have. Digital television will become the standard in under a year, though the standard was known for about a decade. There's going to be a mad dash to get the converter boxes which comes out in a few months for those without the funds to buy a new television. HDTVs will hopefully be marked down enough so they could be bought by those of modest means as well.

Still, the complaint of the television industry advertising the digital switchover too much is laughable. I don't think they're doing enough. The $40 coupons are a start. I'd like to know more about the station number changes for some networks, exactly WHY we're going digital (yes, digital pictures are pretty, but they haven't explained WHY we're going digital), and exactly how each affiliate will broadcast their newfound channel spaces (the whole subchannel schemes will make new channels that could air anything). The general public is still in the dark about those aspects of digital television. DTV Answers is one place to learn.

TV One is about five years old. They're still a fairly new network, and as such, people want them to "pick up the pace." TV One is still working with a small yearly budget, picking up what they can, and basically make it on their own, and I respect that. While it would be nice of TV One to pick up a high-profile urban sitcom like The Jeffersons or even something the caliber of OZ, Soul Food, or The Wire, but shows like that are fairly expensive to pick up. You work with what you've got to get what you need later on. That's something my grandma used to tell me. I miss her so much. TV One doesn't have access to the resources BET does, but, then again, neither does BET. They do have the financial backbone of Viacom, but Viacom will only give them so much. BET's kind of like Cartoon Network in that aspect. Both are owned by powerful entertainment conglomerates (BET's owned by Viacom while Cartoon Network's owned by Time Warner) and both usually are alone in the world and largely on their own with little to no help from their parents. It's strange, but the more people take a closer look, the more they see the bigger picture. Maybe even on digital television.

If they get it.

1 comment:

VWG said...

Dude, you are still younger than the majority of my siblings. So, repeat after me:


I think another problem with certain channels it their placement. My cable didn't get TV One until just recently. And it's deep in the 100s, back behind a bunch of news and economy channels and right infront of the channels you have to pay extra for. I think people stop surfing when they see five different things on the Dow. Sadly, Boomerange is right up there beside it..

I kinda came to this conclusion after they moved TNT. CN, TBS, and TNT use to be right beside eachother in the 20s. Then they moved TNT to the very last channel we had, between the the style channels and PBS. I'd forget about that channel for weeks. But in our last update (when we got TV One), they moved it back to the 20s and I finally remember to catch Law and Order. There's hardly any reason to go pass it anymore.