Feb 24, 2009

Six For The Swim

I get it now.

Adult Swim is going in a different direction than a lot of fans would want it. Just because they're going into that direction doesn't mean they should be going in the direction headfirst, blindfolded, and falling in the direction of jagged glass shards and rusted nails.

I do wish that Adult Swim wasn't the only avenue for the shows "we" want. Despite all their valiant moves to prove otherwise in recent years, they're still a part of Cartoon Network and are still largely handcuffed by the management of Cartoon Network, Turner, and Time Warner who largely sees Adult Swim as a diversion from their core mission of remaining third in the kid-vid market.

If I was a prospective media company with pocket change to spend like, say, NBC Universal, I'd create a 24-hour Adult Swim-like channel with animation, sitcoms, movies, etc. (reruns of Late Night with Conan O'Brien and SNL would be a killer app for the channel, especially since we'll never see them again otherwise)

But given they're going in a largely different direction in accordance with the largely different direction the mothership is taking, Adult Swim is becoming largely a comedic outlet and recently discovered an Anglophillic vibe about them, especially with recent pickups like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Look Around You, and The Mighty Boosh.

I know, I know some folks would rather see Japanese animated titles populate the block's lineup. I know I would rather see Bleach or Code Geiss than Assy McGee, Xavier: Renegade Angel, or Delocated, but since they want to go comedy/Britannia, then maybe they should consider these pick-ups. And The Simpsons is one of those shows I don't want to see on Adult Swim, but, that's another thread:

Duckman (CBS Paramount Television, 1994-1998, 70 Episodes, Animated):
Everett Peck's private dick/family man was Adult Swim before Adult Swim, and while the series was recently neutered in its most recent broadcast on Comedy Central almost five years ago, its uncut original form pushed the envelope. For those who've never seen it, it's if Quagmire was a detective.

Bromwell High (Hat Trick/Studio B, 2005, 13 Episodes, Animated):
Three troublemaking teenage girls attending a poorly mismanaged high school. Remember when South Park was South Park in that golden age before Trey and Matt became arrogant, smug sons of bastards thinking they're better than everybody? That's Bromwell in a nutshell. Not many people saw its BBC America run, which is a pity.

Sons of Butcher (S&S Productions, 2006-2007, 26 Episodes, Animated Hybrid):
The mothership has embraced Canadian animation, so why can't Adult Swim? This Detour-based series about wanna-be rockers has a huge following in the Great White North. Seriously, when the show was unceremoniously dropped by Teletoon, fans of the show sent meat in protest of the channel's decision. Raw, uncooked meat. Just saw a sampling of the series on You Tube, and the eight-minute piece of a 22-minute series blew away nearly every original production the block premiered in the last two years. Plus, come on . . . I want to see a Dethclock/Butcher band-off marathon one random night.

Sledge Hammer!(Starz Media, 1986-1988, 41 Episodes, Live-Action):
You will believe a man can love a gun. Okay, it's live-action, but it's 41 episodes of GOOD live-action. It's a brilliant satire about a cop who was a cross between Get Smart's Agent 86 and Dirty Harry busting bad guys with explosive results. Why Family Guy hasn't parodied it yet, I'll never know.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (Warner Bros., 1993-1994, 27-28 Episodes, Live-Action):
Like Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop? Action, adventure, all things strange and unusual, and, most importantly, Bruce Campbell in his OTHER iconic role. Yeah, it's an hour-long series, but hey, if Adult Swim wants to air live-action, they have to get this show, especially to ease the geek quota.

The Goodies (BBC, 1970-1980; 67 episodes [one's missing]/ITV,6 episodes, Live-Action):
The group that inspired The Mighty Boosh had their own multi-episode series that is one of the UK's most popular and infamous comedy shows. Seriously, one episode of the series caused a guy to literally die laughing. They're not the Pythons, but they're mighty damned close.

Feb 22, 2009

The Litte Trash-Sifting Robot Won The Oscar

Now that Wall-E won every animated best picture award it was nominated for (save the Annies), for the love of God, can we please, please, PLEASE stop talking about it? I swear, it's bad enough people treat it like it was the only animated movie that came out last year, but I don't think it deserved to win EVERY animated award out there for film.

Still, congratulations Andrew Stanton and PIXAR on making a fine film. Not the greatest film ever made, mind you, but a fine film nonetheless.

By the way, I did write the exact same thing about Ratatouille last year and will probably write the same thing for Up next year.

Feb 15, 2009

Know Where Your Towel Is

In this world, you have to know one thing:

Always know where your towel is.

Why yes, I have become a Douglas Adams fan as of late. Those three and a half months without a real computer helped me catch up on a lot of things offline. Aside from the personal things that still depresses me, I've been reading a lot. The Bible (the KJV and SJV), Crimson, the Hitchhiker Trilogy (which is actually five books, not unlike the Jersey Trilogy of Kevin Smith that began with Clerks and ended with the sixth movie, Clerks 2), and a few others.

That whole conversation between Arthur and Ford before the Earth got destroyed was a strange one, but it resonated with me. A towel is, more or less, everything. It's protection. It's a weapon. It could be used for communication. It keeps you dry. It's everything.

I've figured out that in this life, you've got to know who to trust and who you can't. I know I could trust my family because they're there for me in good times and bad and will never let me go. I know I can trust my friends at Toon Zone. Not the posters, per se, but those that I've gotten to know over the years within the administration and moderation. I also have a small circle of friends outside the Zone that I also trust, mostly bloggers, musicians, and long time friends from the olden days when the internet was young and so were we. It still confounds me that I'm a 13-year veteran of the internet.

I've encountered real players in and around the industry. Some are really good guys. Most, however, are arrogant bastards that just want to pick your brain for ideas because they're unimaginative cretins. Learned that from first-hand experience a couple of years back. I can't trust a network executive or anyone with actual power because, even in casual conversation, they're fishing for ideas. This one exec I knew and thought I could trust pretty much gave me the cold shoulder. He works at some Mickey Mouse organization working on some channel. Any way, that's beyond the point. This guy was like a brother, and I thought he'd have my back, but I've learned that I only have to watch my own back.

Big Media is a dangerous thing. It crushes competition, creates laziness and unoriginality, and celebrates incompetence while discouraging creativity. The reason why the unions within the industry aren't happy is because they want their fair share for the work that they do while those in power that don't do anything at all continue to benefit from the works of the artists, actors, and writers. And yet, they don't want to pay anybody anything for repeated use of their talent in any medium and have manipulated the rest of us into thinking that the talent was in the wrong for "demanding more." That's probably why I embrace the creative side of production rather than the executive side. They actually do things.

This is a pointless post, but in the period between the time I lost my computer and the time my aunt gave me a new one, I realized who I can count on and trust.

I knew where my towel was.

Feb 12, 2009

Does Anybody Read Binary?


September Ninth, Twenty O'Nine. I've been working on it for a while, and the first teaser will be on the main site on a very significant date to long-time readers of The X Bridge. This year, I'll be more creative in that endeavor, and not just complaining.

This project is phase one. Phase two is fun as well.

Question Entertainment CEOs

It's fun to watch banking CEOs squirm in their chairs while being bombarded with questions. I'd love to see what would happen if the Big Media types were in the same situation.

Here's what I'd ask my "friend" Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner:

Where the hell did the $24 billion go in the last quarter? And don't say it all went into a lawsuit, which was largely dismissed and cost $300 million. Where did it go?

What's the point of having an animation studio if they're not producing any series for television and you sit on the library, not even airing them on the TWO animation networks currently owned by the company (and don't get me started by the idiotic decision to drop Kids' WB on-air)? Not counting the Cartoon Network-produced animated productions and the DC Comics adaptations (including Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which is both), there are zero productions coming out of Warner Bros. Animation on television. Are you even aware that the original Looney Tunes shorts aired 13 hours on Cartoon Network in 2009? That's more than 2003-2008 COMBINED, and no, movie compilations don't count.

How is it that you're responsible for many of the ill-fated decisions of the company in the last four years (including the CW merger, the virtual shutdown of New Line and Warner Animation, the actual shutdown of Picturehouse and Warner Independent, and the practice of NOT allowing analogous units to work together), and yet, you still have a job and constantly being promoted?

Now for all of those other entertainment execs:

Why is off-network syndication largely limited to cable television while daily broadcast syndication is a lifeless husk dominated by court shows? Law and Order SVU could have been syndicated daily for years now, and yet, USA had them for half the decade (it's just coming to daily syndication in September).

If there's really no money in broadband distribution, then why are you so hellbent on putting everything online?

Why aren't Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS developing digital subchannels for their affiliates, especially considering all four networks have massive libraries of programming? As I talked about on my other site, the major broadcast networks could create at least a second channel that could showcase their libraries or offer second chances of shows seen on the regular channel. I'd really like to know what NBC will do with their Leno and O'Brien library of repeats, each thousands of episodes strong. Hell, I'd strip SNL nightly on those channels.

Why are niche networks diverting from their original purposes to become "everything for everybody?" There is no reason Extreme Makeover: Home Edition needs to be on TV Land and CMT, What I Like About You needs to be on ABC Family and The N, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air needs to be on ABC Family, The N, Nick At Nite, and BET, Home Improvement on TBS and Nick At Nite, and there's definitely no reason live-action movies and series need to be on Cartoon Network. If every channel airs everything, save one or two originals, then it's nothing more than broadcast television . . . and I could get that for free . . . for now.

Feb 5, 2009

TV Gone Downhill

Television is great. You don't know how great it is. I can see the potential in the industry that a lot of individuals who work in the medium still doesn't see. Money blinds a lot of folks, and at times they need an outsider looking in for them to understand how it can be greater without focusing so much on "what's in it for me and my bosses." They have created great cable channels over the last four decades. Nickelodeon and ESPN, two of the cornerstones of the industry, both celebrate their 30th anniversary of their national launch this year. However, the industry has turned niche-channels into something that has, admittedly, gone downhill.

Here's a sampler of those channels:

Cartoon Network - Although, admittedly, they have gotten better over the last year, but they still have this need to become everything for every kid and still hung up on live-action creation. And canceling original animated shows isn't leaving me with much confidence.

MTV - Is unwatchable. There's nothing up there but "reality" pablum, dating shows, and immature antics. And music is not there. MTV Hits and Jams are the what MTV used to be, and seeing the quagmire that is MTV 2 in the distance, let's hope those channels stay that way.

MTV 2 - What was once promised as the place where the music is, music's rarely there. It's there in pieces, but the two-headed dog is largely a male-oriented channel. Spike with music videos and less syndicated fare.

VH1 - See MTV, but the music's still there in very small amounts.

G4 - The idea of a video game network didn't fill me with much hope when I first heard about it. When that network took over TechTV for channel space and X-Play, the more I realized G4 was a bad element. Once they stripped the only thing that the network was created for, namely game-oriented programming, in favor of the fifth male-oriented channel in the country, then, as is a mantra in their former focus, game over.

A&E and Bravo - I'm putting both disappointments under the same category because they both were once the cultural heart of cable television. A&E stands for Arts and Entertainment, and that channel was dedicated to theater, Britainia, mysteries, and dramas. Bravo was also focused on the creative arts, airing nearly uncut movies, specials, documentaries, and weekly series. Inside the Actor's Studio is the only show currently on Bravo that resembles the fare the network used to air on a daily basis. Nowadays, Bravo is the home of trashy socialite wives, competition programs, off-network smeg, and cut-up movies.

TV Land - When Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, reality shows, weekly movies, and recent programming airs on a network that celebrates the best of classic television, you know there's a problem.

CMT - It's not as bad as its more popular cousin in regards to music, but when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, reality shows, weekly movies, and recent programming airs on a network that celebrates the best of country music, you know there's a problem.

Disney Channel - Take away everything that the Disney name once stood for (FAMILY-oriented programming [there's a difference between family-oriented programming and tween-oriented programming; older folks won't be embarrassed to watch them without their kids], animation, and things overseen by Walt Disney himself), and add more tween-based smeg and way too many breaks between shows (here's what I don't understand; if you have slots for commercial space, shouldn't you air actual commercials instead of just self-promotional hubris?), and you've got today's Disney Channel. Kids love it, and it has become the acme of the kid-vid industry and the reason Cartoon Network has become ratings-obsessed and so willing to do everything that it has done.

And now we're back to the top. But what could those channels do to improve their state of being? To be honest, it's far too late to repair many of them. That's the image they chose to present to the populace, and, for the most part, it works. That's probably why I'm for the potential digital television will present. Unfortunately, Big Media isn't willing to invest in sub-channel development, which is kind of a shame. There is a lot of potential . . . somebody has to tell folks about it.

Feb 4, 2009

Tag - You're It

Saw this over at Mr. Evanier's site, and I couldn't resist trying it myself:

Twenty questions. Start with the same letter as your first name. You're not allowed to repeat an answer and if you're "tagged" by someone whose name starts with the same first letter, you can't repeat any of their answers, either.

Here's what I came up with...

1. What is your name: Jeff
2. A four letter word: Joke
3. A boy's name: John
4. A girl's name: Jane
5. An occupation: Janitor
6. A color: Jade
7. Something you wear: Jeans
8. A food: Jelly Bellys
9. Something found in the bathroom: Jars
10. A place: JANAF Shopping Center (Google it)
11. A reason for being late: Job duties
12. Something you shout: "Jackass!"
13. A movie title: Jarhead
14. Something you drink: Jolt
15. A musical group: Journey
16. An animal: Jackal
17. A street name: Juniper Drive
18. A type of car: Jaguar
19. A song title: "Judy in Disguise"
20. A verb: Jab

Tag. You're it.

Let Them Eat Fancy Buns (The DTV Edition)

Gu'ils mangent de la brioche.
- Marie-Therese 1638-1683. Not Marie Antoinette

I think they're still teaching world history in American schools, so that quote may sound familiar, if not in its French incarnation, then definitely in its English pseudo-translation, "Let them eat cake." Most often, this quote is seen as a sign of ignorance, arrogance, and elitism, a feeling of being above others. I'm assuming you've heard that the digital transition date has been "largely moved" to June 12 (though broadcasters can still turn off their analog signals on February 17, and those reading this in the state of Hawaii and the city of Wilmington, North Carolina are already in the digital age in the US). But I'm shocked and kind of appalled to see a sense of elitism come out in a lot of people in regards to this topic.

I've read a lot of postings on television news sites and quotes from politicians who are convinced that 99% of Americans are already ready when the stats claim otherwise. Yes, a bulk of people do have access to cable, fiber-optic services, and satellite, but a lot more households don't have those and aren't willing to pay for those services. Yes, there are still houses without cable. There's also houses that don't have and can't afford new television sets. If it still works, why pay to get a new one, especially in this economy?

While I'm not fond of delaying the transition date, I do sympathize with those that are worried about the change, especially those households that still haven't gotten the coupons to receive a discount on the digital converter boxes (by the way, here's a quick fix on the need for coupons; perhaps if manufacturers of those boxes and retailers could sell them for a price equivalent to a new television antenna [around $15-$30], perhaps more it could make the shift that much easier). I also feel for those households in rural areas nowhere near the transmission towers that will get a lousy picture after the switch. Last time I checked, there are a LOT of rural areas in the United States.

I don't know. Maybe I'm too old, but I used to think the matters of the less fortunate was supposed to be a top priority. Yes, there are still going to be households without the converter boxes after this transition date, but it won't be so hellacious when it does come months from now rather than weeks. I could be wrong, and in all likelihood, I probably am.

Feb 3, 2009

Why Doesn't Adult Swim Create Original Action Cartoons?

I wrote this back at the Adult Swim forums many moons ago, but it's something that's stuck in my brain. It's pertaining to something I never understood about the whole Time Warner company infrastructure.

Why don't Warner Bros. Animation and Turner Entertainment work TOGETHER on projects more often than they do. No, not just on kid-friendly DC Comic adaptations or spinoffs for Cartoon Network. How about both separate sibling companies working together to co-develop original action animation for the [adult swim] brand? Animation isn't just limited to kid-vid, as [adult swim] as proven for a little over six years now.

It doesn't always have to be the latest and the lamest from Japan ALL the time. Just because it's premade doesn't mean it's always going to be good. If anything, I think the core audience would actually want to see something original on the block from time to time. The anime acquisitions are fine, but in essence, they're reruns. Not reruns to all of us, but something from another country that the most vocal of fans have already seen via *cough* dubious means.

It's not like either Turner or Warner Bros. have properties that couldn't easily translate into animated properties. You could always go the route of adapting comic titles from DC Comics, including darker core DCU properties like Lobo, Dr. Fate, or Swamp Thing, the Vertigo titles (Hellblazer, Sandman, The Invisibles, Y: The Last Man on Earth, 100 Bullets, or Preacher), the Milestone titles (Blood Syndicate and Hardware would be nice), and the Wildstorm titles (including The Authority, Wild C.A.T.S. [darker than the Nelvana series and closer to the comic's origins], and even something like Danger Girl or Crimson [and honestly, who wouldn't kill to see a teenage vampire take on hellborne demons alongside angelic knights and werewolves?]).

[adult swim] could even be bold and create an animated action mini-series. They could redeem themselves in the hearts of the classic Hanna-Barbera by adapting the recent Space Ghost origin comic into animated form restoring the heroic aspect of the classic character. An animated revision of something like Blade Runner would not only shock the [adult swim] viewers but the sci-fi world at large that never saw it coming. And heaven knows Babylon 5 could be revamped via animation.

If push comes to shove, you could even develop brand new action properties. There are many creators out there, but they have the strangest idea that [adult swim] only does comedy.

People like new programs. Will they be successful all the time? No. But you'll never know if you don't even try.

An Offer WBA Can't Refuse (They Could, But Why?)

In the light of a recent deal that Lionsgate recently completed to buy TV Guide for $1, I'd like to present an offer to the shumagorath that is Time Warner.

I want to buy broadcasting and distribution rights to the non-DC Comics/Cartoon Network-owned animated properties from Warner Bros for $100. Yes, this is a small amount on the onset, but hear me out.

I know Time Warner is in dire financial straits because of mismanagement from the top down and are looking to downsize and diverse some properties from their library. Over the past decade, they shed their music, publishing, cable service, and secondary magazine labels as well as collapsed New Line Cinema into Warner Bros. Pictures. I'm not interested in those properties but rather their underutilized unit, Warner Bros. Animation. Let's face it. It doesn't really exist anymore aside from being an outlet producing adaptations of DC Comics titles. I think they're on the fifth or sixth incarnation of Batman now, and I'm not being facetious either (see the DCAU Batman, Batman Beyond, The Batman, the character's appearance in New Frontier, Batman: Gotham Knight, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold franchises). I'm not interested in those titles because, well, Warner Bros. Animation is doing alright with those.

I'm also not interested in the Cartoon Network-owned titles because Time Warner actually has an outlet for most of them. It'd be nice if they could be shown on the networks of Cartoon Network, especially the original Cartoon Cartoon shorts and the animated pilots created but never shown. I'd really like to see Tom Kenny's Plastic Man without him being paired with Batman. That would have been a great series. Too bad we'll never see it.

What I am interested in are the non-DC titles, which includes everything from Looney Tunes to Tom and Jerry Tales, and everything inbetween. Considering the everything includes a bulk of the Fleischer and MGM output, the Hanna-Barbera library, half the Rankin-Bass titles, and titles that haven't been seen in decade, that's a lot of inbetween. I want to buy the broadcasting and distribution rights to that massive library of titles for $100. Now, this has nothing to do with the merchandising and marketing rights to those properties. Some would say that's where the real money is, and that's the area Time Warner seems to want to utilize those properties in the marketplace That's why we see Bugs Bunny hawking vitamins, The Flintstones promoting cereal, The Jetsons advertising dishwasher detergent, Scooby-Doo pitching everything, and Pepe LePew selling cell service. I don't want nothing to do with that aspect of the industry in regards to those characters.

I'm more interested in the core products in which those advertising darlings spawned from, more or less the broadcasting and distribution of those shows and shorts. I understand and appreciate the value of the brands, unlike Time Warner, and I know they must be shown and not kept under lock and vault. Television became the perfect outlet for those titles, and while DVDs are a nice way to collect them, it's not the same as turning on your set and watching them. The syndication market is about to be reborn in part to the upcoming digital transition, and yet, Warner Bros. (and every "traditional" media company under the sun as a matter of fact) is woefully unprepared or willing to utilize it. It's a shame, really. I have a plan ready to repurpose the animated properties for the new medium. I can adapt for the archaic e/i laws as well as provide packages for a myriad of outlets, including so-called competitors, both at home and abroad. I would tell what that plan is, but that's the equivalent of showing a winning hand to everybody at the table, and I'm not a fool.

I'm a believer in creating market awareness by actually showcasing my wares rather than keep them hidden. I'm not interested in the marketing and merchandising rights. I see airing and syndicating those titles as a way that'll increase the need (and want) for those items to get out there in the public. It's win-win. Since Time Warner isn't interested in actually broadcasting and distributing those animated titles in the first place, they might as well sell them to me for a song. I'd gladly take it off their hands. And for an extra $50, they could hand me those Cartoon Network shorts that never made it to series.

Okay, I'm being facetious, but I know I'm not the only guy that actually wants to see the wares of the Warner Bros. Animation library.

Whatever Happened To Theme Songs

I found myself singing the "Charles In Charge" theme song today. Maybe it was because of a recent commercial that had a guy singing part of it in this answer service with a Soviet-sounding name. It just came to me out of the blue, and it kind of scared me. Then, I realized why it scared me.

They don't make theme songs like they used to. Nature of the industry, I guess. Everybody wants to just get to the show, and get it over with so they could promote the next show. Some channels *cough*TBS and TNT*cough* don't even wait for the show to be over to jump to the next show. Credits are already at a point that you need a magnifying glass to find out who does key animation or sound editing on a series.

Theme songs are supposed to be the familiar refrain that serves to invoke a show's memory just by hearing it. Whether it's a story theme (a song that tells you the general plot of a series if you've never seen the series - think "The Brady Bunch," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Gilligan's Island," "The Addams Family," "Green Acres," "Spongebob Squarepants," "Teen Titans," "Secret Agent Man" [yeah, I put them back to back, Google both of those shows and realize why] "The Nanny," "The Fairly Oddparents," and the aforementioned "Charles in Charge"), an instrumental theme (think "The X Files," "Miami Vice," "The Green Hornet," "Dragnet," "X-Men," "Hawaii 5-0," "The Mod Squad," "Futurama," or anything from Mike Post, Danny Elfman, or Shirley Walker [again, Google them if you must]), or just a theme that reflects the mood of the series (lthink "Cheers," "Superjail," "Welcome Back Kotter," "Monk," or the theme songs of shows from Miller/Boyett, MacFarlane and Lear).

Oh, by the way, I'm 31. If you've never heard of most of the shows I listed and you're under the age of 20, it's not your fault. Older shows don't get much play these days. My generation used to have networks dedicated to that, but they too have become homogenized and want to be everything to everybody except the audiences they alienated in the process. Seriously, how many channels does Extreme Makeover Home Edition need to be on? But don't get me started on that.

A lot of shows today have replaced theme songs with something else. Shows have a throwaway pop hit (see the "CSI" franchise), something they want to turn into a pop hit (see the Disney Channel shows), a small melody that just displays the show's name and creators, or some strange ambient sound they're trying to call a theme song. Here's something to try on somebody. Ask them to sing or even hum the theme song to Lost. There used to be an art to creating a theme song, but nowadays, it's not a top priority. Sometimes, shows don't need a theme song to be memorable. But a show with a great theme song will be remembered forever.

Or, at least, the great theme song will be remembered. Not many people remember the series Peter Gunn, but anyone who ever played Spy Hunter certainly knows that series' classy spy theme.

Feb 1, 2009

That Was Some Game

Too bad the No Fun League won't let me tell you about it without their expressed written permission.

First of all, to my remaining readers, thank you for your patience. Ever since early September, I have been without a computer. It's moments like this that you know who your true friends are and aren't. My aunt bought me a brand new machine for Christmas, and I'm truly grateful. I've had one more significant loss during that time (my grandfather passed away in November), but life goes on, as it always does. It's a new year, and hopefully, we can have fun like the old days.

Shame I'm going to have to dedicate my first article of 2009 at Thoughtnami talking smack about television.

Television is not a privilege. It's a right. Every household should have at least one television set, especially if they don't have readily access to broadband internet, which is a vast amount of people despite what cable executives tell you. The rush to digital television next month should be an excuse to make over-the-air better, not worse. But as any reader of Thoughtnami and The X Bridge know, television executives aren't known for intelligence these days.

To paraphrase Bob Kane, or was it really Bill Finger, television execs are a vicious, cowardly lot. They're cowardly because they're afraid to try anything new, different, and original. That's why so many shows are the same. The moment something different comes up, it scares them. The more, um, "out there" and unfamiliar something is, the more likely it scares the average television executive. That's why Dark Angel and Pushing Daisies had two seasons, John Doe, Firefly, and Space: Above and Beyond lasted only one season. Yes, Heroes and Lost are exceptions to the rule, but considering Heroes is like an Americanized version of The Tomorrow People and Lost came to ABC just as that network was having a renaissance season not unlike how The X Files succeeded in its inaugural season on FOX, those shows don't really scare the executives.

There's a reason there are many cop shows, hospital shows, and forensic shows. There's also a reason there are "adult" cartoons with idiotic/arrogant males in the paternal roles and smart-mouthed brats too grown for their own good. There's a reason why there are so many relationship programs, "unscripted" fare featuring vapid, pretentious, rich people that feel they're above the rest of us, and competitive "reality" shows that bring out and celebrate the worst in humanity. There's a reason executives are more apt to copy a popular formula or even remake a show than create something truly original.

They're cowards. There hasn't been a truly original series on broadcast television in a long, long time. Sure, there are a few new titles that are of quality, but they're either spinoffs of other shows, retreads of older shows, or created in the spirit of an older, familiar series with just enough quirks to make it quasi-original. Seriously, why in the blue hell is The CW remaking Melrose Place and ABC remaking V? Also, why is NBC making a second version of Parenthood? The first television version failed, so what makes them think a second one will do better? Hasn't Knight Rider taught them anything?

I could go on, but I'm still sipping on ginger ale. Damn stomach bug. Be back later.