8 TV gripes you should quit complaining about
The world is imperfect. Especially Hollywood. But there are eight online gripes about the television landscape that have worn out their welcome. These all-too-common complaints have peppered EW comment boards for years and must be put to rest. Feel free to disagree, or add your own, but we say it’s time to stop complaining about online spoilers, Firefly’s cancellation, the Lost finale and these five other outdated grievances.
They’re not hugging. Spoiler alert.[/caption]
“There are TV spoilers online after a show airs!”
How many NFL fans watch a game the week after it airs? Uh, none. Because they know they cannot avoid hearing who won. Thanks to the growing pervasiveness of social media, it’s now the same for must-watch TV shows whether we like it or not. So if you’re really into programs like The Walking Dead, Survivor and Breaking Bad, and a spoiler would devastate your life, watch that season finale the night it airs, just like sports fans who make time for the big game. Don’t expect the rest of the Internet to wait for you to catch up (people in uniquely challenged situations — like viewers in Kyrgyzstan who must wait for U.S. shows — are exempt). Now as for those who post TV spoilers online before an episode airs, especially in headlines (like Salon did with last season’s Dexter finale) … yes, I agree, those people should be killed.
Arguably educational in a cautionary tale kind of way.[/caption]
“TLC is supposed to be The Learning Channel!”
Whenever TLC presents a new trash-tastic reality offering to its dark, hungry underworld gods, some will complain how low “The Learning Channel” has sunk. Except the network hasn’t been branded The Learning Channel in about 10 years (the network began phasing out the name in 1998). Here’s the misunderstanding: The channel name wasn’t merely shortened, it was changed. It’s not like how NBC is still the National Broadcasting Company. Ask TLC and they’ll tell you the letters don’t stand for anything. The only exception is when the old name gets grandfathered into renewal contracts with affiliates, which sometimes results in The Learning Channel name popping up out there, adding to the confusion. Simply put: TLC officially stands as much for The Learning Channel today as it does for Toddlers Love Cash.
Fox is not impressed by your memes.[/caption]
“Firefly was awesome and Fox cancelled it!”
Of all the axed shows in the history of TV, this decade-old title provokes the most outrage. Firefly was wonderful. And its cancellation was tragic because creatively it felt like the show was just getting started. But its ratings really were terrible, particularly for 2002. I did some digging and get this: During Firefly‘s season, The WB’s long-forgotten super-hero show Birds of Prey likewise only survived a few months before getting axed and its adult demo average was actually higher than Firefly’s (which averaged 4.4 million viewers and a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating). That would be like Fox launching a splashy new sci-fi show today that performs worse than The CW’s Ringer. I know, Fox should not have aired Firefly‘s second episode first, but it was hardly a killing move — you probably didn’t see the pilot first, either. As a pricy drama, Firefly would have a tough time surviving with these numbers even with today’s lower standards (which is really saying something in a year where Ben & Kate got a full season). If you still really want Firefly back, I’ll give you a first step toward making it happen: Convince everybody to stop watching Castle.
“I won’t pay HBO to watch Game of Thrones!”
Game of Thrones costs about $6 million per episode and HBO wants you to subscribe to their service to see it. What greed! What arrogance! Don’t they know that all content should be free in our 21st century utopia? … Okay, gripers have a point. Premium services like HBO, Showtime and Starz need to evolve their distribution and online access so fans can watch programs via different mediums right after their U.S. premieres. HBO, in particular, is a money truck and not eager to radically shake up their business model to make dragon lovers happy. But I’m referring to fans with attitudes like this: “HBO forces me to steal Game of Thrones via BitTorrent because otherwise I have to pay to watch the whole channel.” Even in this shiny digital age, not all content is a la carte. If you subscribe to Spotify, there’s millions of songs that you’re not listening to. And if you want to watch the upcoming season of Arrested Development, you still have to subscribe to Netflix. So you’re never going to actually watch Couples Retreat; it doesn’t mean HBO is robbing you. By the way, you really should avoid Couples Retreat.
Hey now. Don’t dream. It’s over.[/caption]
“MTV and VH1 don’t play music videos anymore!”
Aww, and Hüsker Dü broke up and your acid jeans no longer fit. Times change. Brands evolve. YouTube happens. Developing original series is where the money is at, and that’s been the main focus of MTV and VH1 for more than a decade. Bonus: This super-common message board gripe isn’t even true. There’s still music video programming every weekday morning on both channels! Bet you didn’t know that. I didn’t either. Because nobody watches music videos on TV anymore. Granted, MTV did keep “Music Television” in its logo way longer than it should have (it was officially dropped only two years ago).
We’ve been replaced by Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen?[/caption]
“Syfy’s name is stupid! (And where are the space shows?)”
Syfy’s name IS stupid. And I want space shows too. But The Sci-Fi Channel becoming Syfy and expanding its brand beyond nerd-friendly space operas didn’t hurt the network. Syfy ratings haven’t much changed since the 2009 switch and, let’s face it, we’ve gotten used to “Syfy” and don’t spend our free time hating it now. Still, we’re not letting a network that went from Battlestar Galactica to Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen off the hook. Syfy zigged (hey guys, let’s “Imagine Greater” with female friendly shows like Haven,Lost Girl and a bunch of reality shows), while rivals zagged right onto their turf by making hard-edged genre dramas like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Falling Skies and Spartacus — all of which set ratings records for their respective networks. Syfy could have grown their ratings by embracing truly gritty sci-fi/fantasy/horror instead of running screaming from its old brand like it was too cool to hang with the Comic-Con geeks. So, yeah, Syfy arguably messed up, but not because of its name switch.
It’s magic. And if you have any other questions … it’s magic.[/caption]
“The Lost finale sucked!”
Wise readers commenting below suggested adding this entry to the list. I probably didn’t think of it before because, frankly, I need to get over this too. Lost fans didn’t need an answer to every question. But many wanted a clearer and more satisfying answer to the show’s central question: What is the island? (Expressed by Charlie at the end of the pilot as, “Guys, where are we?”). We expected a closer that lent more clarity to the whole series — a real headline-worthy ah-ha! revelation beyond solving the final season’s purgatory flashes. Instead we were left with the nagging sense that Lost was just a string of intriguing yet largely unrelated attention-getting hooks. Here’s why we need to get over it: Lost lacked an awesome climax but it was great in the sack for years. The ABC hit redefined serialized dramas, revived sci-fi on TV, and kept us entertained week after week (for free!). Also, at least the Lost team tried mightily to craft a conclusion that pleased fans. The Sopranos’ creative cop-out finale? Still totally worth griping about.
This was actually pretty entertaining.[/caption]
“This reality show means the apocalypse is upon us!”
Hasn’t surviving 2012 taught us anything? All the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boos and prophetic Mayans can’t bring about the end of the world. It’s just going to keep spinning no matter how many MREs and cases of bottled water we stockpile. Yet whenever a low-rent reality show is announced, there’s a round of oh-the-humanity hand-wringing. It’s like wealthy suburbanites in gated communities who diss their tacky new neighbors. Prime time has gone from a carefully manicured white-picket-fence cul-de-sac run by three white guys to a diverse metropolis with streets bursting with a variety of content. Some shows are amazing and plenty are dreadful, but since nobody can watch it all anyway there’s no point in being mad about shows you’ll never see. More than ever, TV reflects us. And looking in the mirror is always a little scary.