What we want from Television in 2012
The Red Room: Scott's Side As we begin a new year, it seemed like the time to make a wish for what we want in 2012 from TV. One could say that the true beginning of a TV year is in the fall when all the networks roll out their "new" programming but also we know by then it's much too late for wishes. By fall, it is a struggle to pick 5 new shows to recommend for a podcast. So, we decided to pretend we could talk to TV itself and tell it what wishes we want from it this year.
1. I want a believable story. I find it hard to believe that something as simple as a story has gotten lost in the world of television. You can do a high concept movie and keep me interested for 2 hours but when TV shows are running for 5-7 years, you better come with a story. I was not interested in the drug lives of Baltimore but The Wire sold me on it. I would not possibly be interested in a bunch of people going to a local small college but Community brings so much story to every episode that I will go where ever they want. Breaking Bad, Lost, Battlestar, The West Wing all came with story, character and something to say. I want to learn about a world that I didn't even know I was interested in.
2. I want old shows to die. Why can't long running programs like 30 Rock go away? I loved that show and I am sure it is still decent. Consider if you had the 100 rule? 100 episodes and the show is off the air. You can spin-off a great show if there truly was story left to tell. But come on. Bones is old. Grey's Anatomy? C.S.I don't care anymore. Even Big Bang. There was a time when I thought Sheldon was really funny but it's the same thing every week. Abed is so much better than Sheldon but I bet Jim Parsons will win Emmy after Emmy and Danny Pudi will never get nominated. 100 episodes and we take you out back and shoot you.
3. I want to see all TV online. This old idea that we are not going to get TV from the internet is crazy. Make me watch an ad, in fact, make it an ad I want to see again. Put side links up that talk about the product or ideas I am watching. If Tom Hanks is on Letterman promoting his new movie, put the show times up alongside the screen to the closest theater to my location. But don't be like Harry's Law and make me download it from some way off the grid site that makes me feel like I am downloading porn. (To be fair a quality show on NBC is probably viewed as porn by that network. Zing!)
4. I want to see a reflection of the financial crisis. There is hardly a day that goes by that I am not affected by the housing bubble, the bank buyout, the change in the value of my home, the price of gas, or the levy at my school. I am not sure I can watch another family go out to eat 3 times a day, walk around with Starbucks coffee at $4.00 a pop and believe any of it. Josh and I have been kicking around an idea for a pilot that shows this very idea. So, if the networks want a treatment of a show we would call Human Resources, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a show about what is going on. It is time to put a well written mirror up to our country and an election year would be just the right time.
5. I want what I don't know to put on this list. Mostly what I really want is something that I don't even know. I don't think any of us saw Sex and the City coming. Who would have thought America would have latched on to Tony Soprano? I want to be blindsided. I want to be moved. I want to be so proud of the work I am seeing that it inspires me to try harder, work harder and be a better person. And I know the skeptics who just turn TV on and stare might laugh at that but that should be what TV should be: Art. TV is art. And maybe its too much to ask to be entertained, educated and moved at the same time, but I am asking because I want it all.
The Red Room: Josh's Side
I have high hopes for the world of television I'm 2012 and here are my top 5 wishes:
1. A Brand New Star Trek Show that carries the series forward past Voyager. The last Trek series to continue the timeline was Voyager and it concluded when Bill Clinton was still President. Star Trek has always given us contemporary morality plays that reinforce the universal values of tolerance and democratic freedom and if ever the world needed to hear those stories, now is the time for a new series to do it.
2. The End of Reality Television Who cares what your talent is. I am so over the scripted kill your neighbor save yourself, watch other people suffer or shine juggernaut that has taken over what was once a medium of creativity and challenge. If your show doesn't feature characters who don't exist in real life, keep it.
3. HBO And Showtime Go Direct To Consumer With Pay Per Month Apps that give access to all of their past shows for $9.95 a month (each). Read Scott's Blog here.
4. The Holy Grail of Television Give me a show with an amazing ensemble cast, a great setting I've never seen before, two main love stories that I root for from the heart, a character I love to hate, serial episodes that are layered and so amazing that I will still be watching it with my great grand children.
5. Earth Shaking Ending to Great Shows Breaking Bad & Mad Men are you listening? The ending is the most important thing about your show because it draws the frame for future reflection. Know when to quit. It's not about milking your show until the creativity is drained and it's a desiccated log. It's called an arc for a reason--because it ends with symmetry.
Listen to this weeks Podcast about a preview of 2012 here
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