Monday, August 20, 2012

2012 was apparently the year of kick-ass women on TV

Flavorwire just came out with a supercut called "TV's Year of Kick-Ass Women," which celebrates the girls and women who rocked the small screen this year.

While I don't disagree with Flavorwire's Michelle Rafferty when she calls this year's crop of female characters "intelligent, empowered and awesomely flawed," the supercut leaves out a number of TV's best ass-kicking women. It was nice to see 30 Rock's Liz Lemon, Up All Night's Reagan and the women of Community alongside the (more traditionally) badass Nikita and Olivia Dunham, but where were The Vampire Diaries' Caroline and Rebekah? Why not include Archer's Lana Kane next to Selina Meyer of Veep? Why is Lady Sybil the only Crawley who gets a place on the list, rather than Lady Mary or the Dowager Countess? And while I wholeheartedly support the presence of Daenerys Targaryen and Brienne of Tarth, where exactly were Arya Stark and Cersei Lannister?

Friday, August 3, 2012

The CW is the future of television. It's also failing.

Why a network that's doing everything right can't attract viewers.

Clockwise from top left: The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Supernatural and Nikita.

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club recently wrote a pretty fascinating think piece (disguised as a news report about the TCA press tour) that detailed the many ways in which The CW has become a ratings pit of which NBC would be ashamed, despite being the single most forward-thinking of the major networks:
If you were going to create a TV network that catered to the modern TV fan, it would be a network that aired lots of heavily serialized shows that were addictive and engrossing once you got into them. It would be a network that cared less about immediate Nielsen ratings and more about DVR plays and (even better) digital streaming. It would be a network that wouldn’t cancel long-running shows out of nowhere and would, instead, announce that a show was ending, but only after a shortened final season designed to wrap up its plotlines. Such a network would also feature a frequent focus on genre fare, because the modern TV fan likes that sort of thing. Maybe it would air longtime Internet favorite Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog in its television debut, coming up on October 9th. 
Here’s the thing: That network exists. It’s called The CW. It does all of the things above, right down to Dr. Horrible (coming on October 9th). And nobody watches it
If you were to make an argument that the network will almost certainly be the first of the “big five” to die—and sooner, rather than later—no one would argue with you. The CW regularly loses to Univision and several cable channels. It’s not on the same level as the four major networks, and if you’ve ever spent time jeering about how far NBC has fallen, well, most of its shows look like ratings kings compared to even The CW’s hits. Parks & Recreation, for instance, would be the highest-rated show on The CW by a fair margin. The CW is starting from a very weak position, both in terms of ratings and in terms of “buzz,” whatever that means.