Television by Way of the Dodo


It's a little hash tag floating around the internet for the four or five people who watched the series premiere.  It's a show about a charming, likable con man, who after doing unlikeable things, tries to make amends, even though his decisions are still guided by a lifetime of the con.  A show with a great dilemma and a promise for great drama.  

Will it still be good tonight?  Too early to tell, but the premiere was pretty spectacular and in an age of network television drowning in cop drama, court cases and detective procedurals, which I've been told are somehow different, it was nice to see a good old fashioned night time soap opera.

But no one watched.  

And that's a problem because over on another network, Bristol Palin, The Situation and The Hoff, were dancing in front of many money making eyes.  So, for those who care to watch television for its creative, artistic merits rather than yet another reality competition, we're about to lose the promise of something new, to only be replaced by something old.

And the most frustrating part of it, is that most of the people who would probably love the show, are waiting for it to be free on Hulu or Netflix, once people tell them it's the new great show to watch.  

I recently read an article on Mashable asking "how are you watching the fall TV line up?"  And it broke down to about a quarter who watch it broadcast, a quarter who steal it, a quarter on Hulu and the last quarter which is broken down between Netflix or other means.  A completely unscientific poll of course, but the crowd who reads Mashable is probably the crowd who'd enjoy Lone Star... and 3/4 of them aren't watching it live, the life line of a show's success.

I enjoy my popcorn television, True Blood & Fringe.  I watch reality shlock like Survivor and Big Brother.  But I can enjoy those shows because it's balanced by great artistic achievements like Mad Men and Breaking Bad and the could be Lone Star.  

To enjoy long term good television, one must apply it like you do a great meal: a little broccoli with your slices of chocolate cake.

As a writer, I enjoy the stories brought to me each week by my glowing box of light.  I like the drunken drama given to me by Ronnie & Sammy as well as the sadness of Don Draper.  The lingering question of whether or not Jesse Pinkman shot that guy and the strange oddity of the ZingBot 3000.

I just wish people understood that everything isn't free.

And the constant rise of the free and online television experience is slowly eroding the great network television show.

I hope that people truly understand that the shows that are enjoyed on Netflix & Hulu had to first be proven on the screens of people all around the country.  If it fails there, it won't be coming to an internet stream near you.  It easy to forget that good television came from original viewers and not from DVDs and internet sources.  

A potentially amazing and fantastic show like the likes of Lone Star, could very well last forever...

But if only you watch.