When not sitting in the cinema or the drunk tank, you can often find me claiming some couch space and settling in for some television, either live or on the DVR. It’s quite the life, let me tell you. During the down time of television seasons, you’re no doubt beside yourself with what to do. Go outside? No thanks, Mr. Sun. Hang out with friends? Who? No, it’s best to watch old seasons on DVD until the new episodes roll around. Then once they’re here, celebration!
After a six or eight month hiatus, it’s time for a welcome reunion with favorite characters and engaging storylines. It’s time to settle in for a solid 12-22 weeks of brand new amazing adventures! Well, maybe a decade ago. Or even five years ago. But today it seems that whoever is in charge of the network schedule isn’t so much a fan of Connect Four as he is of Scattergories. If you’re not down with the game parlance, what I’m trying to say is almost no channel just runs a straight season anymore. Virtually every cable network runs a scatter shot program, three episodes here, a two week break there, a marathon on Saturday, and then another four episodes in a week.
Some networks are worse than others: Fox, I’m looking at you. But only for a few moments before I turn to look at USA Networks. These are probably my two most watched networks, so it’s especially frustrating for me as it seems almost every show I watch randomly takes a break.
When House returned early this year, we were all excited to see how the relationship between the cranky doctor and the hot boss would turn out. And we got to see that for two whole weeks in a row before the show took a two week break. Two weeks! Shortly after that, Lie to Me returned (one would think the shows would return on the same week, but that was not so) and then, yup, the Lightman group took a vacation.
If you’re a fan of Burn Notice or Psych, two weeks ago you got to revisit those great shows. Last week, not so much. Sure, there are somewhat reasonable explanations – some of the time. This past week was Thanksgiving. For some reason this dictates disrupting the entire week of programming so we can all watch football blowouts. Fox was disrupted by baseball at least once, but there are still programming breaks that just randomly occur.
What has happened to the television season? Once upon a time you could set your calendar to the television. You knew what day it was by what was on. Hell, I’m sure some people could tell what month it was based on how many episodes had aired and when they started. No way that happens now, because half these shows separate their own seasons. Season 2. Season 2.5. Season 33 1/3 (love you Leslie Nielsen!). A season premiere followed by a two week break. A season “sneak preview” where we see the pilot episode and then three weeks later we see the pilot again and then a week after that the second episode followed by a break.
What the fuck, man? What is the reasoning here? I don’t get it. All I want to do is have some continuity in programming! Is it too much to ask to have these shows run through without all the curveballs that throw off DVR schedules and leave you longing for Bruce Campbell and Hugh Laurie? If you start something, finish it – timely, weekly, one after another. Every time a TV show hits a road bump and disappears for a week or two I hit my boiling point.