Once again, here are ten things I think I think about TV …
1) The spring schedule of Saturday Night Live hasn’t hurt its ratings, but it’s certainly killed a lot of the cultural relevancy it regained in the months after Trump won last year’s Presidential election. These “two weeks on, a few weeks off” iterations are undoubtedly much appreciated by the cast and crew, but this is a show that thrives on cultural momentum when operating at peak efficiency. The move to air episodes live on the West Coast later this Spring should only bolster already incredible ratings, but the impact Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon have had could have been doubled had there been more than six episodes so far in 2017.
2) The time jump on Jane The Virgin has really worked wonders in providing new twists on familiar characters without violating our core understanding of their motives and desires. In particular, the pathos Jaime Camil brings to Rogelio’s paternal instincts and the depth Yael Grobglas has brought to Petra’s initially shallow character provides the show with an even deeper bench of already great personalities. (I’m also a big fan of How Abeula Got Her Groove Back, but that’s probably a topic for another piece.)
3) A fun thought experiment: the concept of “character trades” between shows. Think of them like similar trades for athletes, with the idea that a character (not an actor) could be traded to see what would happen. For example, what if Beverly Goldberg and Gemma Teller Morrow switched places? I just like the idea of Beverly as Head Smother of SAMCRO, or Gemma dealing with Adam’s latest girlfriend. Would love to hear some other trades in the comments below.
4) A less fun thought experiment: Realizing that This Old House fanfic probably exists.
5) I’m supportive if the Writers Guild of America goes on strike, not just because I believe “better benefits” is always an important thing, but also because I’m so hopelessly behind on shows I’d like to catch up on that the idea new content will stop relentlessly appearing on multiple platforms sounds FANTASTIC right about now.
6) For instance, I missed the boat on Wynonna Earp, which is finally on Netflix, but it’s debuting on that platform in April, which is also when approximately 500 shows are returning or debuting. And these aren’t small, niche shows, either. We’re talking highly anticipated shows like American Gods, returning heavy hitters like Fargo, and critical darlings like The Leftovers. Can’t just put those off to the side! I’d remove my need to sleep, a la Lorne in the Angel season five episode “Life Of The Party,” but we all saw how that turned out.
7) Know what? Maybe I’ll write a spec script for Black Mirror about a TV-obsessed person who stopped time so (s)he could finally catch up on all the shows (s)he had been meaning to watch. This person will have access to all content but no humanity. We’re already damn close to that reality without needing to actually stop time, so I think this is a solid pitch.
8) Things I would watch: another 45 versions of Seeso’s HarmonQuest, which is to say I’d like to watch a lot of variations on “funny people playing table-top roleplaying games.” I’d watch it partly because I’m a huge fan of the podcast The Adventure Zone, partly because I started DM’ing my own game with friends last summer and want ideas for our campaign, and partly because it’s just fun watching smart people try to mess with each other. But it would be a perfect way for an introverted extrovert like me to get the facsimile of hanging out in a group without having to actually, you know, leave the house. That’s pretty key for me.
9) Know how every year there’s an On Demand virtual Yule Log that you can put on your TV in lieu of owning/using a fireplace? That, but puppies playing in a big yard. I just solved TV. You’re welcome.
10) I tend to write about The Voice each time I do one of these “Ten Things” columns, so here’s my review of the season thus far: I’d watch an entirely different show that involved “Alicia Keys arranging music” and be much happier. Then again, I’m a guy who used to buy countless “making of the record” VHS tapes back in the day, and have watched every episode of the documentary series Classic Albums multiple times. I’m fairly obsessed with how the sausage gets made in movies, films, and albums, and often buy Blu-Rays just so I have that kind of content. In the case of The Voice, those short production segments are about the only thing keeping me watching at this point.