TV fall survival guide

Every new show this fall will appear to dazzle and amaze us, hoping to be the next big hit.  What happens more often than not is the flood gates open and once all the dust clears maybe one or two survive to the end of their freshman season.  Survival for the viewing audience is critical, we don’t want to get bored nor do we want to waste our precious time over several episodes or an entire season so here are some helpful tips to weed out the bad from the good:

  1. Watch at least three episodes. This helps mainly because pilots can either be very good or a huge convoluted mess but either way after three episodes you should have a strong opinion of whether or not it draws you in enough to commit to the season.  During the pilot and even sometimes the second episode, you’ll be primarily watching them set the stage and mood for the show.  What is happening?  Who’s involved? What is the point to all of this?  It’s typically a lot more exposition than what occurs in later episodes so by the time you get to episode 4 the show should have some legs and go places.
  2. Read about the show. Do some simple web searching research on the show, find out what and who was involved with its creative team.  Many shows are delivered to us coming from stand out teams who have a history of great shows under their feet.  Obviously those will have a stronger chance of surviving but it’s not a guarantee.  What it can do though is telegraph an overall feeling of trust.  If you’re show is being brought to you by those you love to watch then its more exciting, but if it’s all new comers then you’re more skeptical going in.  Another thought connected to research is to read the bad press too.  If several producers, writers, or actors were attached to the show only to leave quickly it should make you wonder about the quality.  If they were all jumping ship why would you insist to stay on board?
  3. Does the premise of the show lend itself to open storytelling? This question should be asked in order to determine how many episodes it might take to resolve even the smallest of issues because the writers have backed themselves into a corner.  This can happen even to the best shows and veterans who’ve been ongoing for years.  Slow episodes happen, that’s a fact but if it takes all season to wrap something that could have been done in one episode be wary.
  4. Test your own dedication to the show. This is odd but keep with me on this one.  Many if not all of us have access to a recording device, what I suggest to intentionally let the show go by for a week or two and see if you are drawn back to it.  I know this will be hated by rating folks because it won’t track your viewership but if you aren’t honestly interested in going back to visit the world they’ve created it could be a valuable save of DVR space to fill with other shows better worth your time.

This is by no means an absolute guide, but it is something that may get you to think about what interests you in regard to the shows you are most intrigued with.  I’ve been suckered into shows because of false promises to deliver great content and I know you have too.  Enjoy the new shows and let us know in the comments below what new ones you’re taking in and whether or not you’d recommend them.  Happy viewing!