Posted by: Daisy | June 1, 2009

What’s on my telly

You know I don’t watch TV.  Instead, I watch what people put into my hands and most recently, I was thrilled to get hooked on the show Life with Damian Lewis playing Charlie Crews.  So hooked in fact, that I watched 3 or 4 episodes on Saturday and another 3 or 4 on Sunday into the wee hours of the night.  To begin with, I loved Damian Lewis as Winters in Band of Brothers (yet another fabulous find) so naturally when I was told he was the main character in this show, I was intrigued.

The show follows Charlie Crews, a former cop who was convicted of murder and served 12 years in prison.  As a former police officer in prison, he certainly became a target and had a particularly rough dozen years of his life.  After he already spent what seemed a lifetime in jail, DNA evidence exonerates him from the crime and he’s given a lucrative settlement worth 50 million dollars.  He decides to return to his former line of work and is now a detective with stories revolving around the crime scenes he investigates as well as his own unsolved mystery of who actually committed the horrible murders.

It’s smart, intelligent television that blows the socks off the usual shows.  So of course, it doesn’t surprise me that the show was cancelled after season 2.  What is it about smart shows never lasting?  I asked my hubby why he supposes these great shows never get the running they deserve and he told me that people don’t want to think when they watch TV.  They want shows to with simple serial plotlines leaving viewers satiated the same way fast food feeds ones hunger.

I don’t buy that.

Do you know of great shows that don’t get the viewership they deserve?  Why do you suppose that is?  Why do some of the sugary-sweet shows with no nutritional value get the following and coveted advertising dollars?  How do we ensure the smart shows get watched?

– Daisy



  1. Randi’s theory on why all the good shows get cancelled. (I’ve noticed it too.)

    Shows that are “sugary sweet” get watched by people who are looking for a quick fix, kind of like when you need a sugar rush. They bring you up and let you back down again all in a half an hour, just like real sugar. In our rush, rush, rush society, that suits some people just fine.

    Shows that are more intelligent get watched more by people who want the healthy solution, not just the quick annoying sugar rush. It takes longer to eat a salad than a Snickers. The intelligent shows don’t give you all the answers, they require that you do some thinking. They want you to notice the connection from one week to the next. They want you to notice when they refer to some Kurt Vonnegut novel and they want you to say “Oh, I get it!” They string you out over the course of a few weeks or months. The intelligent shows are more nutritional over the long run, but most networks won’t wait for us to feed on them. Just like some of their viewers, they want sugar rush, not nutrition.

    I’m hoping that with the success of some shows like Lost the networks will pay attention and realize that not everybody wants a sugar rush. There are lots of us who want an intellectual rush as well. I think the only way to ensure that the “good shows” stay with us is to write the networks. Most TV shows now have their own online forums and the networks DO pay attention to those.

    Yes, I want the nutritional shows. Unfortunately for the shows/me is that I don’t normally watch during regular viewing hours and so I probably won’t have tried a show (via DVD) unless someone recommended it, and by then, it may no longer be around, so I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make my comments heard in the forum.

    I guess the learning is that if I want to impact good shows while they’re on air, I better watch them while they’re on the air and go to the forums? – Daisy

  2. I watch and like Life, but I think part of the reason that it got cancelled is that it didn’t quite know what it was. Whether this was due to pressure by the networks to make it more ‘standard’ or whether it’s because of creative decisions I’m not sure. I’d guess the former though. There was certainly a marked difference in tone between seasons one and two and this can alienate viewers.

    I give a few thoughts on the show here:

    Thanks! I will certainly drop by sometime soon to see what you wrote about Life. – Daisy

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