Last year I had access to the preview DVDs that upfront media buyers get when they lock in their millions of dollars of ad buying in June for the fall season that started in September. I watched a lot of the shows and posted about them. Most I was not a fan of. Most of the new shows that started last fall were cancelled either immediatley or within a few months. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip only lasted till the end of the season because of the contract they had with Aaron Sorokin and a devoted high income audience. It has been canceled now too. I firmly believe that these expensive development projects for fall premier season son’t work about 85% of the time. Yet, the mid season replacements and oddball reality and game shows that they just launch mid year work about 75% of the time.
That success rate would lead me to run a network not on flagsips but on fun oddball stuff that appeals to the mainstream and is cheap to develop and promote. I am sure that 85% of the shows you see being advertised on TV, busses, billboards, Radio and the Internet will be gone by November. Its sad mostly for the actors, since many of them have to take this leap5 or 6 times before they get a series that sticks. And we all know what kind of a pyramid it is to climb if you are trying to make a living as an actor. I wish for their sake more of this was solid anc concrete. Like if a series is developed, it is committed to running all the way through. Rather than being yanked and more episodes of the singing bee are inserted there instead.
I was curious when Netflix said they had DVDs you could rent with these same pilot episodes on them that the big time media buyers get. Well I saw the first one the other day for Californication. with David Duchovny. We all loved him in the 90’s with the X-Files. So many of us were into him then. Somehow he has survived on doing voice overs for dog food comercials and a few odd movies inbetween. (his wife tea leoni works more than he does, although he does have kids that he is probably happy to spend time with rather than working all the time)
Californication isn’t really clear what it is about or what kind of show it wants to be. I was suprised that it seemed to just be a show about sex that this one guy was having. Do they think that many people are still in lust with a character from the 90’s that we would just tune into Showtime to watch him have sex like 7 times with toppless women in the pilot episode? Does this happen every week? Why would I watch a character I neither admire or identify with? Plainly I thought the show sucked. I almost couldn’t watch the entire thing. David Duchovny plays such an unlikable guy you don’t want to watch him. He is a self centered self loathing writer that just picks up any woman he wants and has sex with them. All the while his divorced/seperated ex shows up from time to time to scold him about how he isn’t a good man or father. This isn’t the guy you keep hanging on to, this is the guy you walk away from and never speak to again if it’s reality. And of course he has all this carefree fantastic sex without stds, without cervical cancer, and without any regrets. I’d call it womanizing, but the women are just as frivoulous about it regardless of the danger and enjoy showing off their boobs the whole time. I did learn though a lot about other women’s boobs that I didn’t need to know.
So in summary, watch Californication if you want to watch a soft porn show with gratouitous sex and a completley unlikable character. I expect this series to last longer than most because it is on cable, but maybe till December at best. Weeds is about 100 times better.