Why you should stop watching Broadcast network TV

TGIF lovers!!! I am so glad its Friday!! It has been a busy week! 

I hope you're all ready for your TV fix this week because I have my favorite TV friend Michelle back today for another round of TV Talk

SO sit back & lets talk TV 

We are lucky to be in an age where there is so much great TV content. So why watch TV the same old way you always have? Well, you don't have to! Let's talk about TV!


I watch about 30 shows on TV over the year (shut it). Not all at the same time or season, my DVR would explode and I'd never leave my house again. I watch mostly cable shows- meaning shows on FX, AMC, Showtime, and HBO. (Cable shows are 13 episodes as opposed to broadcast shows [ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox] which are 24 episodes a season.) 13 episodes translates to faster and tighter story lines, less wheel spinning, and better quality. 

Why better quality, you might ask? 

Let me paint you a picture….Can you imagine how long it takes to come up with 24 stories, write 24 scripts, rewrite 24 scripts after the network executives give notes, film 24 episodes, then edit them down to 22 minutes? If a broadcast show produces 24 high quality episodes that entertain week in and week out that moves the plot along…the writers deserve a fucking medal. And a coma length nap. And for all that hard work slaving away on broadcast networks- not a SINGLE broadcast show was nominated for the Emmy's last month. Not one. Because the broadcast model doesn't turn out the best programming. Cable does.

Breaking All the Rules

The FCC can't regulate cable like they can on broadcast. That mean the characters can employ…"colorful language", have sex, show gore, be crass- talk how we actually talk in real life. (Violence isn't everyone's cup of tea, that’s fine. That's not all cable has to offer.) 

Creators have more control over their shows and less input from the network executives. Do you want to watch a show written by creative storytellers who have been honing their craft for years all in the name of producing something entertaining…or do you want to watch a show carefully monitored by a middle aged white dude who has a business and finance degree who's worried the show's "racy content" might scare away the conservative affiliates in Utah or scare off the soda company who doesn’t want their beverage associated with a certain show? That's rhetorical. Obviously, you want the former.

Content Growth and Trust

Since 2010, ABC has launched around…30-35 dramas (other networks do too, but I'm using ABC as an example). They cancelled over 20 of them after or DURING their first season (GCB, Pan Am, 666 Park are just three.) I no longer watch ABC because I do not trust ABC (especially after they canned Happy Endings). It's not fair to the cast/crew of the show and it's not fair to the audience (us) to buy and promote a show, shoot and air episodes, then take it away without a conclusion. That's not fair. I spent time watching that, I talked about last week's cliffhanger with all my friends, I want to know how it ends!! But that's life on broadcast. 

(Moment of silence please: RIP many shows.)

Cable lets stories progress organically and they give them a second for a new show to get its "sea legs". Broadcast has the money, but won't risk it on a creative jump. It sucks. Right now, ABC's Sunday night line-up is shows with the same name: Revenge and Betrayal. (They also have Scandal- this is saying nothing of content or quality, this is pointing out that the network might want to expand their ideas a little…a LOT)

Now What?

Now more than ever, you can watch TV on almost any device, whenever you want, on SO many channels!

Netflix tried its hand in original content this year and it's phenomenal! 

Orange is the New Black is wonderful

House of Cards is sexy and sordid, 

I'm beyond grateful to have Arrested Development back in my life.

FX launched The Americans this year, and while it's weird watching Felicity kick a guy's face in, it's a really great sexy and suspenseful period show about the Cold War. It also has the crazy, campy miniseries American Horror Story (which reboots every season, so it's nothing that requires catch up). I haven't even mentioned Sons of Anarchy (hello, Christian Grey) or Justified.

BBC America has brought us the 'clonetastic' Orphan Black which I literally cannot recommend enough (one woman, seven characters, hairstyles, accents, and mannerisms?! A+ acting showcase). The beautifully filmed and wonderfully acted Broadchurch brings us a new twist on a murder in a small sea side town.

Showtime brings us Homeland, Masters of Sex, and my personal favorite, Shameless. And there are NO commercials. We get 50+ minutes of awesome, uninterrupted story telling! What's not to love?

If you missed Breaking Bad's breathtaking run, catch it all on Netflix. 

Seriously, there's only 62 episodes. That's nothing to marathon.

I guess what I'm trying to say is mix it up. We don't have to watch the Big 4. There's more and better content available. It's out there and it's so easy to find and watch. Fall TV season is upon us, so I implore you to maybe pass on a few broadcast shows in favor of a better  and creative and surprising cable show.

(*There are some great shows on broadcast: The Good Wife, Hannibal, Scandal, Parenthood among them. I'm adding this because I don't want to throw a blanket over all broadcast dramas.)


Anonymous said...

Masters of Sex is on my lineup this year. I am so bad with TV that I usually just stream anything I missed. I never jumped on the Breaking Bad train or Orange. I should probably check them out.

Julie said...

I don't have cable so the only way for me to watch any show is on their site. Do cable shows have that option? I am assuming not, bummer.

Ashley said...

I want to kiss this post on the mouth. This is one of the best posts you have ever done. I can't agree enough about cable TV. Our favorites are Mad Men, Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, The Americans among others. But we do watch Parenthood and New Girl regularly. (I also catch The Mindy Project right now...and I'm still watching Grey's because I have this weird thing about to watch a show to the dirty end.) I'm still pissed at ABC for canceling Pan Am--I LOVED it!

Ashley said...

Ah! I forgot AHS!

Thomas Mundell said...

Great Post michelle!!!!

love the heart lol

Unknown said...

ABC just axed its first drama of the season! RIP Lucky 7, after TWO episodes. We hardly knew you.


Raven said...

Wait..... You watch 30 hours A YEAR??????????????????

Eff. I watch at least 3 a day and there are 365 days in a year......

Unknown said...

I think we are TV soul mates!!!

Kelly said...

I am split down the middle, I love both!

Sparkles and Shoes

Nicole said...

My all time fav is Dexter!!

My-cliffnotes said...

Oh I watched episodes 1-5 of Black Orphan today I'm obsessed

Chelsey Patti said...

I have watched most of these and couldn't agree more! Excited to check out Orphan Black!


Unknown said...

This story is fabulous!!! I didn't have T.V. for the past 2 years. I got one and thought "what kind of amazing thing happened when I was gone??? What was in the water?" Orphan Black...WOW, Broadchurch, House of Cards, Orange is New black...WOW, Everything you mentioned is awesome and so true regarding the quality shows and episodes of 13 vs. 24. Haven is another one. Cable has turned me into a t.v. junkie now! (I have to limit my watching now).
Anyone else addicted or have to limit hours per day??

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