Good TV Requires Patience From Networks And Viewers Alike
So that brings me to the conundrum, especially when I consider Katey's comments about wanting to wait until later to decide what to watch. As a TV fan, is it my responsibility to tune in every week even if I'm not sure I love or ever will love the show? Or is it the network's responsibility to show a bit more faith in their series and maybe not cancel them after two episodes if they aren't instant hits? (RIP Lucky 7). At this point, I think it's a little bit of both. If every one of us waited for Netflix or DVD to watch the new series, we'd probably need to stop expecting to find new shows showing up on Netflix, because none of them would make it past their first few episodes in their original run. So we do need to continue to "put in the work" and watch these new shows live, having faith that they'll not only be worth the time invested, but that they won't be yanked by the network due to low ratings.
With the above said, the game is changing, which I'm sure isn't news to network television. But a little more patience wouldn't hurt when it comes to to scripted TV. It takes time for characters to develop, and it isn't always easy to determine a show's full potential by its pilot, or even by its first season. Viewers need time to love a series just as series need time to find their identity and their audience. With enough time, a series can develop into something truly engaging, and if it does, the viewers will come. We'll talk about it, we'll pester our friends to watch, and if you give us a way to get caught up, we'll log the hours and then we'll watch live because we can't wait to see what happens next. But we have to care about the characters and the story in order to get to that point, and we aren't going to care right away, as much as we might want to.
In the end, it all comes down to patience. As viewers, it's on us to be patient with new series and recognize their potential, even if it's been two weeks since we started watching and we don't know all of the characters' quirks and behaviorisms yet… or even their names, for that matter. And it's on the networks to recognize that our viewing habits are changing and it might take more than a few episodes, or even a season or two for a series' full ratings potential to begin to surface. Even for a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which already has a pre-established setting on which to build its story, patience is a virtue, and it may very well be the one that shapes the future of television.
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