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View Poll Results: What did You Think Of The 2 Hour Premiere?
::::::::[ "Pilot" ]::::: 2 3.17%
Excellent! 11 17.46%
Good 35 55.56%
Average 11 17.46%
Bad 3 4.76%
Horrible! 1 1.59%
:::::[ "Ernest Cobb" ]::::: 2 3.17%
Excellent! 9 14.29%
Good 28 44.44%
Average 13 20.63%
Bad 1 1.59%
Horrible! 1 1.59%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 18 2012, 02:09 AM   #331
sojourner
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

The only real problem with strong arc shows is bringing on new viewers. No one wants to come in on the middle of the story and not know what the hell is going on. That's why from a network standpoint arc mixed with serialization is a good balance. Capture new audience with stand alones, keep them with the arc.
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Old March 18 2012, 02:17 AM   #332
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

startrekwatcher wrote: View Post
M'rk, son of Mogh wrote: View Post
^^
Seems that starting with a strong arc might be the way to a quicker death. At least a slow burn is something. At least on network TV.
Personally nothing gets me more invested in a show than an intriguing premise and mysteries set up for a season long arc in the first episode that develop and play out week in and week out. Going all the way back to DS9 I hated when they were in the midst of the Dominion War storyline sidelining it for weeks with a lot of filler esp in S6/7. ENT gave us two seasons of recycled stale stories and only perked up with the Xindi arc in season 3. Fringe's standalones are almost always weak while its myth episodes are compelling and exciting.

If I knew a series could be consistent in telling standalone stories like The X-Files that would be one thing since the bottom line is I want to be entertained but from personal experience writers these days can't seem to tell fresh entertaing one-offs the way TNG or The X-Files did in the 90s.

Now that isn't to say that heavy serialization is a panacea for weak writing--as there have been a lot of bad or mediocre tv shows with full on serialization(V, Flash Forward, Surface, Invasion, The Event, True Blood, Rubicon, The Killing, Heroes S2-4, Caprica, The Secret Circle, The River, Harpers Island for instance) but I do see the stronger seasons of the last several years coming from heavily serialized shows(Lost season 1/4/5, Prison Break S1/4, Veronica Mars S1, BSG S1, Heroes S1) with no real strongly consistent and entertaining seasons coming to mind of standalone storytelling except S1 of Supernatural.

By this point in my life I've seen pretty much iteration of cop/hospital/legal/sff standalones--the only way to not have writers falling back on old chestnuts we've all seen before and done better is to be forced to craft an ongoing arc with unique material crafted especially for it. People want to be invested in a show and the best way to do it is with interesting characters, intriguing mysteries, twists, cliffhangers that make you excited about what happens next. The last thing you want is to get excited then have all that interesting material relegated to the sidelines for weeks while you must endure stale filler episodes that have nothing to do with advancing those storylines or in those storylines playing a peripheral role in the episode. And heavy serialization isn't anything new or groundbreaking for broadcast tv--some of its most successful and popular shows were heavily serialized--Dallas, Melrose Place, St Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, Grey's Anatomy, Falcon Crest, Knot's Landing etc etc
I'd pretty much agree with all of this.

The problem with Alcatraz is that it doesn't use its arc effectively. The formulaic "let's meet this week's sociopath and see what the other sociopaths did to him in the past" routine is all but designed to bleed viewers. And it chews up too much time with rote behavior to either effectively integrate the doled out bits of mystery or make the regular characters consistently engaging.
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Old March 18 2012, 02:19 AM   #333
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

sojourner wrote: View Post
The only real problem with strong arc shows is bringing on new viewers. No one wants to come in on the middle of the story and not know what the hell is going on. That's why from a network standpoint arc mixed with serialization is a good balance. Capture new audience with stand alones, keep them with the arc.
And that's why Alcatraz is probably dead. Its ratings have fallen too low already given the resistance of new viewers to step into an ongoing arc.
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Old March 18 2012, 02:48 AM   #334
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Arc, what arc?

There's no mystery in this that wasn't raised in the pilot, and any episode can be played out of order, when they're proving with the fluff up with the golf episode that some idiot labeled as episode 10 and I downloaded for the third fucking time because it's really just episode 8 again.

they're just asking the same questions over and over again.
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Old March 18 2012, 02:16 PM   #335
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

startrekwatcher wrote: View Post

And even more inexcusable is the fact that a show like Alcatraz with only a 13 episode season doesn't need standalone padding--they should be able to do a tightly focused serialized arc--we aren't talking about a standard 22 episode season.

I'll agree with you there; given that this is a short intro season, then, then the pacing should've been similar to B5's fourth season, in which they thought that they were going to be cancelled, and JMS churned out a set of tightly-paced eps that kept the momentum rolling along at breakneck speed.

Basically, I agree with everything you've said, I think the only real difference between us is that I'm still hooked enough at this point to want to see it continue - though I'm afraid that you are probably correct in that FOX won't pick it up for a second season.

If they do, then the producers and writers are definitely going to need to amp up the action and plot reveals to keep it rolling along.
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Old March 18 2012, 04:08 PM   #336
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Most series if they do well, get the "back nine" earing a full season after a 13 episode freebee.

Maybe Alcatraz was so incredibly vain that they expected their back 9?

Especially with so much blood in the water over Terra nova that they could survive being sloppy or boring or both.
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Old March 18 2012, 04:41 PM   #337
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

It seems this show is going the opposite direction.

Usually you start off with a bang and then in later seasons lose steam.

But this show lost steam quite early and it feels like they're in their 5th season with low ratings and less attention on it.
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Old March 18 2012, 05:55 PM   #338
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

So, I'm having a suddenly Susan marathon because I just got my hands on it.

And in the credits, they're listing the actors, and I shit you not the text on the screen says "And not to mention Jud Nelson" which is just fucking adorable, but then... LOOK! It's Alcatraz in the opening credits!

Suddenly I'm imagining 63's storming the offices of the Gate (the magazine Brooke works at) taking Suddenly Susan and Kathy Griffin Hostage as a younger Sam Neil kicks the door in and shoots the place up to save the day.

What other TV has been set on the Streets of San Fransisco?

(Did you see what I did there?)

Remind me, is Michael Douglas dead, I'm too lazy to google.

Richard Hatch replaced him in the later seasons.

I've wanted to nurse from Brooke Shields since I was young enough to still nurse.

Shit.

In how many different shows did Rodney Dangerfield play a repair man on thanksgivings?

I know there's at least three.
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Old March 18 2012, 06:33 PM   #339
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
Arc, what arc?
Exactly what I've been wondering. I keep watching in the hopes there will be an arc. I guess we have to wait till the season and no doubt series finale. Kinda pointless at that point.

If sf/f series (on broadcast) could do without plot arcs, I gotta wonder where they've all gone. Grimm and Once Upon a Time both have arcs, with the latter using them more prominently than the former. Those being two of the few successful new series this year, no doubt they are being highly influential on the decisions about broadcast pilots this year. (The other big influence is the highly successful sf/f shows on cable - The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones - but most cable drama is serialized anyway.)

People who want episodic TV can get their tastes met with cop shows and sitcoms. Almost all the broadcast pilots in the sf/f category sound like they will be partially or heavily serialized just due to the nature of the premise. There's one called Gotham that's basically Grimm with a female lead, and set in NYC, but most are like Revolution, Midnight Sun, Beautiful People, The Last Resort, etc - where the premise is an open-ended situation (with or without a mystery) that requires an ongoing plotline.

SyFy's pilots look like they're going to continue their philosophy that sf/f is impossible without some kind of cop-show element, so that's where everyone can look for episodic genre shows.
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Old March 18 2012, 06:48 PM   #340
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Almost all the broadcast pilots in the sf/f category sound like they will be partially or heavily serialized just due to the nature of the premise. There's one called Gotham that's basically Grimm with a female lead, and set in NYC, but most are like Revolution, Midnight Sun, Beautiful People, The Last Resort, etc - where the premise is an open-ended situation (with or without a mystery) that requires an ongoing plotline.
And I bet none of those will get a long run, 2 seasons tops.

You need the general public on a network, and you need something that they can just jump into and relax with. Speaking in generalities, of course, but there's a reason Grimm is a police procedural wrapped in fairy tales.
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Old March 18 2012, 07:39 PM   #341
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

You need the general public on a network
No, you don't. (And for broadcast's sake, they better not need them because they're not getting them, and haven't been for a while now.) Even American Idol only gets 16M nowadays, which is 5% of the total population.

That means (except for sports) every show on broadcast is a niche show. The only question remaining is, how big is the niche and can it pay the bills?

Once Upon a Time is showing the way. That's definitely a niche taste - a serialized drama about the tribulations of fairy tale characters? With 9M viewers, it appeals to only 3% of the population, yet is one of the big new hits of the season.

Any of the new sf/f premises could theoretically also appeal to 3% of the population. That's getting pretty specific. I think the best strategy is to untether completely from past ways of doing things. Don't do what Alcatraz did, and try to pass off a cop show as sf/f. You just annoy the people who want sf/f, who are the only audience for the show.

Instead, just fling yourself way out there like OUAT did, and see if there's even a little niche for you to appeal to, because that's all you need. Give them exactly what they want, and they will be loyal. It's a small target, and you have to hit it dead-on. That's how shows will survive going forward.

From that perspective, I'm less sanguine about the mystery-based premises like Revolution and Midnight Sun, and more positive about Beautiful People, which tells the audience what it's really all about, up front: it's a civil rights metaphor using androids. If you like it watch, if you don't, don't. But nobody needs to worry about being strung along waiting to figure out whether they like the damn thing. I think people are getting really sick of the Alcatraz experience (and shows like that are probably contributing to the low ratings that broadcast gets overall.)

there's a reason Grimm is a police procedural wrapped in fairy tales.
And they're lucky they're on Friday because on any other night, it might be cancelled (since it's also on desperate NBC, I can't say it would be for sure). But it's funny that even trying to use an audience-pleasing trope like the cop show format, Grimm is getting substantially less of an audience - 5M - than OAUT, which is flying without a net. The lesson there is that being chickenhearted isn't going to pay off for broadcast like it used to, not unless you're CBS.
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Old March 25 2012, 02:25 AM   #342
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Currently watching 'Webb Porter' on the DVR - decent ep thus far. It seems that Sam Neill is finally shaking his wooden performances and showing his chops a wee bit more. I still like Doc the best and Blondie is finally starting to grow on me.

I hope the finale on Monday night is worth the wait, and provides enough momentum to get a second season.
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Old March 25 2012, 04:03 AM   #343
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

You hope that they can finally convince you to like, love, nay lust for this show as it's canceled and dies?

(Stupid sons of bitches are still writing party of Five fan Fiction. Season 23 or bust!)

That would make Alcatraz a complete asshole.

Rick put Ilsa on that plan for a reason.
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Old March 26 2012, 09:20 AM   #344
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Anyone planning on being around for live commentary for the finale tonight?
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Old March 26 2012, 09:22 AM   #345
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Re: Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

I DVR all my shows to save time. Hate sitting through commercials.
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