Lessons We Learned from the 2011-2012 TV Season

If we don't learn a thing or two from all the hours we spend watching television, what's the point in watching in the first place? Entertainment? I think not! Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is officially behind us, it's time to take a look back and figured out where we got edumacated.


Don't try to be cable cool, networks.

We get it, you see Banana Republic roll out a Mad Men line and you just can't wait to see duds inspired by your super-cool show on a T.J. Maxx rack. So you decide you're going to do a '60s series of your own with people dressed all shnazzy. Well, in case you haven't noticed, network audiences and cable audiences are quite different. And cable's is much smaller. Jimmy Bob Middle America doesn't give a Steak 'n Shake about mid-century men in slick suits, even if they're surrounded by ladies in leotards with bunny tails on their butts. Innovate by making smarter network shtick, not by making dumber cable shows. And when you DO come up with something that's legitimately good but really belongs on cable (Awake), people just don't tune in. Sigh. Don't ever forget that you are network television.


The gender war was a gender BEATDOWN, and women kicked the men's collective ass.

One of the biggest to-dos of the 2011-2012 season was the number of shows about pussified men living in a world full of nagging women/women with dirty mouths and quirky habits. Well for the first time in the history of anything, women were more successful than men (kidding, ladies!). Work It was Work It and How to Be a Gentleman was just plain awful. And I have a question for ABC: WHO WERE YOU TARGETING WITH MAN UP? If that show was for men, that's just dumb. If that show was for women, that's just oblivious. Wussy men are supporting characters, not centerpieces.

On the flip side, women are back in a big way and deservedly so. Zooey Deschanel and Kat Dennings are breakout stars on breakout hits, and female-skewing (but man-friendly) Suburgatory, Happy Endings, Don't Trust the B---- are all coming back for more.


If you promise us dinosaurs, show us some f***ing dinosaurs!

We bought into Terra Nova because we thought we'd be knee-deep in dinos each week. But instead we got a teen soap and saccharine family fun with sporadic Syfy-quality special effects. The show's real problem was that it relied too much on a logline and not enough on writing, but the insult was that Fox thought we wouldn't care and never bothered to deliver on Terra Nova's promise. Same goes for Alcatraz. The serialized network drama is in grave danger, but to see how it can be done right, check out Person of Interest, which incorporates plenty of standalone elements to appease the masses. That's how it's done, Spielberg!


Let's never say the word "vagina" again.

I mean really, it's not like the word is any bluer than what's said in anatomy class. But the V-word was uttered all over network television by garbage-mouthed ladies talking to men like the term was pepper spray. It's not that it was offensive, it's that it wasn't offensive enough to be funny. Maybe get a little more specific next season? I hereby declare 2012-2013 to be the "Year of the Labia." You're welcome, Whitney.


Network executives don't have a personal vendetta against us!

Too often, we blame networks for canceling shows that shouldn't be canceled and hold grudges against them forever. Some of you are still boycotting Fox over Firefly, for cryin' out loud. But this season, the networks mostly played nice and did us all a few favors. Fox didn't cancel Fringe, even though it should have from a business perspective. NBC didn't cancel Community even though its numbers were crummy. Sure there are other factors behind those shows' renewals, but we like to think our love for our favorite TV series is reciprocated by their networks. This was the year that networks tried to keep fans happy. (Unfortunately, they've set up a bloodbath for next season, but we'll get to that when it happens.)


The future is... comedy! (Still.)

Despite being outnumbered by comedies, almost twice as many dramas were canceled than comedies this season. And the pilots this year are so top-heavy with laughers that NBC will air at least an hour of comedy four nights a week next season and every network (except for The CW) now has multiple comedy blocks. This is a trend that's been building for a few seasons, but this was the year it really broke out. Don't expect things to change for a while, as serialized network dramas continue to disappoint and cable remains the go-to place for good drama.


What lessons did YOU take away from the 2011-2012 TV season?

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NBC had "Surface" a few years back. "Awake", "Fringe'. Great. Shows that make you think

America sure is on the "decline", dumbing down all the way. Reality shows are

scripted and contrived. I'll find a good book, thank you very much.
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Lots of comments about SyFy's name change. The execs stated they wanted the name to reflect a greater diversity in genres. I don't mind if they mix scifi with fantasy and paranormal activity. Just give me decent plot, character development, and surprising/interesting dialogue. I have to agree that SyFy wrestling is really stretching it for genre inclusion.
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According to the article Terra Nova was all about the dinosaurs. Well, duh! It sure wasn't about saving the human race. I mean, was there ever an explanation about why they relocated to a time BEFORE the last known extinction level event?
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My main problem with FOX is that they constantly preempt their dramas for their reality shows. A show such as Fringe will start with a regular schedule then it disappears, then a single episode will air and it disappears again, and repeat. This makes it very difficult to not miss a show.
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Fringe is all over the map these days. I still watch but am sometimes wondering who to trust and after all the alternate universe stuff, what character am I watching...really?

The only other show listed that I watched was the Playboy Club. It stretched a bit but I came back because of the crime factor AND the articles and interviews, of course.



Also watched Awake and am wondering where Dexter and Damages have gone. Neither have been cancelled to my knowledge. Stretching between seasons to 15-18 months is asking a lot of viewers, I think.
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SYFY... I'm still trying to figure that one out.



Why is it that an entire network that is supposed to be dedicated to Science fiction & fantasy shows, actually airs only a couple of shows in that genre per season?



Eureka is ending. Warehouse 13 is great. Lost Girl is excellent. Alphas is ok.

What do they have on the other 166 hours a week? There is Wrestling, Scare Tactics, Hollywood Treasure, Insane or inspired, and blood & gore horror movies on the weekends.



The idea of a "Science Fiction Channel" had such potential. And, to be honest, it used to be a pretty decent channel.



Then network execs got their hands on it.



What a tragic loss...
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Oh, I almost forgot Haven and Merlin. Both are very innovative and wonderful shows. But they certainly aren't enough for "SYFY" to make any sense. Although maybe they suppose that since they changed their name form SciFi to SYFY they think we're all stupid enough to not notice the difference.
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A lesson ABC /should/ have learned: Don't put the word "Bitch" in your show titles. It'll never get through as is and will be watered down to a silly "B----" ("Don't Trust...") or a perplexing "B" ("GCB"). Don't try it a third time or the word may end up becoming a cryptic rune by the time it gets on the air.

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Why are they even bothering with scifi shows anymore? No matter how good they are, or, with a little time and nurturing, may become, they cancel them. Quickly. I loved The Event. I was heartbroken when it wasn't renewed. You just don't create a great character, give it to Zeljko Ivanek to play, and then cancel it all. NBC, you will forever have a big black X beside your letters in my book.
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Ever Since Heroes was canceled...and replaced by The Event (which I gave a try) and The Cape..i dont trust NBC



They gave Chuck a Final Season renewed Community...they're getting there..slowly. I'd still like my VOLUME SIX WRAP UP though.



No matter how crappy Heroes got, it still had potential that it never lived up to (except on occasion, COLD SNAP) I watched for 4 years and had the carpet yanked up from under me after 3 months of awaiting a renewal. anyway..rant over..I agree..NBC sucks =p
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I haven't forgiven Fox for Firefly, nor even earlier than that, for cancelling "Tbe Adventures of Brisco County, Jr" (Bruce 'Campbell). I do watch "Fringe" on that network because of its quality, but that's about it. I did watch The Finder, which would have found success on USA or AMC, I think. Fox destroyed Breaking In with the cast changes it demanded. .
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Speaking as a girl I can say that most shows about a woman that targeted for women are awful. The comedies are shallow and mostly funny, and the dramas make woman out to be vindictive, stupid, resentful, adulterous, slutty, overly emotional, weak, man hating, bitches. And in shows like american horror story and breaking bad which aren't targeted at woman they still have complete unlikable female characters (the wife in both those shows is a horrible person). I just wish that shows/movies would make more likable female characters, there are so few.
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I agree a new business model needs to be put in place. I learned no matter how good a show is, there is never a guarantee of renewal. I will miss Ringer. I still miss V. I love True Blood and look forward to Falling Skies return as well!
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I'm so tired of these comedy and reality shows. Why can't we have more drama/action shows?
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on ice road truckers why do you have a fake Jack Jessy, why not have the real one play the part
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What I have learned and what TV execs need to learn is that the current rating system for television is OUTDATED. They need to adjust to the fact that people have DVRs as well as online sources to see their favourite shows. I realize ratings really only matter for purposes of advertising pricing, which is how a show makes money, so TV execs need to figure out OTHER ways for a popular show to make money. Since so many ways of seeing a TV show allows for you to just skip the advertising, maybe free, broadcast television which relies solely on advertising for profits should be a thing of the past.
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I can't blame the broadcast networks for trying to air cable shows since it's the cable shows that are getting all the awards. Broadcast networks do seem to be appealing more to women. Person of Interest is one of the few dramas on broadcast TV that seems to be aimed at guys. And NCIS has always tried to appeal to the older male audience, which explains why it's had such good ratings.



I've completely lost interest in sitcoms s
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That there was nothing interesting brought to the table other than existing franchises.
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I learned that even when things aren't looking good, a great deal of hoping, praying, wishing, dreaming and posting about a renewal can get the best TV program, the end that it deserves. Still over the moon about Fringeeeee :D
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did you forget about Awake ???

the lesson should be never put a good showi on NBC

becouse NBC is the grimm ripper of shows

NBC sucks !!!

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Can't understand why a lot of people likes stupid comedies? I just can't watch them because there is nothing to laugh about, stupid situations with stupid consequences. Just kids can laugh from them... My favourite tv shows of all time is:

1. The Walking Dead. (Respect!)

2. True Blood (Love you guys!)

3. The Event (Can't understand WHY THEY CANCELED THIS AWESOME TV SHOW????!!!! )
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It's really hilarious that so many people are intimated by "garbage-mouthed ladies" and the word "vagina" being on television. Just admit you're stuck in traditional gender norms!
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I think some dislike the use because it's intent is to instill misandry.
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Terra Nova: "This is one of the last oranges on planet earth." WTF?!?!? The scientists managed to built a time machine, but they couldn't built hydroponic labs? LOL!



My Top5 this season:

1) Person of Interest

2) Dexter

3) Nikita

4) Sons of Anarchy

5) The Walking Dead



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They just suck period, thats what we learned Playboy Club would've survived if it was on HBO, and Awake too if was on AMC.
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That even if a promo for a new show looks epic, it probably isn't.
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Ultimately, what I learned is that TV executives largely still suck really badly at their jobs (except at CBS where they have remained rock solidly on-target with their types of action, drama, and comedy, and built solid ratings - and no, I'm not trying to suck up to the tv.com parent company).
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Be fair, Community's numbers weren't crummy, NBC's numbers were crummy and Community simply didn't raise them. No matter what shows NBC put in that timeslot or put after it, the timeslot did the same or worse numbers. Why? Because NBC has no strong leadership right now, no vision, nobody telling them their marketing sucks and their scheduling is weak and their programming isn't punching hard enough. NBC is on autopilot and their quality shows are suffering for it.



I truly believe NBC didn't cancel Community merely because its development department is so poor they had no promising reserves to replace it with.



Sitcoms are less of a risk than dramas since they're cheaper and in smaller bites (even if a sitcom sucks, it's only 30 minutes) yet don't have a limited stigma of other cheap programming the way reality shows do. Sitcoms don't require heavy continuity which makes many dramas difficult to jump in and out of (probably why Law & Order ran 20 years); they're generally easy to explain in marketing (although network marketing can still screw that up these days); they're usually fairly cheap to produce for the first few years; plus, sitcoms seem the easiest way to accidentally trip over a talent that quickly can become a star, or to hook an existing star. No surprise that sitcoms are making a comeback, especially when cable channels are beating networks at dramas so handily.
More+
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Community is amazing. But it's network isn't. NBC more like N...BS!
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"Battlestar Galactica" was awesome, but it ran its course. It wasn't canceled, it just finished. Many creative shows have been finished before their times and the section about network execs not having it out for us is BS. As I said before, why did "Alcatraz" only last one season, but "American Idol" has been running for umpteen years? Network execs don't want to provide us with quality entertainment, they want to provde us cheap entertainment. I guess that's fair enough because we only pay them with our advertising money, and, because of TEVO, many people have stopped watching advertisements.
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p.s. Alcatraz really, really stank. =Really Stank..... bad guy of the week that escapes/thrown back into future present.... really lame... super lame.... comic books would say .... geepers, lame
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There was an overall story going on, too, but they didn't get the chance to develop it. Most shows are not at their best in their first seasons because the writers are still deciding where to go with it.

But you seem to have missed my point. My point was not to praise "Alcatraz," but to criticize how many good shows get canceled prematurely while crap like "American Idol" just keeps going, and going....
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it wasn't finished.... sci fy.... um, syfy didnt want to pay for it... new merges with higher powers... and 5th season meant syndication and contract extensions, syfy doesnt like expensive... no matter how good. CHEAP SH*T is sci-fi-syfy motto
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Pretty much the reason SciFi cancelled FarScape. They could replace it with BSG for a LOT cheaper than running another season of FarScape.
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Don't kid yourself. SyFy's motives may be mercantile, but don't leave out the factor that BSG was so good it made FarScape look like an amateur middle-school arts project. BSG did NOT get the green light because it was inexpensive.
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If you are going to be a show that SUCKS, don't suck at $3-4 million per episode.....



and dont have a whiny azz teen as an excuse for failure
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Yeah, I'm talking to you, Terra Nova.
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What I learned, is that my type of shows (Lost, Fringe) are a dying breed and I'll be lucky if I ever see another show like it.
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did u watch Awake? if you didnt.... dont... best show in years, and it was cancelled
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Forgot Dexter and Homeland are very good too... and I loved TRUBLOOD intal seasns, bt dislike the ast ne, lets seethis oe beginig today..
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I agree totaly, Awake was awesome, with awsome actors, begining with Jason Isaacs...but is gone... My salvationa is last year of Fringe, and Grimm, that I find a very fine show too.
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will u marry me?
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I am married already...
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Jesus is watching...... but we aren't
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1. The showrunner is a very rare creature. I keep imagining Terra Nova with Ronald D. Moore as showrunner. Oh, how misunderstood that brilliant concept was by the studio/whoever was in charge. The Terra Nova concept + the battlestar galactica existencial questions and character drama would be something special. Even the BSG 2003 special effects were way better than TN.

2. Not knowing everything about all shows coming up is actually fun! Homeland hit me like a truck! Man was it fun not knowing anything and be so positively surprised.

3. Even an zombie apocalypse needs money! Hey AMC, people talking on a farm for 6-8 episodes straight is really really boring. Give the hard working crew some fun stuff to play with!
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The problem with TV shows is that being creative is discouraged in lieu of being cheap. "Alcatraz" had potential but it got canceled before it had a chance. People are still unsure of why "My Name is Earl" and "Arrested Development" were canceled. And, yet, how long has "American Idol" been running? How is it possible that we don't want to watch developing stories and clever, original comedy, but we're still not sick of watching mediocre singers cover annoying songs?
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I couldn't agree more. I think all so-called "reality shows" should be either cancelled or relegated to daytime TV, with the other soap operas and game shows, so that nights can be filled with stories actually written by real writers. More and more I find myself watching DVDs of old TV series because there isn't much on TV now that's (1) interesting, (2) lasts long enough to build an audience or (3) isn't aimed at a teenage (or less) mentality..
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What is it lately with cancelling genre (scifi/fantasy/horror) and non-genre (drama, etc) on a cliffhanger ending, like they are going to be coming back, but don't because they are forever cancelled.
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You think this is new? Where have you been?
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Did I say it was new, no I didn't, so don't put words in my mouth.



I've been watching TV since the '70s, yes they've done it before, but over the last 15 years or so it's become the de facto thing to do, especially by FOX.
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In whatever120's defense, you did say "what is it lately with," which implies a relatively recent trend.



However, I agree with you: there seems to be something wrong nowadays with having seasons that are self-contained, which does seem like a recent trend. I suspect that it has to do with shows worrying that if they don't keep audiences salivating and itching for the conclusion of the plot (or the continuation of that plot), then they'll lose interest and not return to watch the show after the three month (or, as is the case now often, more) hiatus.
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I've learned that sci/fi/fantasy shows will always get shafted in favor of crap shows by networks (R.I.P. The Secret Circle) beacuse they're stupid and they don't have good taste, and to not easily get invested in new shows in case there might a little chance that they might get the axe.
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That's been happening for over 40 years, at least. Cancelling the original Star Trek, despite a following, for an 87th season of Gunsmoke.



Sci-Fi shows, even to this day, are not floated to TV execs at face-value. They are presented as a comparison to other popular genre. For example, the original Star Trek was presented as a "wagon-train in space". Firefly, no doubt, was presented in a similar fashion, as the "old-west in space". Insert your own genre into the phrase "in space". It just goes to show that TV network execs have no respect for sci-fi, to this day. The only reason it took off was because of the success of Star Wars back in the day, which spawned Buck Rogers, BSG, and dozens of other sci-fi shows that lasted a micro second. They were cashing in, not recognizing a legitimate genre. The Academy Awards are the same. Sci-FI is relegated to the background, out of serious contention, with horror and teen comedies.

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It just kind of annoys me when sci-fi/fantasy shows are ignored. Some of those shows end up being pretty good.
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ummm, secret circle sucked. really hard. even for a teen show.
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Then it got good towards the end. You know what shows suck instead of TSC? Try American Idol or Jersey Shore.
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How about some shows worth watching? Meaning no more housewives or Celebes doing stupid things. Good, clean family programs and some dramas that are worth watching. Gonna have a show? Have a plot with character development.



man I miss the 90s
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"Don't try to be cable cool, networks."

oh how true. the playboy club was nowhere near as good as mad men. tried watching it and 5 min into the pilot and i gave up.



"Don't expect things to change for a while, as serialized network dramas continue to disappoint and cable remains the go-to place for good drama."

this i dont mind. all the drama shows i watch now have been on cable. idk during the week i look forward to comedies to cheer me up not dramas
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I'm glad to see more comedies. I think our need to identify with drama has lessened with a world so connected all time online and when I come home to watch teliie, it's to really escape and have a good laugh, put the cherry on top of my day and then off to bed I go to face the real world again in the morning.



Clever comedy is a lot more challenging to make and what we find humourous is likely to vary a great deal more so audiences for each show might be smaller, rather than the mass appeal dramas used to hit. I know who people who life Family Guy OR American Dad which I find bizarre as they seem to hit most of the same funny points for me. Regardless, I'm happy there are more comedies and more coming.



That said, I also LOVE Game of Thrones and The Borgias. Drama where honor is keeping your word, loyalty is dying for those you love and support and where betrayal can lead to decapitation is far more entertaining than skanks smack-talking. I can see that in the city on a Friday night thanks. lol
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I've learned that it's going to be a long wait till something surpasses Lost and that most shows are not making it to the second season... And I learned that not everything is grim. Another season for Fringe! Hurray!
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I learned that all of the good shows end with half-seasons, apparently.
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Everything is nice at the beginning to convince people. After the market share increases most viewers remain faithful.
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Steven Spielberg is doing things right with Falling Skies. Yay.
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not really... there are some serious plot holes in that story and sometimes it progresses painfully slow... i just hope next season its going to be better
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"If you promise us dinosaurs, show us some f***ing dinosaurs!"

.

"We bought into Terra Nova because we thought we'd be knee-deep in dinos each week. But instead we got a teen soap and saccharine family fun with sporadic Syfy-quality special effects."



^^ I almost snort-laughed!
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I learned that if you dig a bit, you still can find pearls.
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Ooops, forgot the fantastic The Take with Tom Hardy.
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Check out the EXELLENT British shows Mad Dogs, One Night, Survivors, Outcasts, Strike Back season 1, Spooks, Kidnap and Ransom, Pillars of the Earth, Ashes to Ashes,,,just too mention a few.
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Come on, NBC didn't really renew Community. They're putting out a new show with the same title and characters. And they certainly didn't do it because they love the show or the fans. I'm not saying it won't be good, it will still likely be better than a lot of the crap on TV, but it definitely won't have the same soul. I personally would rather it have been cancelled.
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Seasons 1-3 are already very different. Noone is able to predict the outcome. I say let's see what they have to present first and *then* judge.
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totally agree. each season has been different from the one b4. Although Sony fired Harmon, the show still might be alright. its way to early to decide whether or not the show will be funny
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I've learned that there is a very good reason I don't watch a lot of television any more. I've also learned that "prime time" completely stopped being "family time", if "Once Upon a Time" is the only show I feel comfortable watching with my whole family.
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The thing for me with 2 Broke Girls, is while I do like the show, I cannot watch it every single week. It's just too much. It's about as classy as a vagina punching contest. Also, why is there a horse?! It's like the writers said, "yeah [we're] broke, but I still want a horse anyway!!"
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the horse is long gone after a few episodes. get with it.
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Did they sell it to the glue factory for rent money?
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I learned that I am now able to enjoy bad TV for the fun that it brings in being bad. I've always had trouble with enjoying bad TV (or movies), but The River finally allowed me the opportunity to enjoy and laugh and have fun watching a show I thought was fairly bad.



I also learned that my feelings for new shows before they start are improving, as they were fairly spot on this year. Homeland, Person of Interest, Awake, and The B in 23 were the four shows I looked forward to most, and all four have lived up to, or exceeded, my expectations.
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That's how I view the Cleveland Show & American Dad: not going to change the world & we all need a little smut in our lives. Sometimes it's nice not to uphold standards in a show.
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I learned the same thing that I've been learning for the past couple of seasons. Networks are dead for me, and for every other person that wants a good drama/action/scifi show, especially when cable is full of great shows and keeps adding more each year.



With House gone and Fringe ending next year (probably Supernatural too), apart from Person of Interest, in 2013-2014 I will probably not be watching any show on one of the major networks.



I don't have anything against the Comedy-and-Reality Zone that all these networks are, except they aren't for me. The last comedy that I could tolerate and like the jokes was Friends.

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For the most part, if you want to watch a good series anymore you have to watch cable. As much as I hate 10 to 13 episode long series, cable is showing the type of stuff that the networks used to air but is afraid to anymore. I'm not talking about the nudity or violence (there's always been that on cable) but real, adult shows that have good writing, very good acting, less filler (fluff) episodes per season and stories that make you want to come back the next week to view it again. Some may only last a few months (and then you have to wait 9 or more for the next season) but most are so well done that you spend the time in between in anticipation of more. When was the last time you did that for most of the stuff shown on any the networks? (Point of Interest or Lost not included)
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I posted a list of EXCELLENT english shows above. Check them out online and eeenjoy.
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Me too.
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What I learned was don't get involved in an excellent show (Awake) because it will likely end up in the same place as the garbage (because network audiences are idiots) just as it gets intriguing.
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I really thought I might end up watching Awake, after seeing so many people speak highly of it. But I'm glad I stuck with my *Boycott of New Shows that Don't Get Renewed*.
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I would still recommend you to watch Awake even though its just one season. Its the best new thing Ive seen on tv in a while and if you go in watching it like a mini series it is just fantastic. Please give it a shot, its worth it. Thank you.
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Tim ?



Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina !!!
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Yes. Very good. Well done. Now, time for your afternoon nap, sweetie.
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I'm still hoping some cable channel would pick up Awake, but that's a lost cause now I guess!



Still can't believe that Fringe is getting a 5th season!! I can almost forgive FOX for cancelling Firefly now!!
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Terra Nova was just a flop all round, turns out the audience all together was actually more targeted torwards younger familys and not the 'lost' audience.



The most horrible part for me is that they are killing off more shows replacing them with cheap comedies & reality tv shows which will stay. And networks wonder why people download the decent shows and dont even watch their channells..
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that is what I think also. Terra Nova was just awful from the get go. We were led to believe it was going to be something totally different. I like comedy but not every show. And I hate reality tv, a total wast of tv time...I am one of those people that only download my tv shows ie...Fringe, Person of intrest, Bones and the such. I don't even wait around to watch tv anymore because it has become so full of awful watching.....
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