Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No, it's the people...

I was watching TV last night and I caught what may be the last episodes of Kitchen Confidential and Arrested Development. Kitchen Confidential is produced by Darren Star, best known for Sex in the City. The pilot held some promise, the cast was good, but the writing just never took off. Most of the meat from Anthony Bourdain's best-seller that the show was based on - was not there. The moral lesson voiceover at the end of most episodes was also annoying (sort of like a vulgar One to Grow On). Last night's episode - in which the head waitress sleeps with the rival chef of the main character (Bradley Cooper playing Jack Bourdain), you got the feeling the writers were getting desperate. You could almost hear the group of writers nervously pitch their ideas to the FOX execs before the ax fell "more sex! people are bound to tune in if we promise them more sex - and more sight gags!"

At the end, Kitchen Confidential deserves a dignified death. I'm still hoping for the movie version of Bourdain's book with David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) directing.

It's with a heavy heart that Arrested Development goes. Seriously, there is no reason FOX needs to pull this show. If FOX can find a room for The War at Home, they can find a home for Arrested Development. While the show doesn't do well rating-wise, it certainly isn't a ratings bust. In addition, AD brings in a ton of positive press from fan devotees and critics to FOX. Its season collection DVD collections sell well, bringing in more revenue to FOX. It also practically guarantees a few Emmy nods for Comedy for FOX. Can The War at Home do that for the network?

It's true that Rupert Murdoch deserves a special suite in the sixth circle of hell for unleashing FOX News, but FOX broadcasting isn't entirely to blame for Arrested Development's demise. When the show was on regular rotation (before baseball season and Prison Break), FOX advertised the show as well as The Simpsons and House. The show received plenty of publicity for its quality from the print and Web media.

Frankly, the failure of Arrested Development lies with *gulp* viewers. As powerful as the networks are, they cannot force us to watch According to Jim, Stacked and The Swan. FOX had a great series out there for almost two years. People were given ample time to warm up to it. Sadly, like Freaks and Geeks, people simply chose the simpler sitcoms.

I watched Good Night, and Good Luck a few weeks ago. Looking at the broadcasts in the movie and studying Murrow's broadcasts in the 50s, it stunned me how much intelligence and focus were in those news broadcasts. The vocabulary and complexity of some of the news broadcasts would never fly for today's nightly news broadcasts from the major networks. At the same time, the TV shows of that era did not have near the sophistication of shows like Arrested Development, 24 and Lost, so you can't look back on the era of Murrow as an era of lost intellectualism. Some networks, like FX and IFC, reward viewers with quality programming, and viewers reward them back by tuning in regularly. Let's home that Arrested Development finds a home on such a network.

Current listening selections
De La Soul - 3 Feet igh and Rising
U2 - Zooropa
Sigur Ros - Takk


Post a Comment

<< Home