Monday, August 14, 2017

The Dying Breed of Multi-Camera Comedies

I thought that I would post this sooner rather than later as this is more time sensitive than a person might realize. Otherwise, this could be lost in a heap of planned, future blog posts that might not happen until you realize that these comedies are gone. I may have to remind you more about this before I go any further, so I think that I will.

A multi-camera comedy is one that is basically defined nowadays as one where you would hear laughter in the background while you watch where a single camera comedy, the only other major type in terms of live action comedies, typically do not have laughter in the background. There are tons of other differences besides that, but that is what it boils down to in today’s world.

First, I’ll remind you that there used to be this huge way of doing animation with hand calling it cell animation. This was not only the most popular form of animation; it was the only form that would be used. Mult-camera comedies were the same way too. Cell animation is largely a thing of the past with a few shows remaining like that from before the transition and almost nothing new made that way after CGI took over. Indeed, I’m pretty sure that the last originally American made movie to use cell animation was Winnie the Pooh back in 2011, although I'm not entirely sure if I'm right about it.

Why is cell animation a good comparison? Well, let’s just talk about how much multi-camera comedies affected all the others. The laughter in the background was used in every comedy. Even all the animated ones would use it. Then, a slow domino affected started happening. The Simpsons became the first show to use neither a live studio audience nor a laugh track. Then the original, British version of The Office went without it, which made sense as it was filmed like it was a reality show. An American show called Malcolm in the Middle followed suit. Then, every comedy show filmed with only one camera never made use of a laugh track or live studio audience.

How much did this affect TV? Let’s look at what it has already done. When the WB was a network, there was a mixture of multi-camera and single-camera comedies. After it became the CW, it lost all of its comedies unless you count Whose Line is it Anyways? They have aired hour long shows that they call comedies that, of course, don’t have laughter in the background. NBC has almost no comedies anymore. Their last multi-camera one was cancelled this summer leaving only single-camera ones. This is the network that went from multi-camera hits like Frasier, Seinfeld, and Friends to single-camera ones like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and Community.

One time, FOX had a new TV season where they had two new comedies. Their single-camera comedy, New Girl, became a hit and a success. Their multi-camera one called I Hate My Teenage Daughter was a disaster and cancelled. They have not done a multi-camera comedy since, except for Dads. This is interesting as the network’s first primetime hit was a multi-camera comedy, Married with Children. ABC started having tons of single-camera comedies and cancelled the only remaining multi-camera comedies that they had for seemingly no good reason.

This leaves CBS as the last network to dissect. They have had tons of multi-camera comedies and still do. In fact, if you were a single-camera comedy on this network, you were as good as dead by the end of the season if not sooner. Then Life in Pieces flipped the script and they are doing more single-camera comedies this coming season. It is currently the only network to still have any multi-camera comedies on the air of the major networks and possibly any network, although it is likely that Disney channel or other networks like that have something like it nowadays.

There is good reason why people may not like laughter in the background of comedies that they watch anymore. People have been wanting The Big Bang Theory to stop using a laugh track even though it never has used that (they use a live studio audience). But people are tending to prefer to just watch a show and decide on their own when they should laugh. The main reason why killing canned laughter as it is sometimes called is a good idea is that people are less likely to notice a comedy is bad that way. They are also more likely to watch a sitcom for a reason other than its humor or attempts at it. The reason that there was more hatred for bad shows like Dr. Ken and The Odd Couple was probably the canned laughter and the bad sitcoms that don’t use them may get more of a free pass.

Honestly, I don’t think that there is much else to say outside of this closing paragraph. There could be no more canned laughter in TV shows in the future. It could disappear the way cell animation did. And if it does, you read it here first.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

On the Declining Use of Reruns

Maybe you like reruns. Maybe you hate them. Maybe you are indifferent to them. Maybe you care if you do and don’t if you don’t. Maybe you have mixed feelings. Maybe you like them only if you haven’t seen them before. But talking about primetime alone, you realize that reruns are starting to become a thing of the past.

You know how nowadays, you typically see one show go on hiatus to be replaced by some other show in the meantime? That helps get rid of reruns since there wouldn’t have been any time to show them at. If there weren’t an alternative show shown during the hiatus of another, then this wouldn’t be an issue. But it is and that means less reruns if there are any at all.

Typically, the summer was the only time that you’d see reruns of shows. This is still the case with some lucky shows. But it is not the case with all shows. And it is not the case with all networks either. I don’t know if there is anything that NBC reruns during the summer outside of whatever summer shows they might air. Tons of shows that are renewed for next season don’t even rerun during the summer in favor of new episodes of new shows.

While syndicated repeats will always be a thing, they are not in primetime where reruns used to be a more regular thing. Now sometimes you’ll see a network abandon a timeslot to air reruns of a show or various other shows in that place instead. That doesn’t happen too much, but it does happen enough that it is worth pointing out that reruns do still air. But like I said, this only happened when new shows have been cancelled and any real replacement has been abandoned for however so long in favor of this encore programming.

I don’t know if there’s anything else worth mentioning in this post. Reruns are becoming less common in the primetime hours of the day at least. They still show up occasionally, but they still can get replaced by various specials or other strange things. I guess we’ll see if reruns stop happening in primetime except for rare occasions when nothing would make sense in that timeslot.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stupid Stuff TV Networks Do and Keep Doing

There are dumb things that it seems that networks do every single year and you’ll have to wonder when or if they will stop doing that. You’ll have to wonder why they keep doing dumb things that they do. What are any of them? Well, I might as well tell you.

New things air on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday every single year. Not only that, but it seems like there is always a series finale or at least season finale on one or both of those days. I don’t get why they always do this as if it is a normal day with nothing unusual going on.

Something that I really get annoyed by in some cases is when they don’t air all of a show. That does make sense since a show with terrible ratings isn’t going to get anything good by sticking around. But it can be really annoying being a fan of a show and not ever getting to see all the episodes unless you somehow manage to get a bootlegged version online or something because it never airs or is released in any other format to watch. Do you know how much it sucks to not know what will happen on Time after Time? But the rest of it will never air.

It isn’t just CBS to sometimes air things with tape delay, but since they are the most regular offenders than I just have to wonder why they are even airing football, basketball, fucking golf, or other various sports before primetime. Due to a controversy that happened one time, networks will almost always air a sport event to its completion, throwing off the rest of the schedule that we all care about. Why would they do that with us? Is airing football that good that you are always delaying your shows that air after this? Why must you do this to us? In today's internet world, you can learn the scores of games online. But I guess that doesn't matter compared to shows starting at a prompt and regular time every Sunday.

Sometimes there are just so many scheduling choices that don’t make sense. NBC a few years back aired a whole bunch of Dateline all at once instead of anything else that they could have. A lot of shows have dumb airdates such as early summer burn offs on one network and shows airing late into the summer from the main season. A modern day travesty that you see on most networks is shows going on hiatus for a long time. This messes with the ratings of it and things are of course messed up because of it.

Well, I’m sure there’s a whole lot more to talk about besides this, but you can typically tell when networks are making bad decisions and whether or not they have done that before. You can add more if you want to because I know that I missed a lot.