"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

BattleStar Shining / Lost Losing

I believe I'm mostly caught up on the two network shows I follow: BattleStar Galactica and Lost. The former is having a gangbusters third season, the latter losing its edge.

It's not an easy thing to make a good network serial drama. The form demands you have 25 episodes or so, each 45 minutes long and broken up by commercials. That's a lot of chapters to fill. Network executives mess with the work in progress trying to tease out better ratings, and they're usually not looking at making a great piece of culture, just how to get more eyeballs next sweeps.

The people who work for HBO have a much easier time of it: 12 one-hour episodes with no commercials and you pretty much get to make the whole thing. Input from the parent company comes in the off-season and you've got an entity that sees the long-game of DVD sales as a big part of their margin, so they want a quality product.

That being said, it's instructive to watch what happens as one show ripens and another deteriorates.


I've sort of overcome my snobbishness on television with my love of internet video lately and basically over Thanksgiving I watched the entire corpus of Jericho episodes on the CBS web site. Up until that pre-turkey Wednesday I'd ignored it, but watched an episode and decided to give it a chance. I love post-apocalypse fiction and this seemed like a good halfway point. And they have all the episodes on the web site (RealPlayer, unfortunately), but you can skip all the commercials.

At any rate, it's a solid show, though much like Lost I'm not sure how they can keep it going for more than two seasons.

I haven't even heard of it, so I'll check it out.