After being off the air for three months, 'Prison Break' finally returned in March. But it wasn't until the big flashback episode three weeks into it that I decided I might as well come back and check it out.
I made it to the opening screen credits.
It was too late. When it came to giving a rat's ass (which I think may be one of the tattoos on Michael) about the fate of these characters, that ship had sailed. (Sorry about mixing the metaphors, but it works, mate! Rats..... ships. I guess I'm the rat who abandoned ship.)
After half a century, the American TV viewer has been conditioned to accept such a long hiatus for the summer. But when you yank a compelling, story-driven show off the air for 1/4 of its first season, how can you expect the audience to still be patiently waiting for your return? They've more than likely moved on, sampled other shows during its absence and found them to their liking.
Take 'How I Met Your Mother', for example. Actually the example isn't that great - the problem here is that I used to watch both shows on Mondays as they followed each other on opposing networks. When 'Prison Break' returned, it was scheduled to air in the same time slot as 'HIMYM'. But by that time, my allegiance was firmly in the sitcamp.
(And even that was tested by a break of several weeks at the height of a storyline!)
Another show that has suffered from constant interruptions which test an audience's loyalty is 'Lost'. And this show is so deeply involving that breaking the narrative flow as ABC has stupidly done for both seasons only gives the less committed viewer time to consider what's going on and realize it's just not worth enduring the pace of the revelations to find out the answer to the mystery.
But ABC programming chief Steve McPherson isn't deaf to the complaints of the 'Lost' viewership.
Here's an excerpt that was recently featured at The Tail Section.
McPherson wants to maintain that audience loyalty next season. He's looking at running original episodes of 'Lost' over consecutive weeks without repeats--an answer to constant fan gripes.
"I like the idea of people knowing that 'Lost' is on and is going to be on in originals for a long period, then have it take a break and put something else in there," he says. "Whether that's a January through May run or a big installment in the fall and another post-January, I'm not sure yet. But we're definitely considering it."
They still don't fully grasp it yet, but it's a start. The concept of the TV schedule is outdated, you stupid suits! The fans have been telling you that they don't want any break! Forget about the mandated Sweeps period. Make arrangements with Nielsen and the advertisers for alternate time periods in which to measure the size of the audience.
Just because a show begins in September (and that was only chosen in the old days because new cars were unveiled in that month) doesn't mean you have to stretch out its run to make it to May. Nobody wants to see Shannon shot dead one week and then Sayid and Shannon making out
Like I said, it's too late for me and 'Prison Break'. I'll just keep track by reading the entries at epguides.com. And if I feel it was compelling enough that I should have been watching, well, I'll just wait until it's released on DVD and see if Netflix is carrying it.
But who's got that time to spend on re-living the past if you're not already in solitary confinement?