Does a series’ ultimate failure negate a great pilot?

I hope everyone enjoyed the Awake pilot last night (or over the past few weeks, thanks to NBC releasing it online fairly early). If you haven’t read my review, please consider doing that. But amid all the beaming reviews and superlatives for Awake, big questions remain: Is it a series? Can the story be maintained … Continue reading Does a series’ ultimate failure negate a great pilot?

Talking about television is not ruining television

When you run in certain circles online or follow a bunch of people in the same field on Twitter, certain events or pieces become “things.” Over the last 36 hours, the “thing” has been Ryan McGee’s piece about The Sopranos and the HBO model’s impact on television narrative. McGee’s well-reasoned and detailed piece created a … Continue reading Talking about television is not ruining television

The value of work: On the success and appeal of labor-centric reality programs

Over the holidays, I spent a substantial amount of time watching television with my parents (as you do). My parents don’t have the most refined television tastes (and they’ll be the first to admit it), but I was surprised to see that some of the obnoxious reruns of CSI: Miami they used to watch all … Continue reading The value of work: On the success and appeal of labor-centric reality programs

Character depth welcome: On why White Collar is far and away USA Network’s best series

You may or may not know this, but I am in the midst of completing my MA thesis on USA Network and the “Characters Welcome” brand campaign (among other things). I say this to point out that I have spent a good deal of time with USA Network’s slate of programming over the past year … Continue reading Character depth welcome: On why White Collar is far and away USA Network’s best series

“We’ve had a really bad fall” (and decade): On the fatal flaw of NBC’s development strategy and defeatist thinking

Note: This post is a longer (but barely) and hopefully more coherent version of my tweet explosion from Friday night. With the annual winter Television Critics Association Press Tour coming to an end and many of the season’s mid-season premieres here or right around the corner, I wanted to take a little time and talk … Continue reading “We’ve had a really bad fall” (and decade): On the fatal flaw of NBC’s development strategy and defeatist thinking

Love to hate, hate to love: On contemporary comedy’s reliance on bickering

Yesterday during the ABC Wednesday comedy showrunners panel at the Television Critics Association gathering, Modern Family honcho Steve Levitan made a comment about how he would like to see the “far right” to not like his series’ two gay characters, Mitchell and Cameron. The implication from Levitan’s statement being that everyone has to love Mitchell … Continue reading Love to hate, hate to love: On contemporary comedy’s reliance on bickering

Just be funny: On why Happy Endings is the new Friends and how it’s hard to express that

One of the primary byproducts of today’s brand of online television criticism is the things that get left behind. Of course, there are literally thousands of programs airing right now that aren’t covered by the great, popular critics. There is only so much time in the day and clearly, television criticism has its aims, has … Continue reading Just be funny: On why Happy Endings is the new Friends and how it’s hard to express that

Guided by Moments: On Watching How I Met Your Mother in its Elder Years

How I Met Your Mother is one of those series that I watch every week, but never find time or inspiration to write about here on TV Surveillance. I don’t feel the frustration that some people do and I also don’t feel the overwhelming support and connection to the series. This is probably because I … Continue reading Guided by Moments: On Watching How I Met Your Mother in its Elder Years

Community “Benched” — Why NBC isn’t the ultimate bad guy

NBC sucks. This is something that you all pretty much know. The feathers are off the proverbial Peacock. The once-powerful network has been suffering an extended ratings nadir for nearly a decade and if you take a look at this recent New York Times piece, there are few good signs to pick out among the … Continue reading Community “Benched” — Why NBC isn’t the ultimate bad guy

Quality television-by-the-numbers: On AMC’s continued misguided laziness

This is not a review for the pilot episode of Hell on Wheels. You see because I don’t think I could barely muster up more than 150 words about that initial offering. At the pilot stage, Hell on Wheels is dull, sloppy, clunky and generally trying to do way too many different things without accomplishing … Continue reading Quality television-by-the-numbers: On AMC’s continued misguided laziness

Chuck Versus the Final Season: Four things the series needs to do to make the final season great

It is hard for me to say this, but Chuck has been a disappointment. I’m well aware of the high expectations everyone had for the series after fans, critics and randos on Twitter decided that they wanted to spread the word and eat a bunch of Subway sandwiches. When you feel like you personally helped … Continue reading Chuck Versus the Final Season: Four things the series needs to do to make the final season great

Compelled, not connected: On my lack of emotional connection to Boardwalk Empire (and why it doesn’t matter)

I don’t know about you folks, but to like a television program, I have to feel some connection to the characters in that program. I don’t necessarily have to adore every lead or cry when a character gets murdered, but I almost always have to care, in some way. Clearly everyone is different and what … Continue reading Compelled, not connected: On my lack of emotional connection to Boardwalk Empire (and why it doesn’t matter)

Investigating Community’s alternate timeline possibilites

Last night's episode of Community, "Remedial Chaos Theory" was an all-timer. The reviews for the complex, complicated alternate timeline-centric episode are all super positive (including my own) and most of those folks who were worried about the series' quality have reaffirmed their commitment. The episode was awesome, I'm glad that the fans are calming down … Continue reading Investigating Community’s alternate timeline possibilites