Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The ratings are the hardest part

In last week's issue of Entertainment Weekly they listed the overall ratings for the entire 2007-08 TV season.

Out of the hundreds of shows that aired, I watched... 16. And out of 160 positions (although many slots have shows that tied, so it's more than 160 shows), I only watched two in the top 25.

And while that clearly indicates I am out of step with what is popular in this country, entertainment-wise, and that should certainly indicate that when it comes to TV my opinion is not worth reading, below I list those shows.

In an effort to compromise, I offer only a brief note about each, which you can use as a gauge to see whether your tastes are similar, and thus whether you should regard any of my opinions on anything. Ever.

Anyway... Let's begin:

19 - Heroes (not very good--of course, I wasn't all that impressed with the first season either, to be completely honest; unless next season starts strong I'll easily find something else to do at 9 on Mondays)

25 - The Amazing Race (this I merely started watching because my fiancée was, but it pulled me in)

34 - Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (actually pretty decent)

43 - Bionic Woman (could have been good... but was not)

50 - Ugly Betty (novelty wore off by season's end)

59 - Chuck (this I didn't expect much of, and it proved surprisingly worthwhile; reminded me of the action-comedies on USA)

64 - How I Met Your Mother (not as strong as earlier seasons but still had its moments)

64 - Family Guy (we completely gave up on this before the end of the season; wasn't funny)

73 - The Office (they pulled off a good season even with Jim and Pam getting together)

73 -The Simpsons (stronger than last season; its heyday has clearly passed, but I'll still take it over most of what has ever aired on TV)

83 - My Name Is Earl
(not something I'd record, but still a good show when I was home for it)

102 - 30 Rock
(best new show of the past couple years)

122 - Monk
(consistently good but not great)

139 - Psych
(not as strong as Monk, but a worthwhile follow-up for that time slot)

150 - Everybody Hates Chris (somehow the CW marketing folks need to convince everyone this isn't just a "black" show)

155 - Aliens in America (I knew it had no chance of surviving, but it deserved a better chance than it got--I mean, the CW has the audacity to air Farmer Wants a Wife, and they gave up on this)

(I suppose I must note that:
11 - Grey's Anatomy
was on while I was in the room on numerous occasions, but to say I watched it is giving it too much credit)

However, in a world where The Moment of Truth finished at 13, is it not likely that TV as an art form is on its way out?

Perhaps by watching so little TV I am merely preparing myself for the time when it's completely unwatchable. (It's so rare that I'm on the cutting edge of anything. I'm not sure I can handle this.)


  1. You don't seem to like most of the shows you watch. Why do you watch TV?

  2. A few things to note...

    a) To put everything into context, add the sourceline used from the EW article. The ranking they used was SEVERELY flawed. This speaks volumes - well, to TV Research geeks like me. They ranked shows based on (000), when Adults 18-49 is the hot target. Everything would shift. Except American Idol.

    b) Moment of Truth followed the American Idol juggernaut, so it benefitted from leftover, possibly passive AI viewers. Now that MOT is positioned on Tuesdays without a worthwhile lead-in, it's failing. Fast.

    c) Monk & Psych were repurposed from their original run on USA. Only 4 eps ran - they should not have been included in the rank (EW's problem, not yours), especially since those two shows rank among cable's top 5 shows season after season.

    g)Most noteworthy are the shows with a high DVR index (they get a boost in ratings data, once they account for viewers who watch within 7 days of air). However, ad agencies buy based on Live data, not DVR (or L+7, L+SameDay, or Commerical-3 data). The majority of your picks fall into this "hot" category (in the company of tastemakers).

    f) Again, I am a frakking nerd.

  3. Tracy-

    D is actively excited when watching the majority of these shows. I don't know why he wrote about them with such apathy (except Family Guy - it's pure shite). Remind me to tell you about drum solos and re-enactments. : )

  4. I was only critical of 4 of the 16; that's still 75% I actively enjoyed. Clearly I did a crappy job of indicating that in my parenthetical notes, but that's what happens when I act on impulse and write spontaneously.

    I should have played up the incongruity of me being with someone who is so involved with TV and how little of it I watch.

    But why do I watch TV? Because it's there.

    That, my friends, is the American way.


So, what do you think?