TV Bites With
Sweep it Away!
by Neena Louise
Once again we are in the depths of that wretched
Gimmickfest called Sweeps that heralds the season's end and ushers in summer's
TV Wasteland. As the season winds down, I am outraged by the pathetically short
season, and can't believe the gall of the networks that are bragging endlessly
about "four new back-to-back episodes" of various shows. Since when is
this something to brag about? Since when are new episodes such an anomaly
in a current season that it's something to crow about? Since greed took over
quality, that's when.
It seems that new episodes were run ONLY
during Sweeps this season - that's only three months (and since when is sweeps
THREE times a year??? It used to be only TWO) out of 12 - a quarter of the year
- half the number of episodes there should be. And then everyone is surprised by
the huge, mega-success of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. Oh, c'mon! It's
something new every night and a show that will never disappoint the viewer with
a rerun. Of course it's a hit! Duh.
It is with relief, however, that Gimmicks Month is
less gimmicky than usual (though what the HELL was that stupid X-Files
episode???). No 3-D. No "spot the mistakes" embarrassments. No
explosions. No exploitive deaths. Curiously, though, weddings and miniseries
seem to be a theme. Has anyone seen a "wedding episode" that was
anything less than dull and/or outrageously unbelievable? Or a good miniseries
since Roots (observe the 10-hour snorefest The 10th Kingdom)? I
This was absolutely the worst TV season I've ever
experienced - more commercials, fewer first-run episodes, and more hype than a
viewer can stand. It's no wonder I've spent more money on movie rentals than
ever before. My television has become merely a conveyance for movies, rather
than the broadcast television I once couldn't live without. Are you listening,
Network Suits? You can't tell me you can't afford to make more/better quality
episodes and still line your pockets with zillions of dollars.
Here are some highlights of the 1999-2000
television season (I'm not including May's Sweeps episodes, because
season-enders don't count as "good television"; they are simply
"make megabucks" television and I won't justify their existence with
- The death of Lucy on ER (and a good, good riddance to her...I never
thought a single actor/character could bring an ensemble show down, but,
well, Kellie Martin accomplished it with ease).
- The auditorium scene in the "Hush" episode of Buffy the
Vampire Slayer (absolutely hilarious - and without a single word of
- Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? (and the subsequent
unending stories of that dumb blonde hypocrite Darva Conger and egomaniac
Rick Rockwell...oh, what have we sunk to?)
- The Drew Carey Show's "spot the mistakes" and "whose
line is it" Sweeps episodes (some of the worst television I've ever
Shows I wish hadn't been cancelled:
- Freaks and Geeks
- Stark Raving Mad
Shows I wish WOULD be cancelled:
- Whose Line is it Anyway
- Third Watch
- Ladies Man
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Shows I predict WILL be canceled:
- Spin City (it's nothing without Michael J. Fox)
- The Drew Carey Show (I think it's run its course)
- Greed (and all the other mega-buck quiz show Millionaire copycats)
Trends that must stop:
- Talking cats, dogs, lizards, frogs, babies and all other things that
don't normally talk (enough already!).
- "Reality" (it is to laugh) shows
All in all, a bad season. Spectacularly bad. I'm hoping the
fall (which seems soooo far away) will bring better things.
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!