Tag Archives: Supernatural

Warehouse 13 – “Magnetism”

Warehouse13Title

“Magnetism”

July 21st, 2009

In choosing to blog about Warehouse 13 of the past few nights’ television lineups, I don’t want you to think I prefer it to any of them: I quite liked the third episode of Hung, preferred the second episode of Entourage’s sixth season to the premiere, thought last night’s Weeds and Nurse Jackie were decent and laughed a whole lot at tonight’s Better Off Ted. However, none of those things were particularly surprising, and Warehouse 13 is a show still trying to find its legs and thus somewhat more unique in terms of analysis.

While I thought “Resonance” was a really winning turn for the series, “Magnetism” starts to show some holes in the show’s premise. It’s clear why they aired episodes out of order in order to be able to go with the dramatic and compelling story of the world’s most powerful pop song as opposed to, say, an episode about a piece of furniture. In the same vein as the show’s pilot, which dragged in its mystery, this week’s episode has them searching for what’s causing some strange behaviour, a trope that is only as interesting as the behaviour itself considering that the object will remain a MacGuffin.

In the end, I thought “Magnetism” was ultimately quite charming, integrating enough humour into the storyline itself to overcome its seriousness. There’s a serious contrast going on with this show, where some rather broad (but entertaining) comedy emerges in storylines that are actually quite serious in their ramifications. The action demonstrated that the show could become tedious in its procedural plotting, especially if they repeat themselves too often, but the comedy and the relationship between characters was really strong, and inspired me to actually kind of like the episode despite some of my concerns over its tone.

It shows that the show continues to win the war, regardless of the battle at hand, which is a pretty good endorsement at this stage in its run.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Warehouse 13

Upfronts Analysis: The CW 2009-2010 Fall Schedule

UpfrontsCW

The CW 2009-2010 Fall Schedule

May 21st, 2009

Everyone likes to point to NBC as a network in crisis, and I really can’t contest that point; however, while Jay Leno may be a bad plan, it is at least actually a plan. The CW, by comparison, has been floundering for the past few years and has no strategy to really change that fact. Each year seems to be as much of a struggle as the last: while a few flagship programs perform well, and the network has more cultural awareness than one would expect considering the anemic ratings, there is something wholly dissatisfying about a network which identifies itself either entirely based on demographics or, worse of all, based on repeating its current (non-)success ad nauseum.

This results in a schedule summed up beautifully by Lilly Hill in yesterdays CBS Upfronts edition of the TV on the Internet podcast: “It sucks.” After giving away Sunday nights to the affiliates, and not even programming one half of Friday nights, it’s a schedule that lacks this past season’s one promising new addition, gets rid of the principle of comedy entirely, and one which offers little in new or exciting ventures for advertisers or viewers to be excited about. NBC may be struggling, but one feels as if their lineup for the upcoming year at least combines an awareness of critical opinion, audience patterns, and future programming oppotunities.

My comparison, it appears The CW has actually let its core demographic of teenage girls create their schedule through rigged focus groups designed to give them the answers they want, and not the answers they really need.

Full schedule and analysis after the jump.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Upfronts

Upfronts Analysis: The CW 2008-2009 Fall Schedule

“Scheduling, 90210″

The CW 2008-2009 Fall Schedule

Say what you will about The CW’s second year, but it will be remembered as a general failure in the eyes of most analysts. There was just something about its lineup that fell apart, and no one really knows why: Gossip Girl has been one of the most buzzed about shows on television, the network had two strong pilots in Aliens in America and Reaper, and it seemed as if for once things were going well for Dawn Ostroff. Then, however, everything fell apart: Gossip Girl has been an on-air failure compared to its internet traffic, its reality shows have been absolute busts, and its comedies have struggled mightily.

So, heading into its third year, The CW is taking off the gloves and looking to make a mark on television again. The result is a combination of blatant attempts to rekindle old television glory, further branding their audience based on the teenage girls who make Gossip Girl buzzworthy, and a few bones to critics to prove that the network isn’t in as much of a state of flux as we know they are. The result is something that seems oddly familiar, and The CW only hopes the results aren’t familiar as well.

The New Shows

90210 – Tuesdays at 8pm

It is inevitable that I will be watching this series, even after Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Cupid) moved on to his other two pilots (Neither of which has been finalized due to ABC’s decision to largely keep pilot decisions until midseason) and left it in the hands of other people. It has cast members I want to see, particularly the fantastic Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) as the Matriarch, and I’m a sucker for teen dramas.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under The CW

A Brief Hey! Nielsen Update

Hey everyone,

I might get to Pushing Daisies tonight, but it’s a hectic week and I don’t have all that much to say about the episode. What I want to focus on instead is an email I just got from Steve at Hey! Nielsen. After our Sound Off! Week came to a bit of an abrupt end when I pretty much ran out of time, I didn’t get a chance to properly address some issues. One of these was just how fantastic they are about making changes to their system to better reflect actual activity.

In the short term, these are a risky proposition for the Hey! Nielsen crew: they result in decreases in the scores of shows, which angers the fans who have put their efforts into the site. However, they’re about long term sustainability: remembering that this isn’t just a month-long installation, but rather a site that is intended to make an impact for years ahead, this is an important step in that direction.

In this case, Steve revealed two important things:

  • That recent activity is valued more than past activity. In other words, rather than cramming all of your efforts into one day and bursting to the top, it will take a continued presence on the site (Let’s say one opinion a week) to really make a long-term impact. This means that there is incentive for people visiting on a regular basis. This could cause more spamming, more often, but I am hoping that people refrain from this.
  • That although they won’t reveal the exact formula (It’s the internet’s own Caramilk Secret), they can confirm that Reactions, which were where fans of Jericho and Supernatural were seeing people responding negatively out of spite, do not have a huge impact. In fact, they never have, and it has actually been adjusted further.

These two things are great for fans: on the one hand they provide a great deal of incentive, and on the other hand they downplay the negative nellies who ruined the experience for some fans of shows like the Dresden Files, Jericho or Supernatural. It creates a much more positive environment, which I think should help the long-term sustainability of the site.

And speaking of long-term, there’s no more long-term in the TV Blog Contest, which ends tonight. So if you want to get in a last minute vote for Cultural Learnings, it would be most appreciated!

Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Entry – Cultural Learnings

6 Comments

Filed under Hey! Nielsen

Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – Is it Making a Difference?

I have to apologize for not being able to post yesterday: I’m currently working with the students’ union as part of some pre-faculty strike preparations, so that took up a great deal of my time. As a result, I’m going to set us back a few days and finish this series on Sunday with some final recommendations. But, before I head out for the weekend, I want to leave what I think are some of the most important statements that Jericho and Supernatural fans made to me in their responses.

The reality is that Hey! Nielsen is a social networking site with a purpose: to better inform the Nielsen Company and their advertisers/partners about what parts of television, movies, etc. are most popular. The site is sold as a way to take the example of Jericho’s fandom to the next level, and this is why Jericho and Supernatural fans rushed to the new medium.

But the problem that the site faces is that it has no proof (as of this writing) that this is actually making a difference. There is no tangible return on their involvement: they spend a week pouring their hearts out about their favourite show, but did that make a difference? And, if it didn’t, why should they bother with this site when they’re already posting on message boards or on LiveJournal in the same fashion?

I know that the site doesn’t purport to have a direct impact on Nielsen ratings, but I think that the “purpose” of the site has led to a great deal of disinterest in its development. It’s one thing to post on a message board, such as the CBS Jericho Message Boards: you know you’re making a difference, but you have no illusion of your post being read by Nina Tassler and for Jericho to receive a third season order in the process.

But when you post on Hey! Nielsen, there is that illusion: that, in some way, being #1 on this site could be a breakthrough for your fandom. But then nothing happens: Supernatural’s ratings haven’t seen any sort of spike, Jericho doesn’t have a timeslot yet, and the Dresden Files (Newcomers to the Hey! Nielsen game, and to this blog. Welcome!) still remains canceled. People see this and, for obvious reasons, start to wonder if it was all a waste of time.

What Hey! Nielsen needs to do now is give its users at least some sense that someone is listening: I don’t care if it’s a PR letter from the head of the Nielsen Company, the first in its user-led focus groups being announced, or something to prove that they’re paying attention. A social networking site that purports to being a megaphone for fans to extend their views to a more important audience is a novel concept, but there needs to be some reciprocity in the relationship.

For now, here are what Jericho and Supernatural Fans thought of the site’s future differences, read below. If you have your own thoughts from the perspective of another fan group, let us know in the comments below!

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One Week Later: Hey! Nielsen Reflections

Okay, so this is jumping the gun on the week part a little, but the television week has essentially come to a close as of today. With it comes the end of a hectic and exciting public beta launch of Hey! Nielsen, where Television, Movies, Internet Sites and Celebrities are lauded, criticized and given a rating defining their popularity. It has been a week of growing pains, “spamming,” and a whole host of issues (good and bad) rising to the surface.

First, I want to thank the crew behind Hey! Nielsen for being quick to answer queries, easy to relate to, and willing to engage their audience. The future of the site hinges on a combination of our feedback and your willingness to accept it, and I have been wholly impressed on this front, as has been reflective of the coverage here at Cultural Learnings.

Cultural Learnings’ Hey! Nielsen Coverage

That being said, I want to address some of the issues that have popped up. And no, this isn’t me complaining about the lack of love for Cultural Learnings’ own entry: I’d like to thank everyone who has voted or commented, I really appreciate it. However, Rich over at Copywrite Ink. has written a very insightful piece about the problems the site is currently facing, and I want to refer to and expand on his argument:

“It took less than a day for fans to see what Hey! Nielsen really is — a social network that asks “users” (a word that is well past its prime) to pile into the school gymnasium and have a shouting match. Those with the biggest lungs win. And those with the most outrageous comments get the most attention.”

The distinction I want to make here is that what Rich says here is an accurate description of the way Hey! Nielsen is currently operating…but this is not how it has been designed. I think that the problems Hey! Nielsen is currently facing are due to the fundamental difference between how they imagined the system being used and how it is actually being used.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Television

A Friendly Warning to Supernatural and Jericho Fans Re: Hey! Nielsen

Over the first day of the public beta stage of Hey! Nielsen, the ratings company’s new online social networking site, there emerged a trend of sorts: mainly, two TV Series emerging from the pack to dominate the popularity charts. Those two series? Supernatural and Jericho.

In the case of Supernatural, the series has performed admirably in the toughest timeslot on television (Thursdays at 9pm), but is facing a new challenge this year: it is now in direct competition with NBC’s The Office, a huge hit amongst younger viewers. Perhaps anticipating this move, fans are banding together with sites like Supernatural Underground to make sure that their show gets the appreciation they believe it observes.

Jericho fans, as I’ve documented in the past, are fighting to keep the promotion of their series going while its 7-episode order awaits a spot on CBS’ schedule. They’re currently dealing with some internal struggles, but there remains a group devoted to promoting the show to new fans and ensuring that the series has a future on television.

And the devotion of both of these fan groups is palpable: they are #1 and #2 respectively on the Hey! Nielsen website. However, as much as I respect and honour the dedication of these groups of fans, I want to warn them that as with any other social networking there is a distinct possibility that some of this support may backfire. And, although I would never attempt to tell anyone what to do, I want to make a suggestion.

On a message board, there’s a general rule that if there’s a thread of discussion open about something, you should comment there as opposed to starting your own. This becomes more subjective when it comes to “Opinions” as Hey! Nielsen labels them, but I think it applies in this instance as well. Within both of the above camps there has been opinions which are nearly identical, but are posted separately.

This creates more opinions, yes, but also more backlash from the outside community: there are people who are deliberately going into opinions about these two shows and reacting negatively against them purely due to volume. There’s even an opinion on the subject from someone who enjoys the show (And has been involved in developing the site) regarding the overpopulation of Jericho Opinions.

Can Jericho Fans Talk About Anything Else? – Hey! Nielsen

And while I think that the point could have been made in a slightly less antagonistic fashion, I agree with her: I think there are too many opinions about Jericho, and Supernatural for that matter. This is supposed to be about promotion, but it is losing the key aspects of a strong promotional drive.

Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Jericho, Supernatural, Television