Friday, October 9, 2009

Return of the Chuck: How NBC Will Probably Ruin It

So with all the excitement over at about Chuck's possible earlier return, a lot of good points have been brought up that are very important to Chuck's long term success rather than Chuck coming back as soon as possible.

a) Promotion.
If they suddenly bring Chuck back either because of Southland's recent cancellation or if they cancel the under-performing new series Trauma (or the cancellation that it deserves but hasn't gotten yet for Heroes), there will be next to no time to properly promote the series. Chuck has a loyal following, yes, but if Chuck is to actually succeed (especially in NBC's current fail!environment with very little to offer viewers aside from their comedy block and the handful of people who want to watch Jay Leno every night and the people like my roommate who are Law & Order addicts), it needs to build up an even stronger following of new and curious viewers. Chuck is a great show that can appeal to a whole host of viewers. It's a spy comedy drama with geeks and hot girls alike, episodic and large arcs alike, interesting main characters and a great ensemble, and it's just very likeable and accessible in many ways. But if it doesn't get the proper promotion, if there isn't at least a couple weeks of build up before it gets brought back, it'll get trashed and then we probably won't even manage to see more than a handful of episodes ever again.

b) Timeslot.
Chuck's old timeslot of 8pm on Mondays (when it would lead into Heroes) is now occupied by Heroes. And while Heroes totally deserves cancellation after a dismal third season and a limping fourth, this time slot would KILL as it has, amongst other things, HOUSE to compete with. And House, although I personally have been getting bored with it, still gets excellent viewership. If Trauma got cancelled, 9pm wouldn't be quite so bad a time, but the challenge that CBS' Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory present might be too much, especially since Chuck, as half comedy, would be interested in drawing the same crowd. As for other potential timeslots, the originally intended spot for Southland, on Fridays, would also completely demolish any chance Chuck has at continuing beyond this fall. The best option I heard in the comments was to shorten The Biggest Loser to a one hour show and put Chuck in on Tuesdays.

The main problem that Chuck has is that NBC came dangerously close to not renewing it at all before and give them even a split second's doubt that Chuck can sustain decent numbers and I have absolutely NO faith in NBC's capacity to give Chuck another chance. It took a lot of effort to bring it back for March and although I love Chuck and I would love for it to return sooner, if bringing it back in fall means that either it won't get enough promotion or that it'll end up in a poor timeslot then I would much rather wait until March when it would have a real chance at a future.

Mostly this all goes back to an overall disappointment with NBC. Now, personally, I don't watch anything on NBC anymore except for Community. I know people who watch The Office and 30 Rock, of course, but are any of the scripted dramas on that network any good? Heroes has gotten so bad that even a devout fan like me has given up. And everything else on there is either medical (Trauma, Mercy) or law (Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU) shows. More and more is the Jay Leno Show looking like the stupidest idea ever, cutting out the chance for so many new shows to get a chance, proving that NBC has absolutely no faith in giving shows a chance. And when their most critically acclaimed (and pretty decently viewed) shows is about to return (I'm talking about Southland, which I never saw, but heard only good things about), they cut it out completely. Yeah, it's too dark for the 9pm time slot? Then stop with the madness of Jay Leno five times a week! Sure, it's cheaper, but that just makes your network that much cheaper. As evidenced by Tina Fey's acceptance speech for 30 Rock at the Emmys, even NBC's most stable show has absolutely no respect for the network anymore.

Oh how far the mighty hath fallen.

Oh, and NBC? If you DARE to cancel Chuck before its time, I will join the army of angry fans in setting your studio on fire. You know it'll happen. Stop being pussydicks (excuse my crudeness), and start showing some real television.

PS: If you haven't experienced Chuck, do it. And don't give up if you can't get into the first season. While the first season is definitely good, in my opinion, the show really finds its pace as the second season progresses, and morphs into a truly great television show.

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