I think the scripted shows that networks have in the can are nearly eliminated. Sure, there are a couple of extra episode here and there that are going to be aired in the coming weeks (NBC is throwing up the last two filmed episodes of Chuck next Thursday).
Last night there was a new Boston Legal (and I think there's another new one next week), but "new" for Boston Legal seems to be a relative term. The episode last night centered around Denny being crazy and insisting on doing a trial by himself. Assuming that there have been about 85 or 90 episodes of Boston Legal on the air, I think it's safe to say that no fewer than 40 of them have dealt with Denny's being crazy and no fewer than ten of those have featured Denny insisting that he could handle a trial all by himself.
This is to say that while the episode was technically "new" it was really just the same story with some of the specifics change around. It was still fun, it was still amusing, and Denny's antics haven't yet gotten old, but it's not really new either.
The series is nearly at that 100 episode mark that means it can enter syndication, but I wonder how it will fare there. The show has featured a revolving door cast and numerous episodes feature people on the opening credits that simply are not in the episode at all. Last night Candice Bergen's character appeared for no more than 30 seconds, while John Larroquette's had a single line. The two actors are perhaps the best ones on the show and their characters intriguing, yet somehow they all get the short end of the stick when it comes to story arcs and screen time. I miss the two characters now and Boston Legal is still airing new episodes; I wonder how I'll feel when it goes into repeats.
So, what am I doing with this strike hampering my primetime viewing habits? Well, I'm looking for new things to watch.
The other day, I was sent a link (by a publicist) to T-Mobile's web series Connected. Honestly, I haven't quite decided that I like the notion of web series and webisodes at all yet, and Connected didn't do much to change my mind.
The series revolves around a C-list Hollywood talent agent and his cadre of insane wanna-be stars. He's got one legit actress in the group, and by "legit" I mean that she is well known, a Lindsay Lohan-type more than an actress. There's also the usual assortment of individuals – the independent film director, the bad comedian, the singer. Imagine, if you will, Entourage, but less funny and with a very low-rent feel. It's full of stereotypes and easy jokes. Some are funny, but they're all easy.
The real problem, however, is the format. Webisodes are generally (and Connected is no exception) short. It's a hard format to tell a story in and one that doesn't really substitute for television. Stringing together a bunch of them could make for more of a long format thing if done correctly (NBC will be trying this with Quarterlife, goodness knows if it'll work), but I don't think Connected would translate (and as a commercial more than a stand-alone series a harder sell).
The best thing about the series is that it's not too much of an obvious advertisement for T-Mobile. The agent hands out Sidekicks like candy, and people are often seen using them (probably in real life one would see Blackberrys in their stead), but that's about it.
Okay, here's the link. And, here's my question: am I wrong and/or just too plain old? Is this really the wave of the future? Do the production values/ acting/story really in any way compare with what you see on TV?
Please, WGA and AMPTP, sit down and chat with one another, because if there's nothing decent on this fall I'm going to be hugely distressed.