With only a month left before the launch of Season Three of what is probably our consensus favorite show around here, Battlestar Galactica, Sci-Fi.com has launched a series of “webisodes” — internet-only episodes with brand-new content.
Obviously, Battlestar isn’t the first TV show to do this, but the webisodes were actually delayed for a month or so because of controversy over compensation. It’s the latest variation of the “new media meets old contracts” meta-issue we’ve seen played out over and over again.
In this case, the legal issue can be boiled down to this: what is a “webisode” anyways? Is it strictly promotional? Or is it brand-new content for a brand-new medium?
A while back, when the first reports of the delay for the “true Video” iPod surfaced, I argued that it might not be such a bad thing for Apple if there were a few months between new iPods.
It seemed to me that there was a possibility of market fatigue with all of the iPods already out there, as well as a bit of a backlash by consumers who discovered that the 60GB iPod that they had just purchased to watch episodes of Battlestar Galactica on a cross-country flight wasn’t the “true” video iPod.
However, there are fresh reports of even longer delays, and we may look back at these delays as the tipping point where the iPod stopped being the center of the universe and started being just another cool gadget.
Once upon a time, the TV networks gave a rats ass about Saturday nights. It almost seems apocryphal, but there was a fabled season long ago that had this Saturday night lineup: All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. Three solid hours of comedy all-timers.
Slow-forward about 35 years, and what do we have on Saturday nights? As Al Swearengen might say, a huge bag of shit. Sports. Reality. Magazines. Not a single scripted comedy or drama. Saturday night has become a major TV casualty of the overabundance of entertainment choices, and the networks aren’t even bothering to address it.
But isn’t there *anything* they could do? Maybe. But it would involve taking a gamble on some programming concepts that they’ve been slow to embrace, and actually taking advantage of what I will dub “The Spinal Tap Paradox.”
My daughter just gave me a DVD with iTunes videos of the entire first season of Lost. How can I watch these programs on my TV? Is there some way I can burn the episodes to DVD?
Waiting To Burn
ABC, who once was blind, now can see.
ABC has announced that Lost, a show that is either (take your pick):
- intricately plotted by insidious masterminds
- completely cobbled together by panic-stricken monkeys
will air next season with no repeats, the plethora of which this season has taken some of the wind from its sails.
Good! Of course, FOX has been doing this with 24 for a couple of seasons now. However, unlike 24 — which derives at least part of its adrenaline rush from the fact that the airing of its episodes is as relentless as the beep-boop! beep-boop! beep-boop! beep-boop! that powers it — next season of Lost will air in two disparate chunks.
Some people see that as a problem. I don’t.