I know, I know — we’ve all been reading for a few weeks now that the low-rated but critically-loved Veronica Mars was going to make the cut at the CW, but I wanted to wait until it was officially announced.
I’m so happy that I promise not to make fun of their name for at least a few months. Though I think, given all of the narrowly targeted shows that they offer — the aforementioned Veronica Mars, Smallville, Supernatural, 7th Heaven — their name stands for “Cultshow Watching.” OK, now I won’t make fun of their name.
It will be interesting to see where they go. More towards the WB than UPN, I should think. By the late 1990s, the WB pretty much took over the mantle from FOX as the network that would try just about anything. Yet anybody who actually watched their shows could see that there was much more going on than pretty white teenagers who happened to be aliens and/or superheroes.
So don’t tell anybody, but one of the dirty little secrets of the WB was that it actually had a lot of pretty great dramas.
Buffy and Angel are all-timers: the former was Uncle Tupelo and the latter was Wilco. As a matter of fact, Angel may have just been the weirdest show ever: I used to wonder how anybody could ever possibly drop in and have any idea what the hell was going on. Which is why it got axed, of course, but it was also smart, funny, and well-written.
Joss Whedon! Come home! All is forgiven! The CW needs you like NBC needs Aaron Sorkin! Oh. Right. Where was I? Writing.
The WB was very much an autuer’s network. Writing was also what drove their best non-genre shows like Gilmore Girls and Everwood — these were shows that were family-oriented and character-oriented, and the people who fell in love with these families and characters stayed in love.
So, it will be interesting to see what happens with the CW, which, with the exception of Everwood snagged most of the quality shows from both of its parents, and is actually looking pretty strong in the fall, though their ratings will continue to lag behind the other nets, and they won’t even get the youth demo, which has been snagged by FOX.
Ah, FOX. I used to love your cheekiness, your naughtiness, your willingness to take risks. What happened? You got popular. You started hanging out with the cool kids, forgetting your roots. You got all schizo — you kept teasing me with shows I could love, then axing them cruelly and with malice aforethought.
It’s true: FOX has killed so many great shows prior to those shows finding an audience, it’s almost impossible to get excited about any new show they put out there. So I won’t. And haven’t for a couple of seasons, though various smart people like the genre dramas that they’ve launched for the past couple of years. But doctors, prisons, nighttime soaps and police procedurals aren’t my cup of tea, so I haven’t bothered.
So I’ll just watch the Baseball Playoffs and The Simpsons and wait for 24 and be just fine ignoring the rest of what FOX is putting out.