Streaming Services At The Emmys

In recent years, there’s been some discussion about if streaming service movies should be allowed in contention for Oscar wins. It’s a large debate with even some big-name directors jumping in with their thoughts.

But no one batted an eye when streaming service shows made their way into the Emmys.

It’s no secret to anyone reading this blog that as much as I love TV and do use streaming services (and do enjoy many original shows and movies from them), I’m not thrilled with the general direction that TV is going. I’ve spoken before about how Netflix is on thin ice and how I feel that expectations are not met from streaming services, but today I really wanted to look at the Emmys in particular. I know this year’s Emmys were a month ago, so the nominees and results are not at the top of your mind, but I’d like to bring it back into focus a little.

Lets Chat Shall We gif.

In a normal non-pandemic year, I watch a lot of TV, but I won’t pretend I have superior taste and everything I watch deserves awards. I will also not pretend I know everything about how a show/actor gets nominated or voted for. But what I do know is that streaming shows are completely overtaking the awards, creating almost an elitist environment amongst the viewers, and I’d imagine between the actors and networks too.

I have only a little shame in admitting that I’ve seen Apple+ shows and HBO shows and Hulu shows despite not paying for those platforms (not that I could pay for Hulu anyway given how Canadian I am). I understand cable is expensive and people are moving away from that traditional means of TV, but I just simply don’t think it’s fair or reasonable that if people want to watch Emmy winning or even nominated shows, they likely have to subscribe to not just one or two but around six streaming services. Even if you do the math and say that all the services combined are still cheaper than cable (which I believe, again, given how Canadian I am), it’s still an inconvenience and I don’t like how that’s supposed to be an option. Broadcast channels are mostly free if you have an antenna or something, are they not?

How did it come to this? gif.

But that’s my opinion (shoutout to anyone who heard the Vine in their head) so I also wanted to show some numbers to get this point across. Here are screenshots of Emmy winners from 2006-2010 and 2016-2020 that I colour coded by platform. These are only the biggest awards, but I can assume that similar ratios are found if you looked at all the winners.

I count HBO as a streaming service—even though it wasn’t considered one a decade ago—because it was a premium add-on that you were paying extra for specifically. So, as you can see, in the span of a decade, streaming services really have taken over, going from 6% of the winners to 72%. Even if you combine broadcast and cable, it still doesn’t compete.

And before you say, “well, so streaming services won, but surely other broadcast/cable shows were nominated“…here are the 2020 nominees for the same seven categories.

Streaming takes up 58% of the nominees, which isn’t that bad, but still. Especially considering that it’s not like broadcast has been putting out less content since. There are still full lineups of shows, some of which I believe to be quality, that aren’t getting any recognition.

I will say, because I’m not a completely negative person, that it does seem that since there is so much more content in competition there are fewer repeat winners, and I do like that the success is spread around.

Perhaps there needs to be a separate award show for streaming content (which would solve the Oscar issue too) or separate categories for that kind of content.

Modern Problems gif.

Or maybe no one else but me cares about this.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, though, even if you don’t watch the Emmys.

Related but unrelated: what are your thoughts on ‘movie’ actors starring in a limited series or shorter streaming shows and winning over the people whose whole careers have been mostly in TV?

That’s all for now!

 

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Forgotten Canadian Kids TV

I am Canadian, which means my brother and I grew up absorbing both Canadian and American entertainment. Of course, we didn’t really know it. TV was just TV. I think we just kind of assumed most of the shows were American, but we didn’t care.

Except recently, I was thinking about some old show we would watch after school and it led me to a wild 3am rabbit hole of TV shows I had completely forgotten about.

I forgot all about that gif.

See, in Canada, kids/teens had a few options for TV channels. There was Treehouse and TVO and morning CBC for really young kids. After a while, you become a kid and a tween and teen and move to Family, YTV, and Teletoon. All these channels were Canadian but they played both Canadian and American shows. The American shows were the ones that still live on in infamy. Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, iCarly, Hannah Montana, Ben10…we all remember them and you’ll still sometimes see references online to these popular shows even though they don’t air anymore.

All the shows I rediscovered at 3am that night were Canadian and had fallen right off the face of the planet. No one remembers them. No one talks about them. The live-action ones starred Canadian actors who didn’t go on to bigger and better things, sadly. And it’s so weird that that’s what shaped my childhood in a way.

So here’s to Canadian kids/tween shows. The shows that won’t get rewatched on Disney+. The shows that future generations of children will probably never see. The shows that I may never again think about. I’ve made a collage of them just because, so take a look.

collage of canadian kids/tween shows

This took me a long time to put together, but it was a fun time as I got to relive this little bit of my childhood. And there are probably still more out there that I really do not remember. Also, there’s a chance that some of these shows did make it to America or other countries (like everyone’s favourite bald kid Caillou), but I can confirm that they’re all Canadian. If you’re looking at this collage and not recognizing a thing, let me tell you that you missed out on some quality programming and I’m sad for you.

I know I’ve complained before that Canadian-made media isn’t as good as American media overall, but children’s content is the exception. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed American/other countries’ shows growing up too, but some of these shows shown here were so good and made such a mark on me that I’m not afraid to say that they’re better.

To any Canadians in and around my age reading this, I hope you got a huge kick out this post and I hope good memories came flooding back.

HIMYM canada gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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5 Single Season Cancelled Shows I Still Think About

It’s sad when shows get cancelled, but especially for shows that get cancelled after only one season. Those are the ones that often never reached full potential and are more likely to fade away from memory. Granted, some are garbage and deserve to be canned and forgotten, but I’m not here to talk about those. I’m here to talk about the good ones, and, more specifically, the ones that I still think about, despite the fact that it’s been a while since they last graced my TV.

You, Me, And The Apocalypse

This was a British show that aired midseason on NBC in 2016, though I actually watched it later that summer because a local station aired it as reruns. This show was so cool. It had a great cast including Rob Lowe and Jenna Fischer, and it had a fairly unique plot: an upcoming asteroid hitting earth and a search for a second messiah to save them all. The show followed several groups who seemingly have no connection, but we see them all come together at the end of season. Despite the dramatics, there was a lot of humor and even some sadness as there was a death that I will never get over. The show ended on a cliffhanger, so I am mad that I’ll never see resolution from that, but also that such a good show with a neat plot and group of characters didn’t get a chance to thrive.

You, Me And the Apocalypse.

LA To Vegas

This show aired on Fox in 2018, and it was great and light. It was about the shenanigans on a discount airline that did weekend flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The airplane/airport setting was very fresh for TV, so nothing compared to it in that sense. The combo of regular fliers, the airline staff, and even one-time guests was great for keeping things funny, interesting, and realistic. I was genuinely laughing every episode. Fox’s comedies in the past few years have been pretty bad, so for this to get cancelled after one solid season really disappointed and surprised me.

LA To Vegas.

Mixology

This ABC show from 2014 had 13 episodes but they all covered one 24 hour period. Each episode focused on different people at a bar one night, and it was fun to get a fresh story every week while sometimes getting small crossovers from a previous episode. It was funny and unique, and while it maybe wasn’t the best ever show, I thought it had legs, even if they probably would have had to bring in a whole new cast for another season.

Mixology.

Deception

Also in 2018, this midseason ABC show was a typical FBI-looks-to-someone-for-consultation kind of deal, except the person they looked to was a magician (in the real sleight of hand way, not the Harry Potter way). So all the little weekly mysteries were solved with cool magic tricks and deception. As someone who knows very little about magic tricks but likes knowing how they’re done, this show satisfied me. It wasn’t a perfect show by any means, but it was really just getting started when it got cancelled. It was a unique idea. There was still so much magic to do.

Deception

The Village

This is the most recent show, with it airing on NBC in the spring of 2019. It was a This Is Us-type show where it was emotional and people-driven as it was about the tenants in a NYC building called the Village. We had the single mom and teenage daughter, the lady going through chemo, the young lawyer looking after his grandfather, the army vet, the immigrant, and so on. My mom and I enjoyed watching it, even though it was at points predictable and silly. I am surprised that it only lasted a season given how sweet it was.

The Village.

These are the shows that when I am reminded of them, I am overcome with sadness and disappointment. I miss them so much, and they got cancelled because people slept on them. Stop sleeping on good shows, y’all. If you can find these shows online, I suggest watching, even if they aren’t complete. They’re still good enough.

Now one thing I noticed when writing this post was that all five shows I listed here happened to be midseason shows. Does this mean that midseason shows are more likely to get cancelled? No. TVLine did the math last year and declared that there’s no clear pattern and shows in the fall have just about the same chance of getting cancelled. So it’s just a weird coincidence for me here.

13 Quotes About Love That Only Haruki Murakami Could've Written

What are single-season shows you still think about fondly? Are they worth watching still or do their lack of closure make them unsatisfying?

That’s all for now!

 

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Am I Wrong To Hold Streaming Services To A Higher Standard?

I’ve always kind of held Netflix to a high standard when it comes to TV show/movie quality. Of course, it’s not just Netflix. I hold other streaming services like Amazon Prime and Crave to the same standard. The problem is that I feel like my standards are not being met in general. This post is going to mention Netflix the most because a) I use it, b) it’s the most popular, and c) it was one of the first mainstream streaming services so it largely paved the way. I also want to disclaim that this is about the original content produced only.

Recently, a friend and I both watched a Netflix show, and I disliked it so much that I ranted a bit about how disappointed I was in Netflix, which prompted this question from my friend: why do I have these standards? I’ve touched on this topic before, but I wanted to expand on it and see what y’all think. I’m so serious about this topic, I’m about to use subheaders. I rarely use subheaders in posts.

hear me out gif.

No advertisers

In my mind, since streaming services don’t have to appeal and cater to advertisers the way networks heavily do, they should be able to be more creative and bold with their content. I’m not saying I want edgier jokes or more gratuitous sex, I just want them to be able to really hone in on what the viewers want without worrying as much (or even at all?) about money and reputation and politics and content ratings.

Their own timeline

And since streaming services don’t need to follow the typical yearly setup of fall premieres in September and midseason finales in December and summer shows in May, they should have the time to ensure their content is as good as it can be. And yet, I’m just not finding that it is. Forced acting beyond pilots, bad jokes, weak plots…the only thing I haven’t noticed as being too bad have been special effects.

Specific stats

Furthermore, these platforms have their own active viewing stats. They are able to see what people actively like, what genres are actively being consumed, and then should cater more to that. Are people watching period pieces? Great. Make some really good period pieces, then. Impress the people who have a taste for that and are actively watching that on your platform. See, network TV has to use Nielsen ratings, and it’s not a perfect system, because they only use a sample population to represent the whole country and can’t accurately account for things like online streaming or viewing from an app. Though Nielsen has been able to track some Netflix shows and shows on other platforms, they don’t have access to it all. But that’s not the point; the point is that these platforms have more access to stats and viewing habits than networks seem to, yet they don’t necessarily act like it except when they want to make funny tweets.

netflix stats tweet.

Concerning cancellations

I also expect them to treat customers better. These are literal paying customers paying specifically for your content, and yet I find that Netflix especially cancels shows that are fan favourites. There’s apparently a slew of legal and financial reasons behind some of the decisions, and I do understand that Netflix is a business, but when so many shows are left without closure and can’t be picked up by other networks/platforms, it’s rude and weird. If they want to keep shows under four seasons because it’s cheaper for them, then that’s fine. Make that clear to the showrunners and viewers. Force them to wrap up their stories. Fans want that. Fans don’t want to keep watching unfinished business.

The non-original content

As I said, everything above was about the original content, but it’s relevant to consider the non-original stuff too in the larger discussion. These streaming services started as a place to house old, off the air shows/movies for fans to binge without buying DVDs. Only now network shows are being split up between a bunch of different services, and even then, it’s not a worldwide thing. I’d love to know if Netflix and the like are taking money they could have used to get streaming rights and instead using it to create original content. Are streaming services destined to end up looking like Apple’s where it’s only original content? It’s something to consider as I’m sure there a lot of people who use streaming services primarily to watch network content and theatrical movies.

don't forget who you are gif.

I realize that perhaps I’m being too unfair to these services. It’s impossible for everything they make to be perfect. I realize that there’s a chance that I’m too quick to speak on negatives, and it’s likely because I’m a little annoyed at the streaming-centric world that we’re now living in and the fact that these streaming shows clean up at the Emmys now. There is almost definitely a degree of pettiness at play here, but also, everything I’ve outlined here isn’t incorrect.

So tell me, am I wrong to have these standards? Or am I right but just shouldn’t say it? I’ve watched and enjoyed a lot of streaming shows on a variety of platforms, so I know there is good stuff out there and I look forward to watching more, but this is just about the general quality. Personally, I think the regular network shows I watch on cable are better in a lot of ways to streaming service shows. But who knows; maybe they have triple the budgets.

I’d love to know what you think.

That’s all for now!

 

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Entertainment Echo Chambers

‘Echo chambers’ is a term that we talked a lot about in university when discussing social media, though it was always in regards to politics. In the Trump vs Hillary election, it’s speculated that fake news and echo chambers, specifically on Facebook, played a part in Trump’s win. Google defines echo chambers as:

An environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.

You can understand how people stubborn in their political beliefs can be in one of these without even knowing it.

Anyway, as interesting as it is to look at echo chambers from an election perspective (that sounds sarcastic; I really do think it is interesting), I think it’s also a concept that we should consider when thinking about other things. Like fandoms. And TV shows.

There she goes again gif.
You readers when you see I’m about to talk about TV again

In this day and age, there are TV shows available from a multitude of sources. And keeping up with them all (even from a place of awareness of their existence, not actually watching them) can be really hard. I don’t even think the people at TV Line or Entertainment Weekly know of every show currently out there. So naturally, fans of smaller shows take it upon themselves to promote the shows, usually on social media. And this is good because sometimes the recommendation of genuine fans can be far more valuable and honest than whatever publications give reviews or whatever the show promotes itself as (like how Riverdale still promotes itself as a good show worth watching…).

Betty side eye gif.

Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to fans promoting shows, specifically in efforts to save shows from cancellation, is that echo chambers play a huge but silent part. And in my opinion, political views play a part in it, too. Let me give you an example so you can better understand what I’m trying to say here.

There’s a (remake of a) show called One Day At A Time that recently got cancelled from Netflix and last month got picked up by a channel called PopTV. A lot of people I follow on Twitter and Tumblr were fans of the show so though I didn’t watch it, I knew a lot about it. For those who don’t know, the show is about the life of a Latino family including a single mom, a grandmother, a gay daughter, and a son. There’s also a neighbour/family friend who is an ex-addict. The daughter also eventually dates someone who I thiiiink is non-binary. I’m telling you this because a lot of the fan-made promotions for the show highlighted not just the fact that the show was an apparent good comedy (honestly, it didn’t look that funny to me, thus why I did not watch it), but that there was a lot of good representation on the show. A family of colour! Single parent! LGBTQA characters!

Now, I’m a straight white person, so representation for me based on just that is everywhere. And when I look for TV shows to watch, I usually look for genre and plot rather than representation. Call that white privilege if you want. I do know it’s not uncommon for underrepresented people to watch a show solely for a small glimpse of representation, so appealing to this can be good. But there’s a limit. With internet and fandoms and all that, there’s a good chance that people have their finger on the pulse of things they care about a lot more, so if there is a show with LGBTQA characters, for example, especially on a large platform like Netflix, you probably would have heard of it by season two or three if this is something you care about. Does this make sense?

they already know what's up

So though the ODAAT creator straight up said ratings weren’t great and it eventually got cut, people were outraged that Netflix would do this. How dare they cut a show that is repping so many minorities and making so many people feel seen. How dare they do this yet give ‘worse’ shows like 13 Reasons Why more seasons. The thing is, though, Netflix is a business. As are traditional TV channels like NBC or Fox. And if a show isn’t getting the numbers it needs, then it will go. It sucks, and I’ve been mad at Netflix before too. But it’s not a hate crime. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this world who don’t want to watch a show starring POC or a show that has gay characters. Maybe they’re a bigot, but maybe they just don’t find it relatable or fun. Maybe the show is on at a time they can’t watch, or they don’t even have Netflix. So no matter how vocal the fandom is and how many detailed Tumblr posts about why I should watch [insert some show here] I come across, sometimes the echo chamber is probably already developed and the limit has been mostly reached. And it’s something to consider when looking at the success of TV shows and movies over time. TV shows don’t often go up in ratings as seasons go on (huge shows like Game Of Thrones are outliers). Everyone can agree that season 4 of Agents Of SHIELD was phenomenal, but the ratings didn’t go up. By then, most everyone who wanted to watch was doing so, so me explaining in detail why you need to pick it up and highlighting all the great female characters or POC or fun plots or whatnot wouldn’t have done anything. I’d be preaching to the choir.

Actually, preaching to the choir is the perfect cliche to explain what I’m trying to say here. When it comes to fans, to entertainment, and to the internet community, it’s often that the ones most vocal about keeping shows alive/boosting ratings are the ones who already watch things and know what they like, and most of the people they promote to are similar in this way.

Image result for like minded gif

That’s it. I don’t have a point. It’s just something I’ve noticed as I’ve watched TV shows (and movies) rise and fall over the years. I think it’s great that some shows get a second chance and it’s due to fans campaigning and getting their voice heard. But even Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s ratings aren’t thriving, though I think it managed to get out of its echo chamber a little.

I’d love to discuss this more if you’ve got any thoughts on the matter, so leave a comment.

P.S. Related but unrelated, I think shows that shove in a lot of political issues in direct reference to hot topic political issues also play a part in turning away fans and disengaging potential viewers. Supergirl recently did a whole bunch of immigration bits among other topics, and people quit watching because of it. Where is the line of making shows realistic and thought-provoking without being preachy, annoying, or too aggressive?

 

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