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Thread: NY Daily News - As scripted shows rise, reality gets old

  1. #1
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    NY Daily News - As scripted shows rise, reality gets old


    A dramatic comeback
    As scripted shows rise, reality gets old
    NY Daily News - 10/24/04
    David Bianculli is The Daily News' TV critic.

    There's a major reason to celebrate this TV season.
    That's because the pendulum finally is swinging in the right direction: Reality shows are starting to die, and scripted programs are alive and very well.

    "The Swan" returns tonight at 8 on Fox, but if the trend of other sensationalistic reality shows continues, the ratings this time - as for other worn-out-their-welcome unscripted series - may be more fitting for an ugly duckling.

    Meanwhile, first-year scripted shows have been embraced by viewers with the greatest fervor in 10 years - roughly when NBC gave us "ER" and "Friends."

    This year, it's ABC that has provided the much-needed one-two punch, thanks to the addictive excitement of "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost."

    They're the two best shows of the new season, and viewers have accepted them both.

    "Housewives," last week's third- most-popular program, has maintained the comic, dramatic and sexy mix of its fabulous pilot, and clearly is the big-buzz show of 2004.

    Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Nicolette Sheridan - they're all doing great work and providing a great hour of television.

    "Desperate Housewives" proves that broadcast TV, even with all its constraints, can spark water-cooler conversation when it does everything right.

    The same is true of "Lost," which ranked sixth last week. This show's characters and mysteries keep getting deeper and more fun to watch.

    When Terry O'Quinn's character was revealed, after a month of shows, to be a paraplegic until being mysteriously healed after the crash, it was as startling a question mark as that polar-bear-in-the-tropics twist.

    It's another major victory for first-year dramatic series - and you may as well add ABC's "Boston Legal" and CBS' "CSI: NY" to the list, too.

    Quality drama is being revived in a big way - and there's more good scripted drama right around the corner.

    "House," a medical drama debuting Nov. 16 on Fox, is very good, and ABC's midseason slate included not only the return of "Alias" (though no longer on Sundays, now that "Housewives" has usurped that time slot) but an enjoyable private-detective drama, "Eyes."

    At the same time, the stock of reality TV shows finally is starting to fall. On network TV, there's been substantial, usually deserved slippage.

    The latest editions of ABC's "The Bachelor" and NBC's "Last Comic Standing" haven't matched the success of earlier versions (so much so that the finale of "Standing" was relegated to Comedy Central).

    NBC's revolting "Fear Factor" remains popular, sadly, but many other reality shows have slipped.

    And of the newest batch of reality series, more have the smell of instant misfires than of sudden successes.

    Fox may catch another big curiosity wave with its upcoming "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss," but its "Rebel Billionaire" and the putrid-sounding "Nanny 911" already smell bad just from the on-air promos. Meanwhile, NBC has presented one installment of "The Biggest Loser" so far - and one was enough to dismiss it entirely. Conversely, NBC's "The Apprentice" has held its own this season, and CBS' "Survivor: Vanuatu" has done even better.

    Why? Because these are good shows - and now that unscripted TV no longer is a novelty, the cream is rising to the top, and some of the new reality shows are getting creamed.

    This is very, very good for television.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

  2. #2
    What's a sitcom? Toxic's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    If you factor in Cable shows .. the number of Reality Shows has never been higher.

    Just because ABC hit with two scripted TV shows ... doesn't make up for the fact that sitcoms are still dead. Desperate Housewives might be a hit for a few years ... but how long can they stretch out the success of "Lost", which is very gimmicky.
    Last edited by Toxic; 10-25-2004 at 12:37 PM.

  3. #3
    JR. is offline
    Drummer / Model JR.'s Avatar
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    I don't think it really matters what type of show it is, if it's good people will watch. I don't know why he feels scripted shows are better or why they're better for TV.

    The problem with scripted shows is that many of them are the same. A lot of the sitcoms are some kind of dysfunctional family with a fat, loser husband, a hot wife, wise-ass kids, and wise-ass inlaws/neighbors. How many cop/detective shows are on? Hospital shows? The new hits seem to be new ideas.

    Most of the reality shows are crap, and not well thought out. Some of the ones that have been around for a while are stale, and the same things happen in every season.

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