Series of Tubes #1.7

... just a couple of thoughts today, as the number of new TV episodes dwindles down...

- What’s up with this trend of breaking the TV season into a distinct fall and spring season? I’ve heard lots of promos this week for the “fall finale” of a particular series. Basically, that’s the network’s way of saying “this is the last new episode of this show for quite a while.” For example, check out this chart of my Monday TV shows:

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Last aired episode: Dec. 15
Next scheduled episode: Feb. 13, 2009 (moving to Fridays)

Last aired episode: Dec. 15
Next scheduled episode: Feb. 2, 2009

Gossip Girl
Last aired episode: Dec. 8
Next scheduled episode: Jan. 5, 2009

How I Met Your Mother
Last aired episode: Dec. 15
Next scheduled episode: TBD (January, 2009)

Last aired episode: Dec. 15
Next scheduled episode: Feb. 2, 2009

I understand the lack of scheduling new shows around Christmas and New Year’s, but that doesn’t explain the need to keep a show off the air until February. For “Terminator: SCC”, we’ll go almost 2 months without getting a new episode -- after a fall season that saw the show’s audience erode.

If networks took one lesson from last year’s writers’ strike, it should have been that if you give people an opportunity to realize they don’t miss your show, then they’re not going to come back. The series that didn’t come back after the strike have seen ratings continue to fall this season, and now many of these series are the same ones going on these long hiatuses. It’s just a bad idea.

- About 4 months ago, I switched TV providers from Cox to AT&T U-Verse. So far, I’ve been very happy with the U-Verse service, but I recently discovered that AT&T doesn’t offer NBA TV or the NBA League Pass package. Since I’m now working primarily daytime hours, this is a problem, since I need to watch the Cavaliers. Fortunately, the NBA offers League Pass Broadband.

Basically, this means that for $99, you can watch most out-of-market games over the internet.

The system isn’t perfect -- currently there’s no way to eliminate the scoreboard bar at the top of the screen, so you can’t stretch the video to full a widescreen TV (I have my laptop hooked up to the TV so I don’t have to watch in a small window). Also, some out-of-market games are blacked out with no explanation -- I understand it for the games on ESPN or NBA TV, but for other games, I’d like a little blurb or something telling me why I can’t see it.

Still, it’s pretty good, and the picture quality is phenomenal for broadband video. Plus, with all those stupid TV hiatuses, I’ll have more time to watch the NBA.