Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A problem that comes with writing a column about television is that every now and then you feel obliged to act like you're addressing a public meeting. You should clear your throat, make a pronouncement and then use such phrases as "further to my earlier point."

People get a bit thick about TV, you see. A bit woozy and sometimes a bit declamatory. Everything to do with it can morph into some kind of public argument. Many a time and oft I am in receipt of feedback from readers who write to inform me that they haven't watched TV for years and feel the better for it. They're lying, of course. If they were happy with their decision they wouldn't be writing to me about it all the time.

And then there are the people who write to tell me they've tried to watch a show that I've just written about but it hasn't aired yet, and that they gave up on it. It was that bad, sad and pathetic. Oddly enough, they don't boast about their extra-special access to shows that haven't aired yet for the general public. People are peculiar. One of these days I'll write back and say, "It hasn't aired yet, you fool!"

Story continues below advertisement

Anyway. Today's epistle will come as manna from heaven to those people who enjoy a dislike for television in general and savour any hint that television is dead. It isn't. But there are changes afoot.

First, the good news – The Big Bang Theory will be back for another two seasons. If that's good news for you, that's peachy. At this rate, by the time Big Bang is cancelled, everyone who saw the first episode in 2007 will be retired and the cast will be so rich they own California.

The point of keeping it going is twofold. First, it's still a hit and, second, it will prop up the coming spinoff, Young Sheldon, in which Sheldon Cooper is a kid and older Sheldon (Jim Parsons) narrates. Meanwhile, across the networks, there is gloom.

Some 17 new scripted dramas and comedies have been launched from Jan. 1 through last week and not one is a hit. Midseason TV is a disaster zone.

Fox launched 24: Legacy right after the Super Bowl game ended and and hardly anyone is watching. The spinoff from NBC's established hit The Blacklist, The Blacklist: Redemption, debuted and nobody noticed. ABC's Time After Time and CBS's legal drama Doubt, starring Katherine Heigl, have stirred no interest. CBS also shifted its heavily promoted Training Day to Saturdays where even fewer viewers will find it.

In strictly inside-TV terms, the number of duds is being blamed on a weak network fall season that really only saw one new hit emerge: NBC's This Is Us. Without a strong lead-in, it's hard to launch and bolster any new series.

The reality is, mind you, that there is far more competition for network TV each and every year. Cable and streaming shows have the cultural cachet, and there are far fewer duds being launched in that arena. When it started recently, Feud on FX drew more viewers than any show on the channel since The People v. O.J. Simpson. Big Little Lies has galvanized an HBO audience hungry for a relatable murder-mystery. People are watching stand-up specials on Netflix and, these days, Netflix isn't the only competition networks face.

Story continues below advertisement

There's politics. The White House daily briefing, starring Sean Spicer, often has more viewers than any other daytime broadcast. Saturday Night Live has, on occasion, had more viewers than any prime-time weekday network show. Even 60 Minutes is back in contention as a top-10 network show. Nightly, Fox News and CNN are competitive with some network and cable dramas, in terms of ratings, because they have the talked-about drama unfolding.

And then – further to my earlier point, so to speak – there are shows that haven't aired yet. April is now the coolest month, what with it being just under the wire for inclusion in this year's Emmy Awards.

AMC brings back Better Call Saul and FX launches a new season of Fargo in April. HBO brings back The Leftovers and Veep next month, too. And AMC has an adaptation of Philipp Meyer's western novel The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan, coming on April 8.

Netflix launches the angsty teen drama 13 Reasons Why on March 31 and even the networks have more new series to launch. Why, ABC has yet to air Downward Dog, which features a talking dog. Listen, I wouldn't kid about that.

There might be a few new hits but it's not over until the dog talks. So there.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies