So the writers’ strike began on Monday, and already word is spreading about the widespread effects this will have on our television viewing. Other strikes have come and gone without phasing me a bit – mostly professional sports-related ones, such as the NHL and NBA strikes of relatively recent years. The only comparable experience I can think of is the baseball strike of the early to mid nineties. At the time, I was an avid baseball fan. I watched Baseball Tonight on ESPN, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning watching televised games from the West Coast (I was in Central time zone), and I collected and organized baseball cards according to various systems. (Sometimes I organized them by team, sometimes by players’ year of birth, sometimes by players’ state of origin – you get the idea – I had a problem.) I can hardly be called a baseball fan anymore, but at the time I was literally incapacitated by the strike. It dragged on for days, then weeks, then months… and then the season was over with no playoffs or resolution! I suppose that’s what we have to look forward to this time around, too.
Strangely, I’m not traumatized by the realization that my favorite shows may have abbreviated – or even non-existent seasons. The main reason that I have remained calm is that I support the reasons for the strike. As something of a writer myself, I think it’s important for writers to be recognized as crucial to the television show model. And no doubt we will all realize how important they are. Hopefully it won’t take long for those in charge to relent and give in to their demands for cuts of DVD sales and Internet downloads, etc.
In the meantime, what will I miss most about how things could be if there were no strike?
- The one thing that I absolutely dread is the thought that I won’t be able to watch the fourth season of Lost in the spring. I’ve read that if the network doesn’t have a full season’s worth of scripts in time to film all 16 episodes, they will likely not air the show at all. Ahhhh!!!!! We dedicated fans have already waited for months for the next chapter of the story, and to have to wait an indefinitely longer period of time is just about unbearable. However… as long as the show would eventually return and have a complete run, I will be “okay” with this situation.
- To a lesser extent, I feel the same way about Battlestar Galactica. I am anxious to see how the story will develop now that we know the identities of more of the Cylons. However, since this is the last season, at least a delay would mean not having to say goodbye so soon to this terrific show.
- New episodes of The Office and 30 Rock. But, it makes perfect since that these shows would go dark, since one has many writers on the cast, and the other is practically a show about writers. And, it is some consolation that reruns of these two comic gems are just as fun to watch as the first time.
- I do have concern for a show like Friday Night Lights. I hope that NBC won’t use the strike as an excuse to simply stop producing new episodes of this critically acclaimed yet ratings challenged show. It deserves a full 22 episode season, or at least a chance to come back next year if there is an abbreviated season.
But the news isn’t all bad. Here are some positives to take away from the strike:
- We will have a break from shows like Two and a Half Men and Rules of Engagement.
- We may not have to see ________ as the bad guy on 24 if they postpone the season. (I left that blank on the off chance that someone has miraculously avoided learning who is returning this season as the villain. I do not like that story idea.)
- Writers will receive some well-deserved attention. I just hope that TV fans won’t be too angry with them for interrupting our television viewing habits.
Well, that’s the only positives I can think of, but that’s a start. What concerns you most about the strike?