Thursday, June 18, 2009

Somebody Saaaaaaaaave Me!

Somebody Saaaaaaaaave Me!
by Dave Swan

Wednesday, June 17th: a day that will live in infamy... today The CW Network officially announced that it's #1 show, Smallville, will return for its 9th Season on September 25th. Now if your running to write this down on your calendar, you have probably already noticed something... September 25th is a Friday.

Yes, after 8 highly successful seasons, The CW has decided to move it's top rated show to what is historically the WORST night for TV shows. The Friday night line-up for CW has been especially miserable since the network eliminated it's previously highest rated show, "WWE Friday Night Smackdown!" from its line-up stating the show "didn't fit the network's vision". Apparently, the "network's vision" was to finish in last place EVERY week since, including struggling to even put up 50% of the viewers that "Smackdown!" has been putting up on it's new home My Network TV.

The CW undoubtedly had ALOT of explaining to do after their new "Friday Night Comedy Line-up" fell flat this past season and they responded quickly... by canceling all the shows on it. Now they literally have a night of television that in the course of a year went from their highest performing night to the worst performing night of ANY major network. The CW needed help, but luckily they have their own resident superhero to call on.

In 2000, The CW (then The WB) brought to life the latest in a long line of Superman television shows, entitled "Smallville". "Smallville" however was different than any Superman series that came before it, in the simple fact that "Superman" wasn't the star of the show. Instead of the traditional 'Man of Steel' the show focused around the life of young Clark Kent and his trials growing up in the 'Meteor Capital of the World'.

The show was a mixed bag for comic book fans... while many enjoyed it, traditionalist had a hard time coping with many of the changes that the show had made to the Superman Mythology. But regardless of how the comic geeks felt about the show, one thing they couldn't argue was that the show was a huge hit for the still fairly new WB Network.

The show was originally predicted to go "four or five seasons" and now nine years later it is still running strong (in fact the series' star Tom Welling has already signed on for season 10). So it seemed natural, on paper, that The CW would call upon it to save their collective asses. Unfortunately, things aren't always what they seem.

Now if it's one thing I hate its a conspiracy theorist, but I think I've witnessed enough over the past few years to say this is a valid claim. I believe, and fear, that The CW moving "Smallville" to Fridays is nothing more than an attempt to kill the show. Now instinctively you would ask 'why would a Network want it kill it's top show?' and that is a very valid question and one I have no logical response to. All I do know is that The CW has done it before.

When the WB Network transformed into The CW in 2006, the first order of business was an extremely unpopular one. The network immediately announced they were canceling one of the network's flagship shows '7th Heaven' after 10 seasons stating the show had become 'too expensive to produce'. The decision was so unpopular that the network was flooded almost non-stop by letters from fans and they were left with no choice BUT to resurrect the show for an 11th season.

Unfortunately, even though the show obviously still had a fan base and was performing well, the Network was still determined to get rid of it. They did so first of all by CUTTING the show's budget and making it impossible to bring back many of the show's stars, next they moved it off it's longtime home of Monday nights (so that they could unveil their new 'Monday Night Comedy Lineup'... sound familiar?) and dumped the show on Sunday nights with very little fanfare and in direct competition with 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition', a very popular show geared towards the same exact demographic. '7th Heaven' finished up the season before once again being canceled.

In recent year's "Smallville' has become the proverbial "red headed stepchild' of the CW family. The network invests literally no time, energy, or money in promoting the show and when they DO decide to promote it they make mistake's that no professional company would make. For example last season they released all the promotional material for the 'Smallville: Season 8' premiere a week after the episode had aired and early 'Season 9' promotional material incorrectly lists characters that are no longer on the show and features actor's heads photoshoped on other actor's bodies.

As September 25th draws closer Clark Kent will enter his greatest battle... the battle for his show's very survival. Their are two foreseeable outcomes to this fight. Outcome #1 is that 'Smallville' single handily resurrects The CW's ravaged Friday Night line-up and receives no credit for it's monumental deed. The other outcome unfortunately isn't as positive and The CW will succeed where Lex Luthor, Brianiac, and Doomsday couldn't... they will successfully kill Superman.

No comments:

Post a Comment