Friday, May 4, 2007

Wither the CW?

The TV season is almost over, the first such season for the new network created by the merger of UPN and the WB. And I have to wonder now if the UPN and the WB would have been better off remaining separate networks. What is worse, CW seems to be intent on killing what few reasons anyone has to watch the network.

It was just this week that it was announced that this would be the final season for The Gilmore Girls. I must confess that I never watched the show regularly. It was the last show that my mother ever watched, and for a long time I could not watch because it would bring up memories of her death. But I liked it very much when I did watch it. It was a smart, witty show that deserved a bigger audience than it had. And now it's gone.

I also never watched 7th Heaven regularly, but I always admired it as one of the few family dramas in the history of television I could watch without gagging. It was well written, well acted, and sincere, without being overly sentimental. Sadly, this is also its last season.

The fate of Veronica Mars is up in the air at the moment. If the show does return, it is possible that it might do so with a change in format. The show, which took teen detective Mars from high school to college, would jump four years into the future, where Veronica would be an FBI agent. I cannot say the idea appeals to me. I fear it would take away much of the show's charm. But then I suppose it might be better than seeing the show cancelled.

Fortunately, I have heard nothing about Everybody Hates Chris being cancelled or even in danger of cancellation. It is easily one of the best sitcoms on television and I am shocked that is on the CW rather than one of the Big Four.

Of course, with Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven gone, and Veronica Mars possibly going, it begs the question as to what will be left to watch on the CW beyond Everybody Hates Chris? If you ask me, not a Hell of a lot. I know that Smallville has a loyal following, but I have always had a strong dislike for that show. Beyond being poorly written, I don't have much respect for anything that plays that fast and loose with the Superman mythos (hello...Lana Lang was a redhead). As to America's Top Model, I think I would rather watch professional wrestling... Not that I am going to be watching Friday Night Smackdown any time soon.

All of this wouldn't be so sad if it weren't for the fact that the WB produced some remarkable shows in its time. This was the network of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Gilmore Girls, and Charmed. The UPN went downhill after it shifted its emphasis to urban comedies, but it did produce the series Nowhere Man, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise, Veronica Mars, and Everybody Hates Chris. On the other hand, the CW seems to have produced nothing of note so far. And I don't think this bodes well for the future. As I said earlier, maybe it would have been better if the WB and UPN had not merged....

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