Red Right Hand: COMMERCE HOLES
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

COMMERCE HOLES

I am one of those people who don't bother with racing through the commercials when I time shift. Usually. I don't have that much of a problem with them. Sometimes, I welcome the opportunity to hit the fridge and I recognize they're a necessity in network television.



Knock it off!!! Just stuff extra commericals into the four act breaks, okay? The pacing is a little off a little too often. On Lost, I think it really hurts some episodes.



The one where it really bugs me the most is on Commander In Chief. While I have enjoyed the season up until the first Bochco episode, "Rubie Dubidoux and the Brown Bound Express," (I'm a little concerned now and that title...ugh). I think most episodes have suffered from an abliity to establish a good rhythm with the viewer. I still liked the show, but I thought it could have been a little better with out the "chunking." I dare say that in some episodes, it's easy to see where an act got broken in half to accomodate the commerical structure. I remain glued to the continuing misadventures of Nathan Templeton (R-Florida).



The thing is, this extra segment doesn't have to screw things up. Whatever one may think of Star Trek these days, Star Trek: The Next Generation, from about third season to sixth season, was one of the best written shows on the air at the time. Teaser and five acts. Worked much more often than not. Same goes for Deep Space Nine.



Another thing is that we're getting more soft outs going into commecials. I don't generally have a problem with a soft out here and there, but sometimes, it's getting forced to fall somewhere that really breaks the pacing. I guess those would be the broken acts.

(Okay, I'll stop.)


Does it really make a difference? There's TiVo, which makes ad-skipping easier than it had been with VCRs. There's DVD's, where you can now watch last year's shows in big commerical-free chunks. I know one guy who's taken to just skipping watching Lost with every intent of grabbing the DVDs (from comics, this is called "waiting for the trade"). Are today's professional TV writers pacing their shows to be time-shifted or watched live (that's an invitation for comment for those actually writing some TV (which presupposes that someone's reading this (I really enjoy parenthesis (overuse of which is considered to be a trait of Generation X by Salon))))?

That's something I try to balance in writing specs. I want to show that I can pace for breaks, but I also know that these specs will only ever be read and never shot, so I want it to read well.

I'm just happy that there are more people just sitting around watching TV when it happens than not. If everybody skipped the ads and waited for the trade, then we'd be down several channels and that's considerably less job opportunities for the TV writer who already has to contend with reality television.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan